Blackwood Brothers coming to Surrey
by Alan Phillips
The Blackwood Brothers 83-year ministry is undoubtedly the greatest example of pioneering Gospel groups and they are certified legendary figures of the historical American fabric. In the midst of the great depression in 1934 the quartet was formed by preacher Roy Blackwood, with brothers Doyle and James, and Roy’s son R.W. They would go on to take the Gospel message in music to unimaginable heights worldwide. During the peak of their popularity, while appearing regularly at The Ellis Auditorium in Memphis in the late 1940’s then current member and iconic bass singer J.D. Sumner would sneak a young Elvis Presley in the back of the Ellis Auditorium in Memphis to see the Blackwood’s perform because the young teen couldn’t afford the ticket price. They were always Elvis’ main musical inspiration. James Blackwood died in 2002 and his sons, Jimmy (James Jr.) and Billy have continued the tradition on since then. Jimmy retired after singing for 49 years and his younger brother, Billy, now carries on the quartet with great distinction. With well over 200 albums and 50 million records plus sold, The Blackwood brothers have won eight Grammy Awards, six Dove Awards, numerous Hall of Fame Awards, the most noted is from the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, TN in 1998. Billy Blackwood sings baritone, Wayne Little with a crystal clear tenor voice has been in numerous quartets and special events including a concert at the Pentagon with Franklin Graham, and his rendition of “O What a Savior” is a gospel highlight. Add an amazing bass singer, Butch Owens, who was with the early version of the Stamps quartet among others, is also a retired law enforcement officer. Billy said we can expect to hear much of the classic gospel favorites that we know and love with a helping of some top shelf anointed new music as well.
The Kent Brothers – Baritone Duayne Kent started his first band at age 15 and has been playing keyboard and writing music for over 40 years. With a somewhat unique style that incorporates R & B, jazz, and pop into his gospel creations, he attributes artists like Andrae Crouch, Chicago, Phil Driscoll, and even Tower of Power having influence early in his musical development. Duayne has also served as music minister and is a worship-leader, and has had the opportunity to develop and train worship teams. His passion is to bring people to a powerful experience of the presence of God, and see it make an eternal difference in the lives of believers. Duayne will be accompanied by talented saxophonist and brother Garth Kent.
Fathers Daughter – This trio of sisters started singing at a very young age. Rooted in the rich musical legacy of their German Mennonite heritage, their childhood years were spent performing and touring in Canada and around the world with the Pacific Mennonite Children’s Choir. Back in 2002, Sonja, Emily and Rachel Fast and their dad, Ed, recorded a family project of some of their favorite songs. Since then, as more and more gospel music lovers have heard and enjoyed their tight family harmonies, they have performed at numerous events in their community as well as in churches and at gospel music celebrations throughout Western Canada. Winner of the 2010 Covenant Award for Southern Gospel Album of the Year, Father’s Daughter has the new sound of Southern Gospel music in Canada. Highlights include regular appearances at the Canadian Gospel Music Celebration in Red Deer, Alberta, performing at the GMA (Canada) 2010 Covenant Awards Show, and singing at the National Quartet Convention in Kentucky.
Joining them will be local artists Vic Schofield’s Class Brass and Company, Vancouver Canucks National Anthem singer “Mr. O Canada” Mark Donnelly, pianist Christine Shafrick, and host Lorne Clark.
Singin’ Gospel producer Jim Thirsk’s 2017 Spring Gospel Music Festival event is on Saturday, May 6, 6:30pm (doors at 5:30) at Cloverdale Baptist Church, 18685-64 Ave in Surrey.
Tickets are only $20 each. For more information search SinginGospelMusic on Facebook. To purchase tickets in advance go online to eventbrite.ca and search Singin’ Gospel Festival 2017.