My musical journey promoting Southern Gospel Music began October 21, 1972, at Kenmore High School, Akron, Ohio with a Thursday night concert featuring Eva Mae & the LeFevre's, Rhythm Masters, JD Sumner & the Stamps Quartet, the Evangelaire's Quartet, Pat Brown (Organist) and Larry Arnold (Soloist). Adult tickets were $3.00 advance: children under thirteen $1.50. Little did I know that I would become a promoter and last for 50 years bringing well over 200 national artists to Ohio and surrounding states.
I was introduced to the genre of Southern Gospel music as a teenager when I was invited to go along with a church group to Masonic Temple in Cleveland to a concert promoted by the late Sonny Simmons. What an impression it left on me as I heard for the first time a live concert featuring some of the all-time pioneers such as James Blackwood & the Blackwood Brothers, Hovie Lister & the Statesmen Quartet, the LeFevre's, and the Speer Family. I loved it and became an instant fan; I couldn't wait until the next event. I began to purchase LP recordings of the groups and was caught up in the way in which the groups would stand on storage cases and pitched their latest recordings. In particular, I remember James and Hovie who were outstanding salesmen as well as good singers and musicians.
Then, I began attending promotions a little closer to home at the Akron Civic Theater by promoter "Larry Orell" and then on occasion drove to New Castle, Pennsylvania where he also promoted concerts. Next time I will continue my journey; hope you will join me.