Monday, November 13, 2006

Christmastime GospelFest

Well, it's been a while!

We had a BLAST with Ben & Allison Durham Speer at the Summertime GospelFest. I got to sing a couple songs with them and they really enjoyed themselves as well. Allison also did a great job on the RiverLife cruise the next evening.

Last month, we had the first annual HarvestTime GospelFest at the Zion Oaks Tabernacle. The week prior had been nice and warm, but the day of the concert was nice and nippy--about 45 or 50 degrees outside. It was still a great concert and we had about 150 people there--all bundled up in coats and blankets. Lots of fun.

Christmastime GospelFest is in less than a month and we've sold quite a few tickets so far. We'll be doing some great southern gospel and traditional Christmas music as well. We'll even throw in a couple of "original" songs--one written by me and the other co-written with Scott Kramer.

I've almost sold out of my third printing of the "Convention Hallelujahs!" songbook and am considering printing a new book next year--either a 2nd book of convention favorites or a bok featuring the songs of Dad Speer--a work that's been in progress for a couple years now. Not sure yet which we'll do.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

GospelFest is coming

Well, I had a great time in Nashville teaching at Ben Speer's Stamps-Baxter School of Music. We heard from guest artists such as Gordon Mote, the Florida Boys, Lori Apple, Stephen Hill, Reggie & Ladye Love Smith and Bill & Gloria Gaither.

I had 8 students in my theory class and we studied advanced partwriting, as well as ear training, dication, and sight-singing.

We're now just a few weeks away from GospelFest and it's going to be great. I was able to sit down with Allison a couple times at Stamps-Baxter and work through the concert order. I'm very excited about this concert.

The radio show continues to do very well...I hope you get a chance to listen: M-F 7:00pm on WBNH 88.5FM or at Just click on the "GospelFest Productions" link.

Have a great day!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Stamps-Baxter School of Music

Well, we finally got moved and our house two and a half months later, we'll still trying to find things in boxes!

We just got back yesterday from a week-long vacation in Hayward, WI, with my family. We had a great time. Clara loved her boat-ride and even the pool.

Today, I flew to Nashville for the beginning of the Stamps-Baxter School of Music, which starts tomorrow. Eric Walker picked me up, and the airlines only lost one of my bags...wait, that's 50% of my luggage!!! Hopefully it will get here tonight or tomorrow.

Eric and I and a friend from school went to Cracker Barrel for dinner after picking me up at the airport. While we were eating, in walks all of the Gaither Vocal Band and their spouses and some of Guy Penrod's kids. Then, some of the Isaacs stopped in as well. It was the place to be.

I'll keep updating about what's going on at the school.

Only five more weeks til GospelFest!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Summertime GospelFest

Happy Memorial Day! We've been very busy for the past six weeks packing up the house. We placed an offer on a home the day before Easter and it was accepted that next week. We then put our house on the market and sold it ten days later! Praise the Lord! We've been up to our ears in home inspections, contracts, repair amendments, packing, etc. We close on both of our homes on June 1st (my grandpa's 80th birthday!), and immediately take possession of our new home. Our buyer will take possession of our current home on June 3rd, so we have about a day and a half to get moved. Can't wait.

We start rehearsals for the 8th Annual Summertime GospelFest this Wednesday. It's going to be very exciting having Ben, Faye and Allison Durham Speer with us. Still getting the music together and figuring out what we'll be doing. The concert is August 25th at Grace Presbyterian Church.

The GospelFest Singers will be singing for the RiverLife Father's Day Cruise on June 18th aboard the Spirit of Peoria. The next day, Anne and I, along with Scott & Rachel, will be going on an overnight excursion on the Spirit of Peoria up to Starved Rock State Park. Should be a great couple of days.

"An Evening with Fanny Crosby" will be at Dayton Avenue Baptist in Peoria on June 11th at 6:00pm. Come on out for a great evening! We'll also be in Rock Island, IL, on June 25th at 6:00pm.

Happy Memorial Day weekend!


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Happy Easter

Happy Easter! What a wonderful time of year--made even more appreciable by the beautiful weather, blooming forscythia, lilacs, daffodils, green grass, warm temps...

The Radio Time GospelFest Hour has been in full swing now for two weeks and is being received very graciously. Be sure to listen every weeknight at 7:00 on WBNH 88.5FM or on the web at This week's programs have been all about the Cross, the Blood, and Calvary.

Hands of Love is working on a new look to their website and it's really starting to take shape. You can check out the GospelFest Productions section and find out about all of our GospelFest concerts, pictures of the singers, listening samples from our soon-to-be-released CD, songbook orders, etc. Check it out!

Clara's finally walking--she' so cute watching her toddle, fall over, get back up while laughing, etc. How exciting!

Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Ministry Updates

Hello all. Wanted to let you know about the start date for Radio Time GospelFest Hour. The past couple weeks have truly been a learning experience as we've been putting shows together. I certainly hope it gets quicker as I get more used to it. I've completed almost two weeks' worth of shows and hope to be three weeks ahead by the time the show starts airing on April 3rd... Yes, the Radio Time GospelFest Hour begins April 3rd and 7:00pm and will run Monday through Fridays on WBNH 88.5 FM or on the web at We're very excited about this ministry opportunity. We're also putting together a program for our ministry events as well as a poster/flier for the GospelFest concerts.

A couple weeks ago, we presented "An Evening with Fanny Crosby" at Highview Church of God in Washington, IL, and at Grace Evangelical Church in Morton, IL. This is a great presentation on Fanny Crosby's life and many of her hymns she wrote.

With Degenhart Music, I've also been very busy with a variety of things. I'm doing the typesetting for a book that will be published by Harold Timmons later this spring. It's a compilation (the first of several volumes) honoring the Chuck Wagon Gang. Harold played for the Chucks and is now putting together songbooks featuring many of the songs they're known for. I've also been doing some typesetting for a songwriter from Chicago, IL, and am working on a songbook project for the Ruppes, a women's family trio from North Carolina.

Busy, busy, busy...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Radio-Time GospelFest Hour

Hello and Happy Valentine's Day!

Hands of Love was approached by WBNH 88.5 FM (Peoria's Moody affiliate) to take over production of their hour-long southern gospel radio program "Southern Gospel Moments" which airs five times a week. We have always had a great relationship with WBNH and are thrilled with this new ministry partnership.

I will be hosting the program and it will now be called "Radio-Time GospelFest Hour." In addition to the great current southern gospel hits, we'll also be featuring many of the older pioneer groups, such as the Goodmans, Speers, Blackwoods and Statesmen, in many of their classic recordings. We also hope to do interviews with artists and other special features.

We're currently working on the pilot episode, which hopefully will air sometime in March. We're very excited about this new venture for Hands of Love and WBNH!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everybody! Exciting things are happening for Hands of Love Ministry this year. For our 8th Annual Summertime GospelFest, I'm pleased to announce that the concert will be a special tribute celebrating the Speer Family's 85th anniversary. For the occasion, we'll be featuring special guests Allison Durham-Speer, Ben Speer and Faye Speer. We're very excited about having these living legends with us to celebrate Mom & Dad Speer's legacy of the past 85 years. Ben is the music director for the Gaither Homecoming videos and has sung with the Speer Family since age 3. He also has a studio in Nashville and serves as a producer for many recording artists. Allison Durham-Speer is married to Brian Speer, son of Faye and the late Brock Speer. Her solo career has taken her all over the world and is a featured singer on the Gaither Homecoming videos. Faye Speer joined the group when she married Brock in 1948. Her sweet spirit and smooth alto voice became an integral part of the Speer Family for the better part of the past 58 years.

The date for the concert will be August 25th at Grace Presbyterian Church. Along with our special guests will be the GospelFest Singers, Choir and Band, as well as pianist Tracey Phillips from Nashville and bass singer Eric Walker from Missouri. Stay tuned for information regarding tickets.