Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Come and Gone

The 11th Annual Summertime GospelFest was this past weekend...what fun! Although it was a smaller than usual crowd (probably around 500 people), we had a wonderful evening celebrating God's goodness and looking forward to heaven! The choir sounded great as did the GospelFest Singers. We also got several inquiries to come and sing at other churches in the area which is very exciting.

Now looking forward to a week's vacation in Wisconsin before heading south for my 6th year teaching at the Stamps-Baxter School of Music! I teach music theory, sight-singing and ear-training and am one of 1o different levels. A great time to connect with other folks who eat, sleep and breathe southern gospel music like I do. (www.stampsbaxterschool.com)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

GospelFest Hour now International!

We've been so blessed by the stations deciding to air the "GospelFest Hour" and have some great news...in addition to stations in 25 states airing the program, there are now 3 in Canada and 1 in Zambia, Africa! It's just amazing to think that God's word is being shared in this program not only in the United States, but on the "other side of the pond" as well. God is so good!

For a complete station listing, visit www.gospelfestministries.com/ministries/radio.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Eva Mae LeFevre

We lost one of the true pioneers of southern gospel music recently...Eva Mae LeFevre went home to be with the Lord on May 18, 2009, at the age of 91. She had been in failing health this past year and had been in and out of the hospital and nursing home.

I met Eva Mae in September 1997 during my first visit to the National Quartet Convention. She was one of the first "celebrities" I'd met and I spoke with her for a few minutes. What a funny lady! One thing I most remember was her signature laugh. A few days after returning from the NQC, I was working on a paper in college on southern gospel music and thought I'd try calling my new friend and seeing about doing an interview. I left a message on the phone number I found, and didn't expect to hear back. How surprised I was to return home the next day and hear that "some woman named Eva Mae had called!" I called back and we talked for probably a half-hour about her involvement in southern gospel music. She was so generous and encouraging...that conversation is something I'll always treasure.

Eva Mae began playing piano and singing at a very young age (as most pastor's daughters of that day did!). She was only 8 when she met her future husband, Urias LeFevre, and his brother, Alphus. Urias & Eva Mae were married when Eva Mae was 16, and thus began the LeFevre Trio. She was known for her great alto voice and her fantastic piano playing. Just listening to a few measures, you'd know it was her playing the piano.

Rex Nelon was an important part of the LeFevres as their bass singer. After Urias & Alphus retired in the mid 1970's, the group became the Rex Nelon Singers. After her retirement, Eva Mae continued singing by herself, even up to shortly before her death.

The very first Homecoming video featured Eva Mae on the piano, with many gospel singers calling out song after song. She was a very important part of southern gospel music's history and we are forever grateful.

Thank you, Eva Mae!