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Blessed to be a blessing is the philosophy two Lancaster groups synonymous with gospel music firmly believe in.
Now, thanks to the local support they’ve received, they are giving back.
Free gospel music concerts, featuring some of the area’s best vocalists, are on tap for tonight and Saturday.
At 7 p.m. tonight, GlennMark Promotions will host its annual fan appreciation Southern gospel concert at Second Baptist Church, featuring King’s Cause, The Heritage Quartet and the Good News Quartet.
GlennMark was formed in 2004 by Dennis Nichols, Glenn Totherow and Mark Blackmon as a vehicle for bringing top Southern gospel music acts to Lancaster. All three men are fans of the genre.
Its 2010 lineup included the Kingdom Heirs, Legacy Five, The Whisnants and Ivan Parker.
“This night is our way of saying thank you to all of you who attend our other concerts,” Nichols said. “This evening of Southern gospel music is totally free; no tickets are needed and no love offering will be collected. We just want our friends to come join us for a time of song.”
Nichols said the 2011 concert series will be one of the best ever, with The Kingdom Heirs (Feb. 18), Guy Penrod (April 8), The Issacs (Aug. 12) and the Inspirations and The McKameys on Nov. 4.
Nichols said bringing top-notch gospel acts to Lancaster is about ministry, not making money.
“The ultimate goal is that someone will be saved through the gospel presented at a GlennMark concert,” he said.
The Jones Brothers
The Jones Brothers – Henry, 66, Lovett, 56, Robert, 50, and John, 49, have been singing together since 1967.
The Jones Brothers will celebrate their 43rd anniversary with a free concert at 6 p.m. Saturday at Mt. Zion AME Zion Church. Joining them is Resurrection, the Genesis Mass Choir, the Rev. Cleatis Jones, Angela Thompson and the Lancaster District Youth Mass Choir and the Hopewell Gospel Choir. A love offering will be taken.
“For us, the link has never been broken,” Henry Jones said. “I think the reason we’ve lasted this long is because we try to put God first in everything we do and he has seen fit to bless us.”
“It’s important to give back to those who have given to us,”
Putting God first was a priority in the home of the late A.J. Jones, and his wife, Odessa, who recently celebrated her 95th birthday.
Voices of praise were always lifted up in their home, Henry said.
While the membership of the Jones Brothers has changed since 1967, the core sound has always built around four of the 13 Jones children.
Through the years, they have shared the stage with gospel music acts such as Willie Banks and the Messengers, the Mighty Clouds of Joy and Shirley Caesar. In September 2009, The Jones Brothers won the Charlotte Music Awards Gospel Showcase, which recognizes the best music talent in the Carolinas.
But Henry Jones said none of that matters. Their only goal is using their talents to lift up hurting people and to let them know “there is a better way” by ministering through song.
“After 43 years, we’re still motivated to do that,” Jones said.
“That’s why we do what we do. It’s not about us, it’s about him (God). When we do what he has gifted us to do, everything else takes care of itself.”
WHAT: GlennMark Promotions Annual Fan Appreciation Concert, featuring King’s Cause, The Heritage Quartet and the Good News Trio
WHEN: 7 p.m. today
WHERE: Second Baptist Church, 1426 Great Falls Highway
WHEN: 7 p.m. today
HOW MUCH: Free
DETAILS: (803) 283-9988 or Dennis@KingsCause.com
WHAT: The Jones Brothers 43rd Anniversary Celebration, featuring The Jones Brothers, Resurrection, the Genesis Mass Choir, the Rev. Cleatis Jones, Angela Thompson and the Lancaster District Youth Mass Choir, and the Hopewell Gospel Choir of McBee.
WHEN: 6 p.m. Saturday (doors open at 5 p.m.)
WHERE: Mt. Zion AME Zion Church, 317 E. Barr St.
HOW MUCH: Free, a love offering will be taken
DETAILS: (803) 804-4639 or (803) 283-3513 4639