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April 8, 2014

VIII acts to sing at Corbin

4 soloists, 4 groups make 8 for April 25 show

CORBIN — By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer

With last year’s inaugural event in the books, organizers of the Corbin Music Gospel Concert are looking at season two.

And they’re looking at a bigger and better show, with four local groups and four local soloists taking the stage Friday, April 25, from 6:45 - 9:15 p.m. at the Corbin Arena.

The eight musical acts were announced Monday morning, during a press conference held at the Arena by the Concert Board of Corbin Gospel Music, Inc.

Clear Fork, New Harvest, The Gospel Jammers and The Cupps are the groups who will join singers Ethel White, Matt Bowling, Wanda Cornelius and Janus Jones for what board members are calling Corbin Gospel Music Concert II.

“Last year, I didn’t think a lot of people thought we could do it. But this year, I’ve personally sold double the tickets from a year ago at this time,” he told reporters.

“Last year, I thought 500 people would be a lot, but we got over 1,700 who came to the concert. And I think we’ll get more this year,” said Board Treasurer Herman Moore.

Jones — who is Secretary of the Board — added the concert will be more than an event bringing people from Southeastern Kentucky and Northern Tennessee into Corbin.

“That’s because the singing Cupps, a local group, have several national-charting songs on Southern Gospel radio stations. … We’re strictly staying with our original idea of local Gospel talent, and family-affordable prices. We have again, variety in the folks we’ve chosen. We have Southern Gospel, we have some Bluegrass Gospel, we have young people, older people, and we all come together for the Lord Jesus,” he pointed out.

Calling last year’s first-ever concert a  “truly wonderful event,” Board President John Burkhart mentioned having the inaugural show did deter some people from wanting to get involved.

“It was very successful. But the skepticism was there. We have a tendency to keep to ourselves as congregations. But this concert will help people to come together as people of God, as Jesus Christ asked us to be,” he said.

In his remarks, Burkart — a retired Episcopal priest in Corbin — stated the concert board was trying to create a tradition, to promote Corbin, promote the Arena, and to promote the gospel.

“This is an unprecedented event. To pray, to praise God and to make it happen each year, so that this town, this place, The Arena, will be known as a place for Gospel Music,” he proclaimed.

With Corbin Arena’s Director, Connie Hunt watching the press conference a few yards away, Burkhart gave praise to the facility’s staff and help in staging last year’s concert.

“The Arena is easy to work with the Director, and the staff is accommodating (for us). This arena has a lot of nationally-known people who perform here. But there are local people who can professionally sing the Gospel. We will have the cream of the crop on stage,” he said.

Mentioning the concert would begin with a young singer, Board Vice President Bob Terrell noted Corbin singer Zac Hart will start the program with his rendition of “God Bless America.”

Of the four local Gospel groups up on the Arena Stage later this month, The Cupps quartet are the ones gaining national recognition in 1996 with their chart-topping singles.

They began singing in local churches, and now perform at churches, festivals, homecomings, camps, conferences, auditoriums and schools. The Cupps — Troy, Barbara, Sarah and Hannah — have also performed at several events as a host group, and shared the stage with most all mainstream groups.

Organized in 1998 by Clifford Moses of Williamsburg and Robert Johnson of Jellico, Clear Fork is today made up of Moses and Johnson, along with Bob Mansfield, Rebecca Moses and Tracey Hurst.

The Gospel Jammers sing in Corbin every night at the Gospel Jamboree barn, and are talented musicians in their own light, singing with groups such as Radiant Light, Josh Teague and Friends, Gospel Harmony and other group singers.

And New Harvest is the last of the four local groups at the concert. Made up of Kendra Lee Wilson and Ashley Jo, the group was formed in 2011 with the intent to spread the Gospel through song.

Of the four local soloists, Matt Bowling is a talented singer, musician and member of the musical group True Lamb. While he sings both as a soloist and part of a group, he’ll perform at the concert as a soloist.

Born in Harlan County, Wanda Cornelius moved to Williamsburg with her family at the age of 10. She went on attend the University of the Cumberlands, receiving her BS in Education and also met her husband Lewis at UC. She later earned her Masters Degree at Campbellsville University. Both Wanda and Lewis have written over 100 gospel songs.

Closing the show will be Janus Jones, a Whitley County native, a UC graduate, and a retired Asociational Director of Missions. Ordained to the Gospel Ministry in April 1964, Jones has been active in the ministry in the region for 50 years. Involved in the nursing home ministry with the Young At Heart Gospel Singers, Jones is pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, serves as president of The Gospel Jamboree, and plays gospel music on a Williamsburg radio station.

Said Terrell about this month’s concert, “The thing I’ve noticed is that small businesses have rallied around us in Corbin. I am just so amazed with them because they want some things here at home. And we have some great local talent.”

Tickets for the Corbin Gospel Music Concert II are $8, and available at The Arena Box Office, or from any Ticketmaster location. Group rate tickets are $5, and may be purchased from any Corbin Gospel Board of Directors, such as Burkhart, Terrell, Moore, Jones, Peggy Inks, Don Inks, Ray Hill and Josh Teague.

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