The threat of a winter storm has prompted the postponement of Saturday night’s Music Maker’s Gospel Revue at the Franklin Park Arts Center, but the show will go on Sunday, Jan. 27.
In the program, the Glorifying Vines Sisters and Thomas Rhyant will take the audience on an exploration of how American gospel music in black churches formed the roots of rock and roll music.
Music Maker’s Gospel Revue unites two poles of the gospel music spectrum. The music of the Glorifying Vines Sisters arises out of the tradition of African American spirituals, while Thomas Rhyant’s style originates from the doo-wop and soul tradition of the ‘50s and ‘60s.
The Glorifying Vines Sisters are a family performance troupe from the eastern farmlands of North Carolina, raised in a sharecropping family in the coastal plain. The sisters have sung together for more than 50 years. They have released five albums since the mid 1970s, and toured the gospel circuit alongside renowned traditional quartet gospel groups including the Mighty Clouds of Joy and the Violinaires. Recently, the Vines ramped up their musical careers with the purchase of their own church, the Believe in God Ministries, and a partnership with the Music Maker Relief Foundation, a nonprofit created to preserve the musical traditions of the South by directly supporting the musicians who make it. Since connecting with Music Maker in 2017, they have performed for new audiences from Telluride, CO, to festivals as far away as Lugano, Switzerland.
Rhyant travels the country as an itinerant minister of song. His father was an aspiring singer who assembled his sons as a family gospel quartet known as The Rhyant Brothers. Early on, Rhyant followed his father’s musical vision, but hearing Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers started him on a new musical direction. He became part of The Violinaires, the legendary group that included Wilson Pickett before he became an R&B superstar. The group’s drummer was the son of R.H. Harris—Sam Cooke’s mentor and teacher, and one of the most important figures in the history of gospel music. Through the Violinaires, Rhyant met many of his musical heroes, and spent hours listening, soaking up the history of their lives and music. He continues to use music to tell the stories of those who came before him and to help listeners understand, and emotionally connect with, that history.
Tickets to the show are $20 and can be purchased at franklinparkartscenter.org.
In addition to the concert, the arts center is featuring the “We are the Music Makers” exhibit through Friday, Feb. 8—open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The exhibit offers an exploration of the past 20 years of Southern traditional music history through photo and audio documentations captured by Tim Duffy.
Residents are invited to visit the free exhibit to learn how poverty, geography and age have all limited the exposure of artists and led to the common notion that the music they performed has died out.
For more information on the exhibit, go to franklinparkartscenter.org/exhibitions or call the center at 540-338-7973.