Spotlight on youth gospel singers
By Agnes Hapka
POINT PLEASANT — Four young performers will take the main stage at the Mason County Fair this year for the Spotlight Showcase. The event is slated for 8 p.m. on Tuesday, August 6, and will feature Christian athletes singing and playing Gospel music.
Three young men, Brandon Toler, Stevie Porter, and Noah Searls, will participate. Eleven-year-old Raegan Faulkner will provide the opening act.
Toler is a four-year letterman in baseball and a 2012 graduate. He has played baseball at Concord University and has acheived All-State recognition and All-State Captain as short-stop. He also achieved All-Conference for all four years, and was All-State in football, earning the Ironman title. He set the all-time receiving record. Toler has been an active Christian, involved in church mission trips and camps, since he was six years old. He sings locally and was a recipient of the Youth in Gospel Music Award. Toler is a resident of Mason County and is the son of Rev. Anthony and Staci Toler.
Porter began singing and playing gospel music on his guitar on his guitar a few years ago. He participated in the Mason and Jackson County components of Youth in Gospel Music. He has worked on a ministry through Point of Faith Prison Ministry in West Virginia’s prisons and detention centers. He has also participated in church camps and mission trips. He was a four-year letterman in soccer, wrestling, and baseball, and was All-State in AAA soccer. He was a member of the three-time state champion wrestling and was state runner-up in the 138-pound class in 2012. He and his teammates were back-to-back qualifiers in baseball. He is Mason County resident and the son of Bridget and Steve Porter.
Searls is a 2013 graduate who will attend Marshall University this fall to pursue a degree in pharmacy. He began singing gospel music when he was three, and began his wrestling career at age four. In the past 14 years in sports, he earned nine junior titles and four high school state titles, including a 2010 finalist and a 2011 state championship, and All-American status. Searls has remained dedicated to gospel music, and has been involved in various forms of ministry, from speaking at Fellowship of Christian Student meetings to singing and playing the guitar. He was the first recipient of the Bo Rickard Youth in Gospel Music Award. He is a Mason County resident and the son of Randy and Lisa Searls.
Faulkner is eleven years old, and a sixth-grader at West Union Elementary in Ohio. She is a cheerleader, plays soccer, is a member of the school band and choir, and is active in the performing arts. She is a member of the Bible Baptist Church in West Union, where she enjoys singing for the congregation. She also plans to take part in the Bo Rickard Youth in Gospel Music event at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the main stage.
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