MASON COUNTY — Gospel Night at the Mason County Fair has become a local tradition, and this year will be no different.
Gospel Night at the fair takes place on Tuesday, Aug. 7 and starts at 5:30 p.m. with the Harry Rhodes Gospel Sing and culminates in a performance by the Mark Trammell Quartet at 9 p.m., all on the main stage. Tuesday is also Senior Citizens Day at the fair when all seniors 60 and older receive free admission into the fair.
Three groups will perform during the Harry Rhodes Gospel Sing and are Covered by Love, West Virginia Couriers and Builders Quartet.
According to Evenlyn Roush, the Harry Rhodes Gospel Sing has been a part of the Mason County Fair for many years and was originally organized by Harry Rhodes. The sing features local talent from Mason County as well as the surrounding areas. Roush said the sing has always had major support from the senior citizens who attend the fair.
“We are grateful the largest county fair in West Virginia saves a spot and time to bring our choice of groups to the Harry Rhodes sing,” Roush said.
When Rhodes became sick, he asked Roush to carry on the tradition. Roush said she was “overjoyed to follow in the footsteps of such a great and respectful Christian man.”
Roush reports Covered by Love is from South Webster, Ohio with Rhonda Smith and her sons, 12-year old Cody and 10-year old Ethan. Rhonda’s parents, Larry and Mary VanMeter formed the group Narrow Way which they later retired and are now singing with their daughter and grandsons in Covered By Love. “Their energy to sing a gospel song erupts as they take the stage,” Roush said.
The Builders Quartet is a familiar name to the area. Roush said the group is from Ripley and have shared God’s love in a song for nearly 50 years. Having said goodbye to their bass singer B. Arthur on Oct. 16, 2011, the group now has a new face with a new lineup that includes Ron Arthur, Sr., Ron (Rue) Arthur, Jr., Bud Jarrett and Rev. Shannon Skeens.
West Virginia Couriers is not new to the gospel scene but will be new to the Mason County Fair. The group is from Elkview and Roush says she met them in the early 1980’s and featured them several times in gospel sings. The founder of the group, Mike Marrin, spent the past several years in Florida but has returned and reunitd the quartet. “Their harmonies and witnses on stage are unlike any other,” Roush said.
Roush said the Harry Rhodes Gospel Sing promies to be an evening at the Mason County Fair visitors won’t want to miss.
“Your support is greatly appreciated as your prescence helps everyone to know you are saying ‘yes’ to gospel music at the fair,” Roush explained.
Following the Harry Rhodes Gospel Sing, the Mark Trammel Quartet will take the main stage at 9 p.m.
Trammell has won multiple awards as a singer and producer, and has been a member of four of Gospel Music’s most acclaimed groups - The Kingsmen, The Cathedrals, Greater Vision and Gold City. For most people, just being with one of these legendary groups would be the pinnacle of a career and justification for resting on your laurels. But for Trammell now is not the time to kick back and relax. Instead, it is time to launch a new mission that focuses on evangelism through the seamless integration of Gospel Music and preaching - The Mark Trammell Quartet. Taking on the mantel of mentor, Trammell is now surrounding himself with three of the brightest young vocalists on the Gospel Music horizon. Joel Wood, Dustin Sweatman, and Pat Barker who make up the quartet.
This year Gospel Night at the fair is being sponsored by Deal Funeral Home, Bob’s Market and Greenhouses and Panchos Southwest Grill.
(Note: Some information for this article provided by Evelyn Roush.)