POINT PLEASANT —This year, Gospel Night at the Mason County Fair will not only feature the Mark Trammel Quartet which currently has the number one gospel song in the country, but the Bo Rickard Youth in Gospel Music Event, the Gospel Spotlight Showcase and the Harry Rhodes Gospel sing.
Gospel Night at the fair is on Tuesday, Aug. 7 which is also Senior Citizens Day when all citizens over the age of 60 are admitted into the fair for free. The Point Pleasant Register has already previewed the Mark Trammel Quartet and the Harry Rhodes Gospel Sing and in this article will focus on the Bo Rickard Youth in Gospel Music Event and the Gospel Spotlight Showcase.
The Bo Rickard Youth in Gospel Music Event will take place on the main stage and will feature several young, local performers. The following is a list of times and performers — 4-4:30 p.m., Steven Porter, Kayla Weaver, Noah Searls. Danielle Daughtery, Caleb Grimm; 4:30 - 5 p.m., Erica Cremeans, Kamille Bonecutter, Penelope and Isabella Haught and Kennedy Fischer, Allee Duncan, Sarah Absten; 5-5:30 p.m., Aubrey Lewis, Brandon Toler, Maddy Towner, Cody Smith, Miranda Hawbaker, Ethan Smith.
Born in 1981, Rickard was a victim of spinal bifida which left him paralyzed from the waist down. Despite this, during his 19 short years, Rickard packed in a lot of living and was a faithful and dedicated member of the First Church of the Nazarene. He served as usher and sang in the church choir.
He also achieved many accomplishments and tributes, including being chosen as Youth Ambassador for Mason County 1992-93; selected as a Make A Wish child in August of 1992 and flew to Los Angeles, Calif. to meet Hulk Hogan; presented with the Gospel Music Fan of the Year Award in 1993 at the first New Year’s Eve Gospel Concert in Point Pleasant. He’s also had two gospel music seminars named after him as well as four Bo Rickard Gospel Sings. Rickard was a 1999 graduate of Point Pleasant High School, earning the Stella Rose Memorial Award and the Dr. Sam McNeil Memorial Award. He died on Dec. 21, 2000.
After the Bo Rickard Youth in Gospel Music Event is the Harry Rhodes Gospel Sing at 5:30 p.m. on the main stage, featuring Covered by Love, West Virginia Couriers and Builders Quartet.
Joyce Banks is a resident of Mason County who has been singing Gospel music for about 18 years. Banks has also participated in choirs through both directing and singing. However, her main calling is through her soloist ministry; as several doors have opened for her locally to minister in testimony and song at church services and revivals. Banks sings a mixture of southern and contemporary gospel music; but leans more toward the southern gospel style. She has sung songs by Jeff and Sheri Easter, The Crabb Family, McKameys and the Martins and gives God all the praise for any talent or ability that she acquires. Banks currently is employed by Mason County Schools and Early Education Station and is the wife of Mark Banks.
Sarah Absten is a senior at Point Pleasant High School. She has been singing gospel music since the age of three or four. Absten is a member of PPHS Choir, Youth in Gospel Music, church choir and the Point of Faith Prison Team. For over a year now God has given her opportunity to take the powerful message of the gospel in song to inmates at numerous prisons and correctional facilities throughout the state of West Virginia. Absten, who prefers contemporary gospel music, both sings and plays the piano. She loves the Lord Jesus Christ and is an inspiration and witness to young men and women her age, according to organizers. Absten resides in Mason County with her parents, Chuck and Karen Absten, and pets, Samson and Delilah.
According to Evelyn Roush, she has been “singing since she could talk.” Roush resides in New Haven and has been involved in several aspects of gospel music as a singer, musician, recording artist and promoter. She has even penned a song or two and has her own radio program. Roush has organized the Harry Rhodes Gospel Sing at the fair for many years and for over 22 years she has promoted the Bend Area Gospel Jubilee, a week long gospel music event that was inspired to her by God. She will tell you that she truly is a privileged person.
“God has blessed me with health to carry on this calling in my life,” Roush said.
Why does she do it? Not only for her love for gospel music but especially because people are helped.
“I always look forward to the gatherings around the altar,” Roush said. “We want to see people saved and we will stop for people’s needs because that is what it is about.”
Gospel Night at the fair wraps up at 9 p.m. when the Mark Trammel Quartet takes the fair’s main stage.