POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Fair will provide plenty of opportunity for lovers of gospel music to make, and come listen to, a “joyful noise.”
Tuesday is the day the fair’s entertainment is dedicated to gospel music with four events scheduled on the main stage. This year’s events are slated for Tuesday, Aug. 11.
One of the oldest gospel traditions at the fair is the Harry Rhodes Gospel Sing, named after the late Rhodes and carried on by Evelyn Roush of New Haven. This year’s Harry Rhodes Gospel Sing starts at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 11 and will feature Taylor Brothers, Neal Family and Heaven’s Call Trio.
Prior to the Rhodes sing is the Bo Rickard Youth in Gospel Music Event at 4 p.m. Aug. 11. The itinerary is as follows: 3:50 p.m., Bo Rickard Award Presentation; first group of singers take the stage from 4-4:35 p.m., featuring Kamille Bonecutter, Kamille Bonecutter and Josie Hill, Maddy Towner, Maggie Waugh, Alex Shrader, Jonni Dawn Waugh, Kristin Durst, Fishermen’s Net Youth Choir. The second group performs from 4:35 – 5:15 p.m. and will feature Olivia Boggess, Berklee Bonecutter, Chloe Lambert, Clairy Keefer, Emmie Waugh, Caleb Grimm, Kennedy Fischer, Isabella and Penelope Haught, McKenna Young, Annabelle Shrader, Isabella Haught.
Singer registration is from 3-3:30 p.m. for those young people wishing to participate in the Rickard sing.
Then, at 8 p.m., Aug. 11, the Spotlight Showcase will take place. The Mason County Fair is in its sixth year of hosting Spotlight Showcase, which is an annual event that precedes the main featured gospel group every year. The purpose is to showcase or put the spotlight on local singers that use their musical ability to bring glory and honor to the Lord Jesus Christ, according to organizers.
This year the spotlight’s feature is entitled “Spanning the Generations” as singers ages range from 10 to 70. Featured singers will be Chuck Boles, Randy Parsons, Conner Grady, Kristin Durst and Maddy Towner.
Biographies for this year’s spotlight performers were submitted as follows from event organizers:
Conner Grady is a 16-year old junior at Point Pleasant High School, where she is a member of the Black Knight Marching Band Flag Corps. She is the daughter of Michael and Deanna Grady of Leon. Grady attends Oma Chapel Church in Grimm’s Landing and started singing for the Lord in the last two years. Her clear, pure voice is a truly a gift from God and a blessing.
Randy Parsons is a Mason County native and was born and raised in Point Pleasant but has lived in Buffalo for the past 20 years. Parsons is no stranger to the Mason County Fair, having served as emcee of the Fair Queen Pageant for the past 11 years. He is an ordained minister, former pastor, and an evangelist speaking in different churches throughout the area. He has been singing as a soloist since age nine and has been a member of gospel groups. He now carries on a solo music ministry. He has worked as station manager of the former Joy FM Radio Station, and is currently employed by Raynes Funeral Home in Buffalo. He and his wife Sheila will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary this November.
Chuck Boles resides in Jackson County, W.Va., and began playing his guitar and singing in local churches at the age of 16. He later joined a men’s Gospel group entitled The Builder’s Quartet and continued to sing with them for over 40 years. Currently, Boles is back to his roots ministering solo as he masterfully plays his guitar and sings. He travels to local churches as well as civic and community functions. He also is part of a Bluegrass Gospel group out of Parkersburg.
Maddelynn Towner is 10 years old and lives in Leon. She attends Leon United Methodist Church where she sings for the congregation, and also sings in the community. She has sung for Youth In Gospel Music for over five years. She attends Leon Elementary where she will be in the fifth grade and is a straight A student. She is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, plays soft ball, and enjoys many other sports during the year.
Kristin Durst has been singing in church for as long as she has been talking. She attends Fishermen’s Net Ministries and has had the opportunity to sing at the Mason County Fair for Youth In Gospel Music for the past two years. She has enjoyed singing at area churches and with the Fishermen’s Net Kids Choir. She takes pleasure in sharing her love for Jesus through singing.
A history of the showcase event is as follows:
• In 2010 Spotlight Showcase featured Youth in Gospel Music – “Past, Present and Future.”
• And in 2011 the focus was on Singing Preachers.
• Then in 2012 the spotlight was on local female Gospel Artist.
• Mason County Fair’s Spotlight Showcase in 2013 was directed on male Christian Athlete Gospel Artist.
• In 2014 the fair brought back a native Mason County resident and his family when Spotlight featured the Jason Click Family Ministry.
The fair committee has scheduled Ricky Atkinson and Compassion to follow the Spotlight Showcase as the main entertainment for Gospel Night at 9 p.m., Aug. 11. Atkinson who resides in Georgia, is a songwriter, soloist, recording artist, and owner and operator of Resting Place Recording Studio where he is the head engineer. Atkinson was voted 2010 Christian Voice Fan Awards “Male Vocalist of the Year”; 2011 SESGMC Fan Awards “Male Vocalist of the Year” – “Song Writer of the Year”- “RAC – Trio of the Year”; 2012 SESGMC Fan Awards “Male Vocalist of the Year” – “Song Writer of the Year”; 2014 Christian Voice Fan Awards “Song Writer of the Year.