IN THE SPIRIT: You can't miss the Gaithers' Lovin' Life Tour
One of my dreams is coming true! The Gaithers are coming to town. We don't have to go to Fargo or Winnipeg. Both those trips were well worth it, but this time, we simply have to drive out to The Ralph on Arena Drive. You don't know how long I've ...
One of my dreams is coming true! The Gaithers are coming to town.
We don't have to go to Fargo or Winnipeg. Both those trips were well worth it, but this time, we simply have to drive out to The Ralph on Arena Drive. You don't know how long I've waited for this.
Even though I've seen the Gaithers' four-hour musical extravaganza twice, I believe I was among the first to get my ticket for their 3 p.m. May 31 concert. To get yours, call the box office at (701) 777-4689 or Ticketmaster at (701) 772-5151.
I tried to call Bill Gaither, but he's out of the country. Here's what I know about him: He grew up and still lives in Indiana. An avid fan of gospel quartets as a child, he founded his first group, The Bill Gaither Trio, in 1956, while in college. He started teaching English in 1959, when he found out he couldn't live on musical aspirations alone.
In 1962, Bill married Gloria Sickal, also a teacher, and she became the best music-writing partner he could have found. They spent the first five years of their marriage juggling full-time teaching jobs, writing, singing, recording and publishing. Music became their full-time career in 1967.
They have written more than 700 popular gospel songs, including the hymnal standards "Because He Lives," "The King Is Coming" and "He Touched Me." Collectively, they've won eight Grammy Awards and more than two dozen Dove Awards. They've earned the Gospel Music Association's "Songwriter of the Year" award eight times.
Plus, they go on these wonderful tours taking along a conglomeration of fun-loving singers. This one is called "Lovin' Life." I guarantee you'll leave REA lovin' life because the music, message, camaraderie and comedy are over the top.
Among those with the Gaithers this time is Russ Taff. He performed solo in UND's Chester Fritz Auditorium in March 1990. I met this son-of-a-preacher-man, followed and interviewed him as he browsed the Christian Bookshelf. He's delightful.
With Bill out of reach, I interviewed Ernie Haase, the tenor voice of Signature Sound. It was fun telling him I'd seen him in Fargo some years ago when he was with the Cathedral Quartet.
After the Cathedrals broke up, Ernie found three other energetic performers who share his love for great harmonies and time-honored songs. They've been touring with Bill Gaither for four years.
"Whenever he's out, we're out with him," Ernie said. "When Bill takes off, we do our solo tour."
Other members are Tim Duncan, bass; Doug Anderson, baritone; and Ryan Seaton, lead.
Ernie wrote the song "Reason Enough" on their recently released "Dream On" CD. Last week, it won the Southern Gospel Recorded Song of the Year at the Dove Awards in Nashville. "That was quite an honor for me," he said.
Inspiration came when the guys got to talking about how they all have days when they doubt.
"We'd be lying if we said we didn't," Ernie said. "When you break it all down, its simple faith. We know Scripture. We try to add to it, but it's basically all about Jesus. In these uncertain times, everybody needs a shot in the arm of hope, and that's what we will offer to people on the 31st."
As will every other performer that day. And they will be legion!
Dunavan is a Herald columnist whose "In the Spirit" appears the second Saturday of the month. Reach her at (218) 773-9521 or firstname.lastname@example.org .