The styles may differ year to year. The message stays the same as does the purpose.
The Salvation Army Springfield Ohio Corp’s eight annual Gospel Music Extravaganza focuses on Southern Gospel this year. Nationally acclaimed acts Gold City Quartet, Jeff and Sheri Easter and the Nelons, will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at the Clark State Performing Arts Center’s Kuss Auditorium.
Chris Grindrod, Resource Development Manager for the Salvation Army Springfield, has seen some of the country’s top gospel acts perform in the series’ eight years including Point of Grace, the Newsboys and Casting Crowns and is excited for this year.
“There is a lot of different styles of gospel music and we try to bring in national talent who present a strong message and connect it back to the community,” said Grindrod.
Alabama-based Gold City Quartet is a gospel mainstay, 34 years now, led by Southern Gospel Music Assn. Hall of Fame inductee Tim Riley. The group has accumulated numerous number ones and industry awards.
Jeff and Sheri Easter grew up in gospel music families. They began a new tradition as a couple 30 years ago, collecting Dove Awards and Grammy nominations, infusing a bluegrass-influenced style.
The Nelons reflect a new chapter of a three-decade legacy started by Rex Nelon. His daughter, Kelly Nelon Clark, husband Jason and their Amber Nelon Thompson, the current act, have earned six Dove Awards and several Grammy nominations.
Grindrod said a popular question is when the next extravaganza will be and who will perform. He’s about showcasing the talent and the mission.
“It’s not all about a music presentation, it’s about going back into the community,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of great collaboration involved in putting it together.”
While most anybody who shops the Christmas season is familiar with the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign, their fundraising doesn’t end there.
All proceeds from this show go to programs such as the food pantry, social services, summer day camp and after school programs.
The Salvation Army saw an immediate need right after the completion of the kettle campaign when the freezing weather and snow followed.
The group partnered with the Red Cross to set up shelters in its South Plum St. facility that helped numerous people.
“We didn’t know we’d be helping people so soon but making people’s lives better is what we do,” said Grindrod.
Grindrod said good seats are still available for the show as well as group rates.
HOW TO GO
What: Salvation Army Gospel Music Extravaganza
Where: Clark State Performing Arts Center, Kuss Auditorium, 300 South Fountain Ave., Springfield
When: Saturday, March 29, 7 p.m.
Admission: Pit $40; orchestra $35; mezzanine $25; balcony $20; group rates also available
More info: 328-3874 or go to www.use.salvationarmy.org