Music Program Salutes Hymn Classics

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Jim and Melissa BradyA talented collection of national Southern gospel groups along with a local choir head a "Gospel Music Hymn Sing" May 12 at the Jenison Center for the Arts.

"It seems in the last few years hymns have become a bit of a lost art in some churches that are singing the newer music," said Jim Brady, whose trio is one of the groups participating in the event.

"I love the newer music, but there's something special about songs that have lived through the years – we don't sing them because they're old, but because they're great."
The Jim Brady Trio, Greater Vision, Mark Trammell Quartet, The Mylon Hayes Family, Taranda Greene and Stan Whitmire are among the artists participating. A specially-assembled choir of West Michigan singers will accompany the artists.

"We probably sing more than 30 hymns each evening on this tour," Brady noted. "If you grew up singing from the old 'red-back' hymnal like most of us did, it's a special time."

That would include well known hymns such as "How Great Thou Art," "Holy, Holy, Holy" and "Blessed Assurance."

The local choir will provide vocals for the gospel classic "I'll Meet You in the Morning," led by Gerald Wolfe of Greater Vision.


Brady sang for more than a decade with the popular Booth Brothers, performing often on the Gaither Homecoming tours and videos. But he left the long-running group to form a trio which includes his wife Melissa.

Before his Booth Brothers days the couple had sung together in a family group with her pastor/evangelist father. "We are both singers and songwriters and have a lot of things in common in ministry and music," he said.

When Jim went to sing with the Booth Brothers, Melissa remained musically active writing songs and filling in with other gospel groups such as The Hoppers and The Martins."We always imagined that we would have an opportunity to minister together," Jim said. "It was a hard decision, but we felt that the timing was right for us to take this leap of faith."

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The debut Jim Brady Trio CD ("A New Chapter") includes a song they wrote about their new adventure, "Steppin' Out in Faith." The tune won an award as the top Southern Gospel song of 2015 based on radio air play. They also nabbed New Group of the Year honors at last fall's National Quartet Convention.

"God has been opening doors for us – we were booked for a full year before I got off the Booth Brothers bus," Brady said of the trio's developing schedule. (The Jim Brady Trio returns for a solo concert at 6 p.m. Sun. May 29 at Sandy Pines Lakeside Chapel at the Sandy Pines Resort in Dorr. Jim and Melissa are currently on the road with trio fill-in singer Gus Gaches, formerly with Legacy Five).


The 45-year-old Brady is a veteran songwriter, and has placed songs with gospel groups such as The Talleys, Gold City and soloist Ivan Parker. And he wrote a number of Booth Brothers' hits. Brady said despite Southern gospel music's origins and stronghold in the southern U.S., the genre's artists enjoy coming to Michigan to perform.

"In the south you can find (Southern gospel) concerts every week somewhere," he said. "Up north or out west, it's not generally that way. But I think people up there are more receptive and responsive because they don't get it (the music) as much."

The various groups at the local "Hymn Sing" will combine for a portion of the concert, sharing the stage while the focus is squarely on hymns. Not only do the great hymns have solid theology, Brady said, but they are great art forms in themselves – well crafted with beautiful melody and harmony.

"And the cool thing is everyone in the audience can just grab a part and sing along. The audience becomes the choir, too."

Concert details:

"Gospel Music Hymn Sing" featuring Greater Vision, The Jim Brady Trio, Mark Trammell Quartet, The Mylon Hayes Family, Taranda Greene and pianist Stan Whitmire
7 p.m. Thursday May 12 in Jenison Center for the Arts, 8375 20th Ave. in Jenison.
Tickets range from $16 to $25 and are available on line via Call for info 616-667-3602.
Author Information
Terry DeBoer
Terry is journalist who writes for newspapers, magazines, newsletters and websites. His most frequented “beat” is arts and entertainment. He is married with two children and lives in Grand Rapids.

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