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Putnam vocalist sings in 40th anniversary celebration

Nov. 08, 2013 @ 05:28 PM

Life is full of exciting surprises. One of those that brought delight and enjoyable listening to Kitty and me was the presentation of the 40th anniversary celebration of "Alleluia! A Praise Gathering for Believers" written by Bill and Gloria Gaither.

We heard it on Friday night, Oct. 25, in the magnificent Reardon Auditorium on the Anderson University Campus, just across the street from Park Place Church of God, built under the pastoral leadership of one of America's greatest preachers, the Rev. Dr. W. Dale Oldham.

We had the choice seats for that inspiring presentation. To our right on the end of that special row was Dr. Arlo F. Newell, internationally known author, writer, editor and preacher. Immediately in front of Dr. Newell were Bill and Gloria Gaither. Arlo was accompanied by his brilliant and scholarly wife, Helen, and their daughter, Becky Newell Douglas.

The entire stage area in this great auditorium was filled with approximately 200 instrumentalists and vocalists. This was one of the great musicals of our era.

Bill and Gloria Gaither have written more than 700 popular hymns and gospel songs. Many of their standards appear in the finest hymn books of our day. After decades of musical success, the Gaithers still operate their business of taking music to the nation and world from Bill's hometown of Alexandria, Ind. They continue a lifestyle focused on investing their resources into eternal things.

The 15 special pieces of music at its best were written by Bill and Gloria, both of whom I knew before they were married. When I was a pastor in Decatur, Ill., they appeared many times in our church and city including, Millikin University and Fans Field, where the more than 5,000 people crowded into that stadium will never forget that special night. The first ball thrown out before the start of the game was a duet version with both Gloria and Kitty winding up and "letting her fly."

One of the delightful experiences of the recent celebration was our privilege of meeting Anderson University Junior Seth Skiles, son of Cindy Skiles, owner/operator of Teays Physical Therapy Center. Seth's father is Rick Skiles.

Seth is a graduate of Winfield High School and for two years was the music director of St. John United Methodist Church. He was a member of the distinguished choral group for this tremendous performance. Earlier he had been a student at Marshall University. In his search for further first class instruction in music, he chose the great university that has produced such outstanding musicians as Bill and Gloria Gaither, Sandi Patty, Doug Oldham, Lloyd Larson, Ron and Carolyn Patty, Christa Wells, Russ Hollingsworth, Mandy Bohm and Melissa Pratt.

Dr. Joani Brandon, of the Anderson University faculty, conductor of the sanctuary choir of the internationally known Park Place Church of God, is one of Seth's professors.

We owe it to our young people to offer them an opportunity to study at a school like Anderson University, one of the best in the nation.

Bill Ellis can be reached at P.O. Box 345, Scott Depot, WV 25560; phone 304-757-6089.

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