PLAINVIEW - Christian vocalist Marvin Matthews will return to his alma mater on Saturday, Sept. 20 to headline the Gospel Sing-spiration, a Gaither-inspired evening of music featuring area singers, hosted by Wayland Baptist University. Another WBU alum and recording artist, Keith Longbotham, is expected to appear as well.
The event, sponsored by Wayland's Alpha Psi Omega theatre service fraternity, will be held at 7:30 p.m. in Harral Memorial Auditorium on the Plainview campus. Tickets will be $10 per person and concessions will be available at intermission.
Saturday's performance will feature Matthews presenting his soulful style of gospel music, backed by a mass choir of singers from throughout West Texas. Since graduating from Wayland in 1978, Matthews has ministered all over America, toured Korea, and led Christian workers in praise and worship at various conferences.
Matthews is no stranger to the Gaither music tradition, having been featured on two videos in Bill and Gloria Gaither's Homecoming series, "So Glad" and "Sweet, Sweet Spirit." Matthews has also performed at the Olympics in Barcelona, Spain; Atlanta; and Sydney, Australia. He has sung on television programs on TNN, TBN, CBN and BET, and makes regular chapel appearances at Wayland.
A 1975 graduate of Wayland, Longbotham is a native of Plainview. He entered full-time music evangelism in 1980, and has since performed across the country. In 1982 Longbotham was selected to perform with "Country Grass," a bluegrass group at Opryland USA in Nashville, Tenn. While at Opryland, he performed on numerous local television shows, The Nashville Network and appeared many times on the world famous Grand Old Opry. He currently performs every Tuesday and Friday night at the Opryland KOA Campground Theatre from April through October. He also performs at several resorts in the western USA during the winter months.
Other vocalists to be featured during the program include Amy and Travis Thornton of Plainview and Summit Trace - a gospel quartet of Wayland music students. Robert Black, assistant professor of music at Wayland, will accompany the event on the piano.
Spaces remain open for the mass choir, which will be backing up many of the feature soloists. Anyone interested in singing is welcome to come. A children's choir is also open to young people wanting to sing for the event. Those interested in singing in the choirs may contact Tisa Whitfill before the concert at 291-1080. A rehearsal for the choir will be held Thursday, Sept. 18, at 6 p.m. in the auditorium.
Funds raised from the event will help fund a trip to New York City for Wayland theatre students, planned for Dec. 29 - Jan. 2, 2004. The group will see a variety of shows and other New York attractions and will watch the ball drop on New Year's Eve in Times Square. The trip is open to the public and will cost around $1,200. The deadline to make a $100 deposit is Oct. 6. Another $700 will be due on Nov. 3, with the balance due before the trip. The exact cost will be announced in October after the number of travelers is determined. For more information on the trip or to make a reservation, contact Whitfill at 291-1080.