Striking gold at Packard

WARREN – The vocal harmonies soared high into the rafters Monday evening, filling Packard Music Hall with songs of faith and hope.

A crowd of more than 750 gospel music fans were treated to a night to remember, as Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductee Gold City Quartet lit up the historic hall with the group’s signature sound.

The concert also featured The Keelings, a family group from Hadley, Pa., with a strong local following.

Music fans far and wide were drawn to the show, which began just after 7 p.m.

Ashley White, a native of Missouri who is living in the area while her husband works in the oil and gas industry, saw the event as the perfect opportunity to reconnect with her roots.

“I grew up listening to it and I’m trying to raise my four kids the same way,” White said. “I just searched online for gospel concerts in the area, so here I am.”

White has a history with Alabama-based Gold City, having performed in a group during an event with the famous quartet.

“I used to sing gospel and, yes, I performed on the same night as them,” White said.

The group has been among the elite male quartets for 34 years, garnering No. 1 hits in each of the last four decades.

With 10 No. 1 songs over the years, those on hand were treated to some of Gold City’s most popular songs like chart toppers “Peter, James and John,” “He Said” and “In Time, On Time, Everytime.”

While the sounds of her youth rang through the hall, West Farmington resident Leah Winslow tapped her foot with the beat.

Originally from Tennessee, Winslow said she has always been a fan of gospel music.

“Thinking about the Lord makes me feel good,” Winslow said. “I’ve seen these groups before and I like them a lot.”

Seated nearby, Leroy Walker of Niles and his wife Elaine are fans of The Keelings.

“I’m originally from Greenville (Pa.), and that’s just right down the road from Hadley where they’re from,” Leroy Walker said. “It’s very inspiring and it keeps me lively. Gospel is something that I’ve just gotten into over the last few years and I like it quite a bit.”

The Tribune Chronicle sponsored the event in response to requests from readers who attended a similar 2012 show.

Sue Shafer, community events coordinator for the Tribune Chronicle, said the night of gospel music was a great opportunity for the newspaper to show its appreciation to the community.

“The last time we had the gospel show here it was so well received that we had people calling and asking for another concert,” Shafer said. “We’re very happy to be able to bring it back.

“The newspaper is proud to bring a variety of events to our community,” she said.