Singing Ministry The Whisnants to Headline Buggy Festival Entertainment Lineup
Over the years, many Southern gospel groups have come and gone. But there is one group that has stood the test of time - The Whisnants.
Since 1970, this Morganton, N.C.-based group has been singing and ministering through song across the United States and Canada.
On Saturday, May 8, the Whisnants will bring their singing ministry to Moore County as they headline the 22nd annual Carthage Buggy Festival's entertainment lineup.
The Whisnants are set to -perform at 11 a.m. and will return to delight festival-goers again at 3 p.m.
A much-traveled and popular group, The Whisnants are -dedicated to promoting the -saving message of Jesus Christ through Southern gospel music.
"We placed our ministry in God's hands 39 years ago, and have watched him do -miraculous things," says Jeff Whisnant, the only original member traveling today. "There is no doubt in my mind that God has his hand on this ministry."
The group's current lineup includes Jeff and his wife, Susan Whisnant, Aaron Hise, Eric Ollis and the Whisnant's sons, Austin and Ethan. The Whisnants' sound is one that has fans, promoters and churches raving.
With 10 No. 1 songs and numerous Top 20s, the group continues to see God's handiwork through their ministry. Their song "What You Took From Me" was Singing News Chart Song of the Year for 2003. In 2004, fans of Southern gospel music again awarded The Whisnants Song of the Year for their message of encouragement, "Even in the Valley."
The Whisnants have been nominated for Trio of the Year six times and have received numerous individual nominations, including Favorite Young Artist, Favorite Female Singer and Favorite Alto.
For years, The Whisnants have been a mainstay of the National Quartet Convention, appearing 15 times. On several occasions, they appeared on the Gospel Music Southern Style Program (INSP Network). They also participated in the February 2007 Gaither -videotaping in Nashville, Tenn., and have performed in both Hawaii and Canada.
In addition to singing the -baritone part for The Whisnants, Jeff Whisnant -manages the group, performing the day-to-day tasks of keeping the ministry on the road.
"I have asked God to allow us to be the very best that we can be so that he can use this -ministry to touch people's lives," says Whisnant. "He has done just that."
Jeff's wife, Susan Whisnant, has been singing with the group for more than 24 years. Her beautiful alto voice and her heart for ministry are clearly evident in her performance. Southern gospel music fans love her and once you hear her, you'll understand why.
Lead vocalist Aaron Hise has been singing with The Whisnants since 2001. Originally from DeMotte, Ind., Hise has many years of full-time singing experience. The combination of his beautiful tenor voice and his spirit adds much to The Whisnants' -ministry.
Eric Ollis' career in Southern gospel music began more than 20 years ago. Following a 15-year venture with the Dixie Melody Boys, Eric joined The Whisnants as the group's pianist/keyboardist. Six years later, Ollis continues to bring his skill, energy and a touch of comedy to the stage.
Although he has traveled on the bus all his life, Austin Whisnant is the newest member to join The Whisnants on stage. In January 2009, after much prayer and practice, Austin became the group's bass player.
While he loves playing bass guitar, Austin feels blessed to be able to sing as well. At only 15 years old, his love for Southern gospel music has been an -inspiration to all.
Ethan is the youngest of the Whisnant family. At 12 years old, he brings much excitement and laughter to everyday life on the road. Ethan loves to sing and travel with his family.
Austin and Ethan have teamed up for a new project, "Forever Brothers." This CD includes a collection of their favorite music, including "Brothers Forever " "Working For My Good," "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms," "What Children Believe," "Don't It Make You Want to Go," I'll Fly Away," "Where the Soul Never Dies" and more.
As those attending the Carthage Buggy Festival will discover, The Whisnants' goal is that the message of their music will be clear and will point -people to the cross of Christ.
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