Larnelle Harris to share vocal prowess Sunday at First Baptist Church

Published 6:37 pm Thursday, September 6, 2018

Larnelle Harris, a multi-award winning gospel/Christian music singer and best-selling author, will perform at 4 p.m. Sunday at Washington’s First Baptist Church.

There is free general admission to the concert is, but a limited number of VIP tickets are available at $35 each. A VIP ticket includes reserved seating and private reception with Harris after the concert. VIP tickets may be purchased by calling the church office at 946-8074.

Harris has been performing for five decades. Some of his No. 1 and Top 10 songs on the radio include “How Excellent Is Thy Name,” “I Miss My Time With You,” “I’ve Just Seen Jesus,” plus many others, including his signature song, “Amen.” He was the first Christian artist to perform inside the Kremlin after the fall of the Soviet Union, according to his website.

Greg Barmer, the church’s senior pastor and former minister of music, approached Harris about performing at the church. “I’ve known him or known of him for 40 years or more,” Barmer said.
Harris, who along with Christine Schaub wrote “Shaped Notes: How Ordinary People with Extraordinary Gifts Influenced My Life and Career,” is a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Amateur Radio Hall of Fame. No other person has that distinction. He has five Grammy Awards, 11 Dove Awards (three for Male Vocalist of the Year) and a Stellar Award for Best Solo Performance, among many other musical honors. He was twice inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, as a solo artist and as part of the Gaither Vocal Band.

Harris said writing the book became a way thank all the people who helped him begin and sustain his career over the years. “They told me I could be something, that I could change the world,” he said.

“I’ve been singing for almost 50 years. I’ve got a few things, a few songs to choose from. It will be a fun time. It will be a worship time,” Harris said. “I’ve recorded a bunch of stuff over the years. I try never to record anything that isn’t sound from a scriptural point of view or songs that I cannot get into my own DNA.”

Renowned gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, among others, is one of Harris’ musical influences. While a voice major in college, Harris said he performed various styles, from musicals to the classics. While growing up in Danville, Kentucky, is piano teacher taught him “many of the great hymns,” Harris said.

Harris believes those who attend the performance will appreciate the way he uses his vocal talents to spread the Gospel.

“I sing, and the audience does participate. I’m not there to do anything, except understand when the night is over each of us has the opportunity to put ourselves in a place where God can do his work in our hearts and in our lives,” Harris said. “They will respond. You know why? Because I will respond. I’m excited about the songs, but that’s not the end of the story. I’m excited about the Lord that they are about.”

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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