Squire Parsons to sing at Ironton church

Published 9:22 am Monday, June 27, 2011

A Southern Gospel legend will sing at an Ironton church this weekend.

Southern Gospel Music Association Hall-of-Famer Squire Parsons and the Squire Parsons Trio will sing at 6 p.m. Saturday and again at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at Ironton First Church of the Nazarene.

The son of a music teacher, Parsons said he learned to love gospel music early on in life.

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“It’s the message that has kept me excited and captivated all these years,” Parsons, now 63, said. “When I was a young man I was caught by the rhythm and harmonies and the music more than the message.

“I loved the message but (I loved) being able to perform with gentlemen who knew the music too. I became more interested in the message of the gospel music and really I saw as I dedicated my life to the Lord I saw it gave me a way of being a blessing, putting the message to music.”

Traveling and music ministry have been a way of life for Parsons since he joined the Kingsmen Quartet in 1975. He started a solo ministry four years later.

The traveling may be wearisome at times, but Parsons said he never tires of his visits with the churches.

“The good part is the service and the performance and just being with the people,” Parsons said. “Rather than just a performance, I try to just lead them in worship.”

Parsons has written several well-loved gospel songs throughout his career including “Sweet Beulah Land,” “Master of the Sea,” “I Sing Because,” “He Came To Me,” “Hey Mama,” and “I Go To The Rock.” Other accolades include a Dove award nomination and being named “Favorite Baritone,” “Favorite Gospel Songwriter,” “Favorite Gospel Singer,” and “Favorite Southern Gospel Male Singer” by Singing News magazine.

Parsons said that people relate to his and other Christian music, which is one of the reasons for him for having a large following.

“The thing about Christian music is we write about our experiences,” Parsons said. “We share problems and joys and hopefully they’re able to identify with what you’re saying and singing about. It touches them in the heart as all music does.”

Last fall, Parsons was diagnosed with leukemia while he was in the hospital for a case of pneumonia.

Though it was hardship at the time, Parsons said without the pneumonia doctors would not have caught the cancer as early as they did.

“The doctor said you can thank the Lord from the pneumonia. If not for it we would not have found the leukemia,” he said. “It could have gotten to a worse state. Some of the things we think are the worst in our lives can be a necessary part of our lives to keep us going and we thank the Lord for what we were complaining about.”

Parsons said this weekend’s shows will include some of the older, favorite songs as well as his newer ones and some patriotic songs. Parsons’ son, Sam Parsons as well as gospel singer Charlton Jordan will also perform some group numbers with him.

“We’ll be blessed to have and hour and 15 minutes or an hour and thirty minutes of just the total representation of my ministry and what I’ve tried to do through the years,” Parson said.

Each service is “not just another date,” but rather something about which he and the other singers pray and God for guidance, he said.

“We want to rejoice in the Lord,” Parsons said. “It’s a serious thing but a wonderful time of joy to lead the people in praising the Lord. It will be a beautiful service time and I’m looking forward to it.”

Pastor Robert Hale said his church is looking forward to hosting the gospel singer. Parsons has been a favorite of many people in the area for years, Hale said.

“You always know when he is doing a concert that the Spirit of God blesses the service and all of those present,” Hale said. “We have many friends who have been Christians or may have drifted from where they once were and we’re praying this type of concert will draw them to one of the services and they will be able to recommit or rededicate themselves anew and afresh for God.

“This is not a concert to entertain the Christians, but to be a catalyst for us to invite and draw those in who need a fresh touch from the Lord,” he said.

Ironton First Church of the Nazarene is located at Fourth and Pleasant streets. There is no cost for admission but an offering for Parsons will be taken.