Promise Trio disbands

Promise Trio announced yesterday that they are disbanding. Baritone Matt Baker will be embarking on a solo ministry; tenor T.J. Evans will be joining Jake Sammons and Kasey Kemp in the trio Declaration.

The group finds its roots in May 2010, when tenor Jacob Kitson, lead singer Joe Kitson, and baritone singer Jon Epley founded Statement of Faith. Later in 2010, Jon Epley left to join The Inspirations. In December 2010, he was replaced by David Mann. In May 2011, Jacob Kitson came off the road, and the name Statement of Faith retired with him. David Mann announced that he would carry the group forward with a new name, Promise. David Mann left earlier this year to rejoin the Blackwood Quartet, the group he was part of before joining Statement of Faith. T.J. Evans carried the group forward for several more months before this announcement.

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Saturday News Roundup #171

Worth Knowing

  • Congratulations to my younger brother (and occasional SouthernGospelBlog.com contributor) Michael on his homeschool high school graduation this afternoon!
  • When the Gaither Vocal Band released their most recent mainline, Pure and Simple, there was some discussion over the fact that they had recorded several tracks listed in early listings that didn’t make the final cut. Two of these tracks, “On the Road to Emmaus” and a showstopping acapella rendition of “One Voice,” are now available in a Walmart-exclusive edition of Best of Homecoming 2013 (retailing for $10). The CD is available elsewhere, but without the two exclusive tracks.

Worth Watching

About a month ago, we embedded a video of the Collingsworth Family rehearsing “Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary” for their upcoming hymns album. Here’s a video of them doing it live in concert:

Talk about a moment that reminds you why we love Southern Gospel!

Also, here’s one of our first glimpses of David Mann’s Promise Trio with new baritone singer Matt Baker:

Worth Discussing

It’s open thread Saturday—you decide!

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Promise hires Matt Baker

This morning, David Mann’s trio Promise announced that they have found a new baritone and piano player, Matt Baker. Current baritone David Mann will move to lead, and current lead singer T.J. Evans will move to tenor.

Matt is married to Ashley Baker; they have one daughter, Bella, and another child on the way. 

David Mann commented: “When Matt first stepped on stage with us, something clicked. His pleasing voice and great personality make him a joy to have with us. And we found out that he’s not a bad piano player either!”

T.J. Evans added: “We’re gaining both a great singer and a good friend in Matt.  We’ve gotten to know him well over the last few months. He’ll bring a lot to our concert experience, and we’re very excited to see what the future holds.”

Matt is frequently seen online joining in the discussions on Southern Gospel news websites, including this one. So, Matt, congratulations on moving to the other side of the microphone!

Left to Right: T.J. Evans, David Mann, Matt Baker

Left to Right: T.J. Evans, David Mann, Matt Baker

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Saturday News Roundup #146

Worth Knowing

  • Terry Toney has resigned from the Blackwood Quartet. In an open letter posted on the Blackwood Quartet website, he stated: “Hello friends. After wrestling with this for a while, I have resigned my position as bass singer for The Blackwood Quartet to pursue some other interests. Mark and the guys have been an absolute joy to work with and I love each of them. I have had more fun traveling with them than I ever thought possible. I ask that ya’ll continue with me in supporting The Blackwood Quartet. I wish them nothing but the best and continued success. I traveled and sang gospel music for 40 years. There have been good days, bad days and some that were not worth getting up for. Laughter and tears, mountain tops and valleys, joy and heartaches. I have made many friends along the way and I cherish each of you. You cannot do something that long and not miss it. I am sure I will. It’s been a great ride.” He joined the group in October 2011, in a move billed as the Toney Brothers and Blackwood Quartet merging.
  • David Mann’s Promise has signed a booking agreement with April Potter Holleman’s Creative Visision Entertainment. Co-owner T.J. Evans, who recently moved to tenor when David Mann moved to lead, states: “April’s enthusiasm and experience is exactly what we need at this point in our ministry. I feel confident that Promise is in good hands.”

Worth Watching

Videos have surfaced of Ian Owens with Soul’d Out (hat tip, Aaron):

Worth Discussing

It’s open thread Saturday—you decide!

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Promise hires Michael Helwig

Promise Trio has announced that their new tenor singer is Michael Helwig. Helwig has been a member of several of Southern Gospel’s most prominent groups, including the Stamps Quartet and, most recently, the Dixie Echoes. Shortly after he joined the Dixie Echoes, we featured an interview with him here.

David Mann founded Promise one year ago. Their debut CD, a table project produced by Gerald Wolfe, earned the group some early acclaim. (We reviewed it here.) Promise is currently selecting songs for their second recording.

 

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James Bell leaves Promise Trio

James & Charity Bell

James & Charity Bell

Promise Trio announced this evening that their tenor, James Bell, has left to join the U.S. Army. He flew out for basic training on Sunday. Baritone and manager David Mann stated, “When Promise was launched back in July, we were most fortunate to have our tenor singer, James Bell, available during those important, beginning stages of our ministry. The 3 of us have been friends for almost 10 years and that friendship has made the last 4 months an easy ride. … We want to thank him for his time here and wish him the best as he serves our country.”

Tenors interested in auditioning can contact davidmannmusic@gmail.com.

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Saturday News Roundup #82

Bus News

  • Beyond the Ashes tenor/manager posted the picture on the right on his Facebook early this morning, with the following caption: “God woke us up at 2:45 this morning and got us all out safely. Thankful for God’s protection.”
  • Kelly Nelon Clark posted earlier this week (Facebook login required) that the transmission went out on their bus, to the tune of $13,000. They are offering a limited-time $30 “Family & Friends Special,” here, to help cover expenses.
  • It has been a rough month on Southern Gospel buses, and the groups which try to keep one running! Five major bills have hit within the last month. Besides the two above, Jeff & Sheri Easter were in an accident with a drunk driver, the Ball Brothers had a $20,000 repair bill, and the Crist Family had a $22,800 bill

Other News

  • Triumphant Quartet will be releasing a project at NQC, From the Heart, that features two songs written by each member of the group. It’s a unique and intriguing concept.
  • This is Wesley Smith’s first weekend back with Palmetto State. Meanwhile, former Dixie Echoes tenor Gerry Stroup is filling in again until they can find a permanent replacement.
  • I am planning to catch one of Cody McVey’s first performances with the Ball Brothers on Tuesday. The Ball Brothers will be at Trinity Baptist Church in Asheville, NC at 6 P.M. (details here).
  • Front Porch Singin’ debuts in the Southern Gospel blogosphere with an important reminder to follow the law by paying song royalties.
  • Congratulations to Chris Allman’s son Dustin Allman. While Greater Vision was on their Alaska cruise, he proposed to his girlfriend, Amanda, and she said yes!

Video of the Week

Here’s our first look at David Mann’s new group, Promise. Mann takes the feature on a Greater Vision oldie originally featuring Mark Trammell, “He is Mine”—and owns it:

Toward the end of the second verse, his voice bears a striking resemblance to a young Gerald Wolfe.

Open Thread

As always, consider the comments section an open thread. Have a great weekend!

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Jacob Kitson to enter local church ministry

Last week, David Mann and Joe Kitson announced the launch of Promise Trio and promised that their brother/brother-in-law Jacob Kitson would be announcing his future plans shortly. Jacob has posted his plans on his site; he has been offered a position at Liberty Baptist Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is taking the next few weeks off to focus on his “own spiritual and physical well-being.”

While that hints at some level of exhaustion, he indicated that he has “loved every minute and every note of my involvement in full-time music ministry.” He extended thanks to Tribute Quartet, Greater Vision, and his fellow members of Statement Faith, adding that “an extra special dose of gratitude is due to my home, Faith Baptist Church, for all their support and fellowship.” He concluded:

My brother-in-law, David Mann has taken up the yoke of our music ministry, and promises to continue the vision with his new group. They will continue to fill the commitments of Statement Of Faith Trio as Promise. You can follow them at Promisetrio.com. Thanks again for your many prayers. If you wish to keep up with me you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and at www.statementoffaithministries.com

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Statement of Faith members form Promise Trio

Statement of Faith members Joe Kitson (lead singer) and his brother-in-law David Mann (baritone) are reorganizing as the Promise Trio, effective immediately. They will be filling Statement of Faith’s dates.

David’s wife Jael Kitson-Mann will fill in at tenor/alto; in June, T.J. Evans of Merrillville, Indiana will join as the permanent tenor.

In a press release posted on Singing News, Mann and Kitson commented:

David Mann says, “The only thing as certain as salvation, is change. Although we don’t always anticipate change, we have to believe that God always knows what’s best for us.”

“We are really excited about our fresh start as Promise”, says Joe Kitson. “We believe God is going to use this change to open new doors of opportunity for us, and we’re ready for whatever His plans are.”

Promise Trio is on Facebook and will soon launch a website (www.promisetrio.com).

Tenor Jacob Kitson’s plans will be announced separately.

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