Mixing music and fellowship

Gospel barbecue planned

A time to be with friends while enjoying lunch and listening to the sounds of a gospel trio can make for a relaxing and fun Sunday afternoon.

JD Promotions LLC is making that idea possible when it presents Sunday Gospel Barbecue at 1 p.m. July 22 at The Casino at Lakemont Park. It will feature a concert by New Journey after a meal of barbecued ribs and chicken, along with picnic sides and apple pie.

Jim Daski, owner and operator of JD Promotions LLC, said the idea is for Christians to carve out some time to enjoy each other’s company in today’s busy world. He said it provides fellowship after services and an opportunity for groups, such as Sunday school classes or choirs, to get together beyond the constraints of a Sunday routine.

With group tables available, Daski said churches with few members could consider the event as an alternative to a church picnic.

“It’s a time to sit back and enjoy an afternoon of good food and the kind of music they enjoy,” Daski said.

The cost is $22 per person and $15 per child age 10 and younger. A full table for 10 people is $200.

The deadline to purchase tickets is July 20, and tickets are available at Thompson’s Pharmacies in Altoona and Hollidaysburg, Music Emporium, The Casino and True Value Department Store in Roaring Spring. For full table reservations, call 944-2435.

New Journey, a popular female trio in the area, has been together for five years and is the opening group for the popular Southern Gospel concerts held at Calvary Baptist Church in Altoona.

It is composed of Kelli Shaw Moore of Roaring Spring and sisters Michelle Eutsey Tantlinger of Ligonier and Missie Eutsey Tressler of Mount Pleasant.

Moore said the group is known for its progressive style of Southern Gospel music, which is more contemporary than the country sound associated with the genre.

The trio sings original songs as well as music introduced by The Collingsworth Family, The Talleys and Greater Vision. But even then, Moore said the group will tweak the arrangement to make it their own. Samples of their style can be viewed on YouTube as well as the New Journey website.

For the concert at The Casino, the women do not have a set repertoire, because what they sing “is often based on the situation and what the Lord tells us in our hearts to sing,” Moore said.

But there will be humor as well as a message.

“We share personal stories of different situations that God brought us through,” Moore said.

She added that they want to minister to others during the hourlong concert.

Indeed, their efforts have been noticed statewide. New Journey is the recipient of the 2017 Keystone Award from the Pennsylvania Southern Gospel Music Association. The honor was personally presented by Paul Heil, host of the Gospel Greats radio program.

Moore said she and Tantlinger and Tressler “were very excited and very thankful” to receive the award which is given in recognition of people who are making a difference in ministry in the state.

New Journey sings at 35 to 40 venues a year throughout Pennsylvania and neighboring states. This year’s schedule even includes a performance of the national anthem and “God Bless America” at the 7 p.m. Curve game on July 27.

In addition to live performances, the women have produced three CDs and are planning a fourth one featuring hymns.

“People like them,” Moore explained about devoting a project to music that is often replaced by more contemporary worship music.

Getting together in the studio or on stage is a natural for the women who have known each other since childhood. At that time, their paths would cross when the Eutsey sisters performed with their family group, The Gospel Rays. Tressler, who began singing at age 5, became part of the group at age 9, and Tantlinger began playing piano for The Gospel Rays at age 11.

Moore tagged along with The Master’s Trio. Her father was part of the group and, since age 3, Moore often sang a song at the trio’s performances.

“We ended up at a lot of the same places growing up and became friends,” Moore said.

As adults, Moore pursued a solo career and sang with LordSong, a trio that opened for Gold City and comedian Mark Lowry. During her 2¢ years with the group, it was nominated for a Dove Award.

The sisters continued to perform with The Gospel Rays, but all three women eventually came off the road.

Together since 2013, Moore said she reached out to her friends to sing at a church function, and “it all came together.”

She said it a blessing to share their talent.

“Many people have talent but don’t get opportunity,” she said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity.”