Fan Fests bring spirited music to Visalia

Three-day Southern Gospel music festival features inspiring talks, fellowship, and music of faith

@TheSunGazette

VISALIA—Some musicians are spirited and some have faith in their music, but most of today’s pop culture lacks music of spirit and faith. There will be plenty of uplifting music inspired by faith this weekend when the Great Western Fan Festival returns to Visalia. 

Fans of Southern Gospel music will enjoy this three-day festival at the Visalia Convention Center featuring inspiring talks, opportunities for fellowship and some of the most well known names in gospel music. Fan festival favorites The Booth Brothers, Signature Sound, The Hoppers, Triumphant Quartet, and Liberty Quartet will be joined by the Tribute Quartet, The Herb Henry Family, and The Lighthouse Boys. 

The Lighthouse Boys are progenitors of “The Bakersfield Sound”. The group began in 1974 by brothers Mark and Bill Underwood and Bill’s brother in-law Steve Johnson in Bakersfield. The Lighthouse Boys have long been pioneers in Gospel Music on the West Coast of the U.S. From their original songs and their own production on classic Southern Gospel songs, to their unwavering commitment to preach Salvation through Jesus Christ everywhere they go. The Lighthouse Boys have won the hearts of many fans across the United States, but their ultimate desire is to minister to the lost, the heartbroken.

Since 1974, The Lighthouse Boys have been touring up and down the west coast and parts of the United States of America, performing concerts in large and small churches, concert halls, school auditoriums, theaters, convention centers and arenas. They have made appearances at some of Southern Gospel’s more popular events. They have been seen and read about in several major Southern Gospel and secular media publications as well as making several regional TV appearances and interviews on regional Radio stations in the United States. They have released several albums of their own and made appearances on many other recordings over the years. In 1980 they won the Californian’s Choice Award for Best Band and have been nominated for other awards.

Although members have changed over the years, still The Lighthouse Boys always strive to maintain their unique sound. They have accomplished many things, yet today their focus is still found in their ministry; seeing souls saved, people delivered and healed.

Ernie Haase has built Signature Sound into one of the most popular and beloved quartets and it continues to gain fans all around the globe with its unique performances and unmistakable four-part harmonies. EHSS is both Grammy-nominated and GMA Dove Award-winning, a radio favorite in the United States and internationally, and a leader in CD sales and long form music video sales–with several RIAA-certified Gold and Platinum DVDs.

Multi-award wining group The Hoppers have been singing to global audiences for more than 60 years at venues ranging from churches to Carnegie Hall. Known as America’s Favorite Family of Gospel Music, the current composition of the group includes family Claude and Connie Hopper, their sons Mike and Dean as well as Dean’s wife Kim.  

The smooth harmonies, and rich quartet sound quickly gained Triumphant Quartet national attention, recognition and concert demand. That popularity promoted the group in 2008, from singing daily at the theater, to touring nationally and performing in major concert venues, auditoriums and churches. It has also voted them the Fan Favorite Quartet in the Gospel Music field for the last several years, and each group member also being nominated for and receiving various awards.

From Nashville, Tenn. comes an exciting new group called Tribute Quartet. Combining energy, talent, and enthusiasm for their craft with their calling and desire to minister to others, the current members of Tribute Quartet have established themselves as a premier musical entity in the gospel arena. 

The Great Western Fan Festival will return for its 19th consecutive year to the Visalia Convention Center May 2-4. Doors open at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 2, and at noon on Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4. Performances end by 10 p.m. each night. Tickets range from $17 to $130 and can be purchased by calling 800-965-9324 or at www.itickets.com. 

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