HILLSDALE – A local band organized almost 20 years ago entertained a crowd for the last concert on Tuesday which was moved to the Gospel Barn due to the expected heat and humidity.
After JoAnn Miller’s brief speech on the St. Joe’s River, the trio of Cory Champion, Dan Hefner and Norm Keesler brought a variety of music to the air-conditioned venue.
As a concert organizer, Champion said they were first “reunited” with Ed Miller on lead guitar for a community dinner at South Litchfield Baptist Church.
“We didn’t have a name yet and when the organizer asked us, we just said not to call each other late for dinner,” Champion said. “That’s how she introduced us, ‘Late for dinner.'”
They later agreed to “In Accord”, referring to Acts 2: 1 and other parts that refer to gathering in prayer, teaching, and worship.
Primarily, they sing folk gospel, country gospel, and hymns, but as Ms. Stock’s park committee was planning the memorial service last year for Sally Fallon and discussing the types of music she liked, Champion said. that “In Accord” could provide that.
“We had to learn or relearn some songs, but it was great because sometimes when we rehearse we talk and visit more than we sing,” said Champion.
Quincy band member Norm Keesler has been a member of the Gospel Barn Band since the late 1970s, and is a member of the worship team at Lockwood Community Church in Coldwater.
Dan Hefner lives in Coldwater, is the worship director at Lockwood Community Church and is looking forward to retirement to spend more quality time with his adult children and grandchildren.
Champion grew up in Reading, now resides in Hillsdale, teaches at Bronson Community Schools, leads worship at Cambria Baptist Church and has been a member of the Gospel Barn Band since 1986.
Most recently, they have performed at the Maples Campground in Moscow and at a retirement and assisted living facility in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
“We have also performed for Evelyn’s Excursions in Holiday City, Ohio for their travel parties, and at various churches over the years,” said Champion.
On Tuesday, they brought a combination of songs ranging from John Denver to the Everly Brothers and Peter, Paul and Mary to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. A few of Keesler’s originals like “Daddy’s Traveling Music” and “Our Legacy” have been shared.
Champion added that their availability to respond to requests for representation is limited to those of Keesler and his responsibilities at The Gospel Barn, and the responsibilities of all three as members or leaders of worship teams in their churches.
“It doesn’t matter how long it’s been last time we played,” said Champion. “We’re having fun again!”
Champion added that he looks forward to the 2022 concert season which will bring together bands like Dixieland Band, Midnight Stew, Town and Country Chorus and Bel Canto Singers, among others.