The Bibletones Quartet will celebrate their 58th anniversary at 7 tonight at Handsboro Baptist Church, 1421 East Pass Road, Gulfport.
Rev. Joey Bennett, pastor of Handsboro Baptist Church, invites the public for an evening of gospel music and fellowship. There is no admission charge; a love offering will be received.
Members of the Bibletones are Mark Lanier, lead; Danny Jackson, tenor; Jack Armstrong, baritone; Glen Floyd, bass; Andrew Ishee, pianist, Ken Keyes, bass guitarist; and part-time singers Howard Rutland and Brent Warr.
The Bibletones were organized in 1957 in Lumberton by Ward Hurt. The group remained in Lumberton until 1984. Howard Rutland assumed management of the group and moved it to Gulfport, where it has been based since. The Bibletones began an annual Bibletones Homecoming Sing in Lumberton in 1971. The event started at the Lumberton High School football field, and annual turnout was as much as 4,500. In 1994, Rutland brought the program to the Mississippi Coast Coliseum, where more than 5,000 people turned out for the Southern gospel concert. That Bibletones Homecoming Sing was sponsored by Harrison County Sheriff Joe Price, and it has continued to be sponsored by different Harrison County sheriffs, with proceeds benefiting the Good News Jail Ministry.
There have been about 80 different members of the Bibletones since its beginning. They have recorded more than 400 recordings and several DVDs.
In 2013, Gov. Phil Bryant proclaimed Rutland as Mr. Southern Gospel Music of Mississippi.