For 45 years, the Bibletones quartet has been sharing gospel music with South Mississippi and the rest of the world.
The quartet’s 45th Annual Homecoming will be held at 6 p.m. June 24 at the Lyman Community Center, 13472 U.S. 49, Gulfport. The concert is free, and a freewill offering will be received.
In addition to the Bibletones, the event will feature The Dixie Echoes, The Original Florida Boys, The Diamonds and special guest Trent Lott, who will be singing in a newly formed quartet.
Members of the Bibletones are Glen Floyd, bass; Jack Armstrong, baritone; Chris Bryant, lead; Danny Jackson, tenor; Andrew Ishee, pianist; Ken Keyes, bass guitarist. Howard Rutland, former member, was proclaimed Mr. Southern Gospel Music of Mississippi by Gov. Phil Bryant in 2013.
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The Bibletones were organized in 1957 in Lumberton by Ward Hurt. The group remained in Lumberton until 1984. 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 (currently Sheriff Troy Peterson), 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.
Members of The Original Florida Boys are Les Beasley, Darrel Stewart and Glen Alred, along with Buddy Liles and Tommy Atwood.
The Florida Boys, a male quartet, officially started in 1947 under the name Gospel Melody Quartet, with J.G. Whitfield as the head. Their national television appearances include “The Today Show,” “TNN’s Prime Time Country,” “Crooke & Chase,” “Gaither Homecoming Videos” and their own “Gospel Singing Jubilee,” which they hosted for several years.
Original Florida Boys members Les Beasley, Glen Allred and Derrell Stewart retired in 2007. Buddy Liles and Tommy Atwood, longtime members of the group, retired several years earlier. Although retired from The Florida Boys Quartet, they have reunited on a few occasions to perform, including the upcoming Homecoming.
Lott, a former U.S. representative and senator, lives in Pascagoula. During his time as senator, he was one of the Singing Senators who gained some attention with their version of the Oak Ridge Boys’ “Elvira.” Lott sings bass.
If you go
What: The Bibletones’ Quartet’s 45th Annual Homecoming.
When: 6 p.m. June 24; doors open at 5 p.m., and organizers suggest arriving early.
Where: Lyman Community Center, 13472 U.S. 49, Gulfport.
Cost: Free; a freewill offering will be received.
Details: 228-284-2306 or 228-326-6107