Paul Belcher presents Southern Gospel Saturday, March 3 at 6:30pm


Promoter Paul Belcher was 17 when he booked his first gospel show in Detroit featuring The Hopper Brothers.

Over the four decades that have passed since, ticket prices have risen from $2 to $25. Auditorium rentals have jumped from $300 to as much as $12,000, while concerts declined from about 50 dates a year to maybe a dozen.

But that hasn’t deterred Belcher. He’s promoted gospel singings everywhere from Little Rock, Ark., to Louisiana; South Bend, Ind., to Wichita, Kan.; Fort Worth, Texas to right here in Tennessee.

His unflagging efforts to promote Southern gospel music were recently recognized by the Southern Gospel Promoters Association when the organization named Belcher its Promoter of the Year.

Belcher will celebrate 45 years in the business by presenting “The Battle of Songs” on Saturday night, March 3, in Memorial Auditorium. The gospel concert will include a preshow performance by Exodus before The McKameys, Karen Peck and New River, Primitive Quartet and Heirline take the stage.

The McKameys are a family group from Clinton, Tenn., entering their sixth decade of gospel singing. The group has won numerous Singing News Fan Awards, and in 2016, Peg McKamey Bean was inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

Karen Peck and New River received a Grammy nomination in the Best Roots Gospel Album category for “Hope for All Nations.” The six-time Dove Award-winning Southern gospel Group has had 18 No. 1 hits.

Heirline is the family quartet of Ernie and Linda Dawson and their sons, Eric and Landon. Ernie Dawson writes many of the songs the family sings, including their first Top 10 single, “Jesus Has Conquered the Grave.”

Primitive Quartet has been singing gospel more than 40 years. The quartet formed after singing around a campfire during a fishing trip when they realized they had a natural four-part harmony between them. The quartet’s music includes shapenote singing accompanied by mandolin, banjo, fiddle, guitars and acoustic bass.

Exodus originated in Gadsden, Ala., when several of the members sang together on Easter 2011. The performance got such a positive response that Exodus was formed less than a year later.













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