By Belinda Paschal
August 4, 2014
TROY — A history of gospel music concert by Rum River Blend will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 10 at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center 301 W. Main
St. This is the final activity in Hayner’s community centennial celebration following
the street festival the day before.
The concert is free and open to the public and will be held on the front lawn, weather permitting. The Hayner Ballroom is the rain location. While some seating will be available, guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. The Hayner mansion will also be open for self-guided tours of the house.
Rum River Blend is a widely known bluegrass ensemble comprised of Chris and Linda Tatarian (vocals, banjo, harmonica, guitar), Bill Benning on bass and 92-year-old fiddler Carl Phillis. Phillis has been playing for over 80 years and was chosen as the 1948 Ohio Fiddling Champion.
Generally billing themselves as “unprofessional entertainment,” they are anything but. Their lively arrangements of traditional bluegrass and American folk music have a strong following in Miami County.
The gospel concert was created as a bicentennial project for the Mayor of Troy’s prayer gathering. Linda Tatarian set about doing the research and discovered that one of the earliest songs to be considered gospel within the past 200 years was was “The Star-Spangled Banner,” written in 1814. Most Americans the first stanza, but there are several others. It was the lyrics of the fourth verse that earned the song a place in early American hymnals.
Tatarian’s research on the evolution of American gospel music unearthed treasures from the 1826 hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy” to more modern renditions of old time favorites. Her research uncovered a book titled “Then Sings My Soul; 150 of the World’s Greatest Hymn Stories” by Robert J. Morgan. In addition to performing the hymns, the performers will give brief histories or interesting stories that relate to the composition of the songs.
Many of the songs being performed will be familiar to folks raised in the gospel tradition and the concert concludes with a community sing along.
Find more information at www.troyhayner.org about this and all of Hayner’s centennial activities.