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Matthews hosting top Christian acts

THE PERRYS: Evansville born lead singer of The Perrys Andrew Goldman does a mic check before a concert on Saturday at Epworth United Methodist Church in Matthews.

BY Lucas Robinson - lrobinson@chronicle-tribune.com

MATTHEWS — Matthews is home to one of the hottest tickets for Christian music in Grant County.

Since June of 2010, Epworth United Methodist Church has been turning its chapel into a top venue for Christian and Gospel music artists from around the country. On Saturday night, the church hosted The Perrys, one of the top national acts for Southern Gospel music.

Damon Moorman, coordinator for the church’s concert series, helped start the venue with the hope of bringing professional worship music to the county.

“We have a lot of elderly people that can’t travel very far, so I wanted to bring that entertainment worship experience closer to home,” Moorman said.

Little by little, the church booked bigger names for the concert series. One year Gordon Mote, a top Christian singer and blind pianist from Nashville, Tenn. performed at the church. With Saturday’s performance by The Perrys, the church can add another national music act to it’s list.

“A lot of people can’t believe how we’re getting these concerts,” Moorman said. “I tell them it’s a God thing, because I don’t know how we pull it off either.”

The Perrys are by no means rookies in the Christian music scene.

The Perrys originally formed in the gold mining town of Dahlonega, Ga. 48 years ago and since then the group has won 19 Singing News Fan awards and had songs top the Billboard Christian music charts. The group has been nominated for several Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, and won best recorded song for “Celebrate Me Home” in 2012.

Their newest album, “Testament,” debuted at number seven on the Itunes chart for Christian Releases. A first single from the album, “Find Me Faithful,” also debuted in the top 10. The group has a second single on the way.

Tragedy has, however, struck the group quite recently.

Founding member Terry Stuffle died last month on Feb. 4 from complications related to a five-year struggle after a stroke. The death left his wife, Libbi Perry Stuffle, as the group’s remaining original member.

Despite the loss, group member and baritone Troy Peach said The Perrys are “still traveling, still performing gospel music.”

Andrew Goldman, the group’s Evansville-born lead singer, joined in 2014. He called his bandmates “some of the greatest people ever.”

“It’s a ministry and my career as well,” he said.

The Perrys opening act was Victoria Marcum of Matthews, who has attended and performed at the church for four years. She noted the remarkable expansion of the concert series in that time.

“The crowd has gotten bigger because we can afford bigger groups and get more people to come,” she said. “It brings community together. Most people who come don’t go to our church.”

Epworth United Methodist Church has numerous upcoming shows in the spring and fall. Soul’D Out Quartet will be performing at the church on Saturday, April 28, and on Friday, June 22, The Ball Brothers will also entertain audiences in Matthews. Doors open for all concerts at 6 p.m. with shows starting at 7 p.m. Admission is $10. The church may be reached for further questions (765) 998-2337.