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Christmas magic comes to Matthews

RISING MELODIES:(From left) Thomas Nalley, Scott Brand, Chris West and Tom Riley end their set of the night with a foot-stomping piece.

BY Abigail Roberts - ctreport@indy.rr.com

MATTHEWS — Award-winning Christian music artists Michael English and Gold City brought the magic of Christmas through song to Epworth United Methodist Church on Thursday evening.

“We’ll no doubt experience the magic tonight,” Debbie Taylor said prior to the event. “We’ve always been a fan of English ... we’re looking forward to celebrating Christmas with this group.”

Both English and Gold City have played together many times before, but this is their first Christmas concert performing together.

With 60 Singing News Fan awards and places in both the Gospel Music and Alabama Hall of Fame, Gold City has 10 number one singles, many of which they performed last night. On the road for 38 years, Gold city’s members have come and gone, but the heart of the group has remained the same.

“We’re so tickled they have them here tonight,” Peggy King said. “I live in Anderson, but grew up right down the street, used to sit on that bench right over there ... we love them [Gold City], they’re my husband’s favorite, he’s a singer.”

Daniel Riley, son of Tim Riley, carries on his father’s legacy as Gold City’s current manager and baritone singer and is joined on stage by tenor Thomas Nalley, lead singer Scott Brand, bass singer Chris West and pianist GW Southard.

Gold City’s 2018 record titled “Hope of the Journey,” explores the hope Christians have in Jesus. Gold City performed their hit song, “All my Hope,” from the album to a crowd of over 100 mostly elderly attendees.

With hands in the air, feet stomping the ground and hands clapping along to the music, the audience quickly joined in Gold City’s soulful gospel ballads. Attendees came from the local community, Anderson, and beyond.

“I’ve been working with this church for a long time,” community member Danna Gross said. “They come from everywhere for our concerts. One lady from Columbia City, people even come all the way from Ohio.”

Michael English, award-winning Christian singer took center stage in the second set of the night.

“English is an icon,” Riley said. “He’s one of those people who, through the years, has influenced a lot of people, including me ... He’s had a big impact on my singing.”

“He’s the Elvis of Gospel music,” West said.

Fans of English and Gold City packed the pews of Epworth United Methodist’s small sanctuary for the hour and a half show. They joined English and Gold City as the evening ended in signing a resounding rendition of Christmas classics.

“We haven’t practiced with English ahead of time for those,” Riley said. “The best ones are always of the cuff.”

Epworth United Methodist’s upcoming spring concerts feature more award-winning artists from across the United States.