published Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Song of a Lifetime Experience features gospel greats - June 27


* What: Song of a Lifetime Experience.

* When: 7-11 p.m. today, June 27.

* Where: Temple Baptist Church, 3204 Clio Ave.

* Admission: $15 general seating, $25 Artist Circle.

* Phone: 423-285-8755.

* Website: songofa

Four legendary songwriters will unite tonight, June 27, for the Song of a Lifetime Experience: The Art & Soul of Gospel Music.

Phil Cross, Gerald Crabb, Mark Bishop and Squire Parsons will share their classics and tell the stories behind the songs.

The four performers are responsible for hundreds of songs, including dozens of gospel music's biggest hits, some recorded by other groups, some they made famous. Among them: "I Am Redeemed" (Cross), "Sometimes I Cry" (Crabb), "I Got Here As Fast As I Could" (Bishop) and "Sweet Beulah Land" (Parsons) -- though the list could go on and on.

Cross' testimony may be of particular interest to area residents, judging from his "Why I Write" response on the event website. Born in Ringgold, Ga., and raised in Chattanooga, Cross says he "was the kid made fun of, the outcast and the misfit of Westview Elementary, Tyner Middle School and Tyner High School ... But God had a plan for my life. He used the brokenness of my childhood to inspire me to write songs about a God who is on my side, a God who never gives up on me and a God who has an incredible plan for my life."

His message, he says, is that "God feels this way about everyone." It's been "a lifetime honor," he says, "to share that message through song."

Accompanist for the evening will be singer/songwriter/musician Channing Eleton, a Dove Award nominee who previously played keyboard with Cross' group, Poet Voices, as well as Gold City, before embarking on a solo career.

The four-hour show starts at 7 p.m. at Temple Baptist Church.

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