News Column

Ivan Parker returns for Gospel Sing fundraiser

July 10, 2014

By Charity Apple, Times-News, Burlington, N.C.



July 10--Ivan Parker hopes those who attend Saturday's gospel music concert at the Paramount Theater in Burlington "will leave differently than the way they came."

"They may come in that night feeling burdened and discouraged, but we hope this concert and our message will give them the strength and the courage to press on," Parker said in a phone interview from his Mount Juliet, Tenn., home on Tuesday morning.

Ivan Parker, an award-winning gospel artist, will be joined by The Harvesters and Jubilation during the Women's Division of the Alamance County Chamber of Commerce's Gospel Sing at 6:30 p.m.; the show is a fundraiser for the group's scholarships and community projects.

The concert will give Ivan and his older brother, Danny Parker, a longtime member of The Harvesters, one of those rare chances to share the stage together.

"I'm always excited to be able to see family on the road," Ivan said.

Ivan is the youngest of seven children (six boys and one girl) born to C.H. and Katie Parker of Broadway, which is in Lee County east of Sanford. C.H. always loved country music and it was "always his dream to be able to play and perform," Ivan said.

"It was like something out of a book -- he threw the guitar across his back and thumbed rides across the country, performing where he could. Nashville was his last stop. He showed up at the Grand Ole Opry and put his guitar in the case during a break and the guitar was stolen. He took that as a sign and thumbed his way back to North Carolina. He got another guitar and after he was called to the ministry, he began playing and singing in church," he said.

C.H. is now deceased, but Katie still lives in Broadway and the family has a two-day Parker Homecoming concert in Sanford every March.

Katie, whom Ivan refers to as 'a little stick of dynamite,' "always prayed for her children that God would use us to minister to others."

"One day I was talking to her about how much I appreciated her praying for me. Her response was 'you did keep me busy, son,' " Ivan said with a chuckle.

As a teenager, Ivan sang with his brothers in a group called the Parker Brothers.

"They let me start singing with them and it just landed in my heart and life as if that's what God wanted me to do all along," he said. "I had the privilege of singing with Bill and Gloria Gaither as part of the Gaither Homecoming tour for 16 years as well."

It was gospel music great Bill Gaither who once told Ivan "don't ever forget what you brought to the party," and he's lived by those words ever since.

The Gaither Homecoming tour gave him the opportunity to minister to people in Ireland, England and South Africa.

"One of the videos while we were there was filmed in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Bill said 'we've not recorded 'Midnight Cry' in a while. As soon as the introduction started, the audience started clapping and singing along. They sang every word. It was a real incredible moment," he said.

Ivan and his wife, Teresa, have two sons, Josh and Ryan. Josh performs with Ivan and will be a part of Saturday's show. In the past six months, both Ivan and Josh, who graduated college 1 1/2 years ago, have been busy recording solo projects.

"We've been doing two projects simultaneously," Ivan said. "We'll go into the studio and do his songs and then do mine. I've never worked so hard in my life, but I'm grateful for it."

Ivan said he hopes Josh's album will be ready for release the first of August and he's aiming for his to be released in the fall or toward the end of the year.

Ivan Parker will perform 150 to 175 concerts this year throughout the United States but said he always looks forward to performing in Alamance County and reconnecting with old friends from such groups as The Harvesters and Jubilation.

Ivan said he realizes that "within the last three years a lot of Christian people are losing hope, what with the economy and state of affairs. Things aren't the same as they used to be and are changing rapidly, but I try to remind people there is hope in Jesus Christ. That joy in your life can be restored."

Tickets are $20 in advance and $22 at the door. Box office hours are noon to 3 p.m. today through Saturday and one hour prior to showtime. Credit card reservations can be made by calling (336) 222-TIXS. The concert is a fundraiser for the Women's Division of the Alamance County Area Chamber of Commerce's scholarships and community projects.

___

(c)2014 Times-News (Burlington, N.C.)

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Source: Times-News (Burlington, NC)


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