Gaither Homecoming

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David Phelps, Gordon Mote, Bill Gaither (left to right) in April 2009

Gaither Homecoming is the name applied to a series of videos, music recordings and concerts, which are organized, promoted and usually presented by Christian music songwriter and impresario Bill Gaither. To date, the Gaither Homecoming title is applied to more than 60 videos, dozens of music recordings, and an annual concert tour that drew more than half a million fans in 2004 (the most recent year for which statistics are available).[citation needed]

Beginnings[edit]

On February 19, 1991, the Gaither Vocal Band had just wrapped up a recording session in a Nashville, Tennessee, working on an album called Homecoming, which featured many of the great voices of southern gospel music: The Speers, the Gatlins, Jake Hess, The Cathedrals, Howard & Vestal Goodman, Buck Rambo, Eva Mae Lefevre, James Blackwood, Hovie Lister, Jim Hill, and J.D. Sumner & The Stamps. After the session, the artists stayed around to chat, swap stories and sing old standards around the piano. The impromptu session was recorded on video and later published. The recording was so well received that Gaither began a series of professionally-produced videos with larger gatherings of gospel musicians.

Format[edit]

The format for almost all of the videos in the series is very similar. A studio set or concert stage is home to a group of several dozen singers, with the front row featuring artists with longstanding and legendary careers in Southern Gospel music. They would be joined by younger artists, some of them up-and-coming acts in the Gaither Music Group publishing stable. Gaither would lead the group in several songs, with soloists and groups featured in additional songs. Comments by veteran singers, who would reminisce about their careers, are a staple of the series. In later videos, the inevitability of death found its way into the videos, as segments remembering artists who had died since the previous taping were featured.

Most videos also have accompanying CDs which can be purchased in a set or separately.

The videos and CDs regularly top sales charts, even many years after the series' inception and after the death of many favorite artists. The most recent videos, Gaither Homecoming Tour: Live From Toronto and Canadian Homecoming, were first and third, respectively, on Billboard's music video chart, and the companion CDs also hit the CCM charts. [1] More recently, the 2007 recording of "How Great Thou Art" was nominated for a Dove Award.

Concert series[edit]

In 1996, the video series gave birth to a concert tour, with a format similar to the videos but usually performed "in the round" in arenas. The concert dates are normally on Fridays and Saturdays, usually in separate cities.

In 2004, the Gaither Homecoming concert tour ranked 16th in Pollstar rankings of all tours, beating out pop music heavyweights such as Elton John, Fleetwood Mac and Rod Stewart. [2]

Television series[edit]

The video series is repackaged into a series of hour-long or half-hour-long television shows. They can be found on the following Christian or family-oriented cable/satellite channels. (There is also an Internet TV channel – gaither.tv)

In the U.S.

In Canada

Cruises[edit]

The Gaither Homecoming series has branched out into twice-yearly cruises. One cruise normally sails to Alaska in September, and the other to tropical ports in February.

It was on one of these cruises, in 2006, where regular pianist Anthony Burger, a longtime favorite of the Homecoming series, collapsed on-stage as a result of a heart attack while accompanying Gaither, his wife Gloria and the rest of the Homecoming Friends.

In 2009, for the first time, a Homecoming cruise was recorded for DVD/CD release. Alaskan Cruise Homecoming was released in January 2011.

Videography[edit]

  • 1991: Homecoming
  • 1992: A Praise Gathering
  • 1992: Reunion
  • 1993: Turn Your Radio On
  • 1993: Old Friends
  • 1994: A Christmas Homecoming
  • 1994: Landmark
  • 1994: Precious Memories
  • 1995: All Day Singin' with Dinner on the Ground
  • 1995: Revival
  • 1995: Holy Ground
  • 1995: Ryman Gospel Reunion
  • 1996: When All God's Singer Get Home
  • 1996: Sunday Meetin' Time
  • 1996: Sing Your Blues Away
  • 1996: Moments To Remember
  • 1996: Something Beautiful
  • 1996: Homecoming Texas Style
  • 1996: Joy To The World
  • 1996: Joy in the Camp
  • 1997: Back Home Again in Indiana
  • 1997: Feelin' At Home
  • 1997: This Is My Story
  • 1997: Special Homecoming Moments (certified platinum)
  • 1998: Gaither Homecoming Celebration (recorded live on New Year's; released in January 2012)
  • 1998: Singin' With The Saints
  • 1998: Down By The Tabernacle
  • 1998: Rivers Of Joy
  • 1998: Hawaiian Homecoming
  • 1998: Marching To Zion
  • 1998: Atlanta Homecoming (at the Georgia Dome)
  • 1998: All Day Singin' At The Dome (Atlanta)
  • 1999: Singin' In My Soul
  • 1999: Kennedy Center Homecoming
  • 1999: So Glad!
  • 1999: Sweet, Sweet Spirit
  • 1999: Mountain Homecoming (Blue Ridge Mountains)
  • 1999: I'll Meet You on the Mountain
  • 2000: Good News
  • 2000: Memphis Homecoming
  • 2000: Oh, My Glory!
  • 2000: Harmony in the Heartland
  • 2000: Irish Homecoming (in Belfast)
  • 2000: Whispering Hope
  • 2000: Christmas in the Country
  • 2001: Christmas... A Time for Joy
  • 2001: What a Time!
  • 2001: London Homecoming
  • 2001: A Billy Graham Music Homecoming, Volumes 1 & 2
  • 2001: Journey to the Sky (certified gold)
  • 2001: Passin' the Faith Along (certified gold)
  • 2002: Freedom Band
  • 2002: I'll Fly Away
  • 2002: New Orleans Homecoming
  • 2002: God Bless America (at Carnegie Hall)
  • 2002: Let Freedom Ring (at Carnegie Hall)
  • 2003: Going Home (certified platinum)
  • 2003: Heaven
  • 2003: Australian Homecoming
  • 2003: Red Rocks Homecoming
  • 2003: Rocky Mountain Homecoming
  • 2003: A Gospel Bluegrass Homecoming, Volumes 1 & 2
  • 2004: Build a Bridge (at The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas)
  • 2004: Dottie Rambo with Homecoming Friends
  • 2004: We Will Stand (at The Potter's House)
  • 2004: Tribute To Howard & Vestal Goodman
  • 2004: Tribute to Jake Hess
  • 2005: Church In The Wildwood (certified platinum)
  • 2005: Hymns (certified platinum)
  • 2005: Israel Homecoming (certified platinum)
  • 2005: Jerusalem Homecoming (certified platinum)
  • 2005: A Tribute to George Younce
  • 2006: Canadian Homecoming (certified gold)
  • 2006: Live from Toronto (certified gold)
  • 2006: Christmas in South Africa
  • 2006: Homecoming Christmas – Live From South Africa
  • 2007: South African Homecoming
  • 2007: Love Can Turn The World – Live From South Africa
  • 2007: Amazing Grace (certified gold)
  • 2007: How Great Thou Art (certified gold)
  • 2008: A Campfire Homecoming
  • 2008: Homecoming Picnic
  • 2008: Rock of Ages
  • 2008: Country Bluegrass Homecoming, Volumes 1 & 2
  • 2009: Nashville Homecoming (at the Grand Ole Opry stage)
  • 2009: Joy in My Heart
  • 2010: Giving Thanks
  • 2010: Count Your Blessings
  • 2011: Alaskan Homecoming (cruise)
  • 2011: Majesty (Alaskan cruise)
  • 2011: Tent Revival Homecoming (at the Billy Graham Library)
  • 2011: The Old Rugged Cross (at the Billy Graham Library)
  • 2012: Pure and Simple
  • 2013: Women of Homecoming, Volumes 1 & 2

Featured artists[edit]

An asterisk (*) indicates that the artist is deceased.
Numbers indicate how many videos the artist has appeared in as a featured performer.

External links[edit]