What: Peninsula Men’s Gospel Singers in concert
When/Where: 7 p.m. May 2, Trinity Lutheran Church, 6215 196th St. S.W., Lynnwood; multiple afternoon matinees May 3, The Wesley Homes, 815 S. 216th St., Des Moines; 7:30 p.m. May 3, Kent United Methodist Church, 11010 S.E. 248th St., Kent.
Cost: Free-will offering
Information: Visit www.pmgospelsingers.com or call 360-582-1415.
The Peninsula Men’s Gospel Singers’ denominational backgrounds are as diverse as their repertoire.
The group is made up of Lutherans, Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Baptists singing everything from traditional hymns to contemporary gospel tunes.
But the members are much more single-minded about their goal.
“It is to help the people in our community and in the whole world discover the power of having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” longtime member Hans Kask said.
A nonprofit group, the Gospel Singers are now in their seventh season of performance. In early May, they will bring their vocal harmonies to three churches in the area, including Kent United Methodist Church at 7:30 p.m. May 3. This is the second time they have come to the local stage, but they’ve already established quite a name for themselves in the Port Angeles area.
The group started in 2002 with just a few members of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Port Angles. The church had an evening informal service that emphasized congregation participation, and a few members started getting up to sing Southern gospel songs at the service. Before long, they had cut their first album, called “Precious Lord,” and the Gospel Singers were born.
Soon after the album’s release, the group started to grow. Now 15 multi-denominational members from more than half a dozen different churches are involved, and the group has become an active community ministry. It legally became a nonprofit organization four years ago, enabling the group to better fund its work and move outside the walls of just one church.
The Gospel Singers now play dozens of concerts every year at churches, assisted-living centers and conferences around their community, also performing annually for the inmates at Clallam Bay Correction Center. They decided to broaden their touring horizons last year, coming to Kent at the request of Kent United Methodist Church Event Coordinator Roy Bollinger, who used to sing barbershop tunes with Kask. They will repeat their trip this year.
The group plans its concerts carefully, Kask said, to best accomplish the goal of spreading the gospel.
“Our shows are about an hour long, and we sing for most of that time,” he said. “We don’t really preach. We just let the words speak, and if they fall on receptive ears, we’ll leave the rest to the Lord to move in their lives.”
The Gospel Singers don’t limit themselves in terms of repertoire. In addition to Southern gospel music, the group also sings Negro spirituals and more challenging arrangements of familiar hymns. It even performs originals written and arranged by director Michael Rivers.