For the third year in a row, Bethel Baptist held a Richard Kiser concert the night before Father’s Day, and this year there were over 600 folks in its sanctuary and balcony – not just for preaching’s sake, but for music ministry and a good cause.One could even say that the music was “the real McCoy,” because the legendary harmonica playing Charlie McCoy was there alongside longtime Salem resident and guitarist Richard Kiser. It was free to get in, and the good will offering minus expenses, nearly $2200, all went towards Renewanation mission.
If the event grows any more, Kiser said, they may have to have their event at the Salem Civic Center.
“Renewanation” is an effort by the Parkway House of Prayer to provide a Christian education for any child whose family wants them to have it. So far, Parkway Christian Academy is the first school, but they hope to expand their mission in time.
The first and last minutes of the show was filled with a wire choir – over 40 guitars all jamming to the same tune at the same time. The oldest participant was nearly 90, and the youngest was Kiser’s 6-year-old grandson, Aden Kiser, playing the mandolin. The rich notes of McCoy’s harmonica with Richard Kiser’s guitar filled up the rest of the night to an enraptured audience.
“I’m a local Christian recording artist, and course I tour all over the US. That’s what I do for a living – playing music,” Kiser said. He taught himself how to play the guitar at age 13 but he didn’t start a professional music career until thirteen years ago.
He plays for all kinds of venues – from high schools to nursing home, but no bars. His style ranges from country gospel to contemporary Christian and rock – no particular genre, just positive music, he said. Kiser plays around 150 dates a year, and his travel schedule is hectic but controlled. He’s won multiple awards from the Country Gospel Music Ministries and from the International Country Gospel Music Association.
Kiser and his wife, Esther travel in their motor home all over the United States, touching base at home at pretty fixed times. For the first few months of the year, they usually travel down to Florida and Georgia before crossing back through Virginia to head up North for a few months. They stay close to home in June, then in July and for the rest of the summer they’re back on the road. Then it’s two weeks back in Salem for Labor Day, and after that they’re out West to Colorado until Christmastime rolls around.
“We’ve had a fairly viable ministry, and I’ve been really fortunate and blessed to stay as busy as I do,” said Kiser. He got a special Father’s Day treat when his three grandsons, Aden, and Aden’s two older brothers, Elijah, 8, and Liam, 10, performed on stage for the first time at the concert that night before Father’s Day. And while McCoy’s harmonica had played alongside the likes of Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Bob Dylan, all eyes in the church were on three little boys with a very proud grandfather.
For more information about:
Renewanation – www.renewanation.org
Charlie McCoy – www.charliemccoy.com
Richard Kiser – www.rkisermusic.com