John Thorpe and Truth to close out ‘Gospel In Person’ concert series

John Thorpe and Truth
John Thorpe (second from right) and Truth

Sponsored by the Kirby Cultural Arts Complex – John Thorpe and Truth are set to take the stage for the fifth and final installment of the “Gospel In Person” concert series, presented by the Kirby Cultural Arts Complex in partnership with Just Love In Person community service organization and Gentry Visuals production company. The event gets underway Saturday, April 29, at 6 pm, at the Kirby Theater in Roxboro, NC.

“Gospel In Person” is a multipart celebration of the rich Black gospel music history found in North Carolina’s rural Person County, located in the Piedmont region along Virginia’s border. Since the fall of 2022, the concert series has included live performances featuring MG Music Group, The Torain Family, Just Us Guys, The Spiritual Lights, and The Mighty Harmonaires, along with short documentaries chronicling the performers’ histories and Person County roots. John Thorpe and Truth round out the series this month.

John Thorpe and Truth was founded in April 2012, by Thorpe, Lorenzo Dixon, and Robert Lunsford. Since organizing, the group members have performed throughout their home state of North Carolina and along the east coast, engaging traditional gospel enthusiasts with their infectious charisma, rollicking drives, and passion for spreading the good news in song. In 2015, they released their debut project, Stay With Jesus. An EP, Come By Here, followed in 2019, as well as their second full-length project, Let Him In. The group’s current single is, “I Made It.” John Thorpe and Truth have earned multiple Rhythm of Gospel Award nominations and are Season 14 recipients of the Prayze Factor Award. The present roster of singers and musicians includes Thorpe and Dixon along with Jamaal Moore, Brandon Gibbs, Bernard Dixon, Jarmaal Lawson, Iakee Pettiford, Zynell Hardnett, and Giovanni Hardnett.

Before founding John Thorpe and Truth, Thorpe traveled the gospel highway with the Mighty Jubilaires of Newburgh, NY, and The Brower Brothers of Newark, NJ. Upon returning to North Carolina in 1999, he brought together his 13 siblings to form an aggregation known simply and fittingly as The Thorpe Family. He says it was a last wish of his mother Vida—with whom he sang his first song at age five—for him to “keep the family together.” Thorpe, the ninth of fourteen children, honored her request through his family’s shared love of singing, and The Thorpe Family went on to spread the gospel, eventually releasing two CDs, In His Name (2007) and Child Of God (2012). The latter was recorded live at the Kirby Theater with special guest, Ambassador Dr. Bobby Jones.

The Thorpe Family

“John Thorpe is a force—from his stature, to his bellowing voice, to his incomparable energy,” says Just Love In Person’s Michael Gentry, who is also the creator and producer of the forthcoming feature-length documentary titled, Gospel In Person, which premieres in June 2023.

“And with Truth,” Gentry continues, “he is indeed surrounded by awesome talent. In the Dixon brothers, Jamaal Moore, Jarmaal Lawson, and others, John is surrounded by men who were born and bred in Person County quartet and can all sing and play. And they’ll dance too. The John Thorpe and Truth concert will be a high-energy celebration and a fitting way to end this beautiful concert series.”

Purchase tickets for the live concert on Saturday, April 29, at Kirby Theater is located at 213 N. Main Street.

John Thorpe and Truth, Chosen Live DVD Recording Recap

John Thorpe and Truth
John Thorpe and Truth | Photo Credit: Libra Boyd

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

A modest crowd of roughly 250 traditional gospel enthusiasts gathered at Roxboro’s Kirby Theater Saturday night (July 16) for the live DVD recordings of John Thorpe and Truth of Rougemont, NC, and Chosen of Wilkesboro, NC.  Radio announcer David Ramsey and Bishop D.T. “Dynamite” Johnson served as emcees for the evening.

The one-hour late start caused restlessness among some in the audience, but they appeared to be instantly refreshed by the live music performances of area artists Chozen Phaze II and saxophonist James Brown, who opened the concert.

Once John Thorpe and Truth took to the stage—about 55 minutes after the late startthey wasted no time moving through the first of two five-song sets, beginning with “I Don’t Mind,” followed by the bluesy “Child of God.”  Both numbers are from an album recorded with his siblings, John Thorpe and Family Live with Dr. Bobby Jones, and are fan favorites. Still, it was the perennial hymn “Old Rugged Cross” that shifted the somewhat constrained atmosphere into extended worship.  Thorpe brought out his son Jonathan (of James Hall & Worship and Praise) to share the lead.  Jonathan’s velvet tenor was a stark contrast to his dad’s gritty baritone, but the duet was nonetheless palatable.  The worship that ensued cued a reprise before the group finished out its opening set with downhome hand-clapper, “Do What the Lord Say Do.”

Chosen | Photo Credit: Libra Boyd

While John Thorpe and Truth recessed for a wardrobe change, Chosen began its 10-song set, which included a mix of original tunes and covers of “What He’s Done for Me” (Lisa Knowles and The Brown Singers), “Thank You” (Tim Rogers and The Fellas), “Meet Me at the Gate” (B.T. Green and the Christian Harmonettes), and “Old Landmark” (Tammy Edwards and the Edwards Sisters).  An unhurried song of assurance, “Jesus is Standing There,” especially resonated with the intimate crowd:

You feel all alone sometimes, and you don’t know what to do, but still
Jesus is standing there
I’ve got friends, they’ll turn and walk away from you, but still when they walk away
Jesus is standing there
Call Him in the morning
Call Him late at night
Oh Jesus is standing there

The song’s lead singer Marshall Parks shared with the audience afterwards, “A whole lot of folks sing songs that sound good; but I want to sing a song that says something.”  When the lead mic was passed to Quinda Parks, she emphasized that Chosen came to have church.  I was convinced.  Their sermonettes, testimonies, praise break, and the atmosphere of an old-fashion revival as they neared the end of their set were proof positive.

As the night drew to a close, John Thorpe and Truth returned to complete the final set, opening with the lively title track from their current CD, “Stay with Jesus” and ending with “Thank You,” reminiscent of soul singer Eddie Floyd’s “Knock on Wood.”

Both group’s recordings will be released as individual “live” CD and DVD projects in association with Light of Day Productions, LLC.  To pre-order, visit the artists’ websites at and

John Thorpe and Truth, Chosen prep for live DVD recording – July 16

John Thorpe and Truth and Chosen are gearing up for a live DVD recording set for Saturday, July 16, at the Kirby Theater in Roxboro, NC.  Doors open at 4 PM, and the recording begins at 5 PM.  Advance tickets are $10 ($15 at the door).
Tickets are available from Light of Day Productions (336-818-0880), Truth Ministries (434-429-6130), members of both groups, and at the following sites:,

John Thorpe and the Thorpe Family Anniversary Concert – April 21

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GMF Anniversary Giveaway! (April 20)

The giveaways for Gospel Music Fever’s first anniversary continue today as well as next Friday!  Are you ready to put your (re)search skills to work?

Here’s this week’s question:

In August 2011, GMF covered the appreciation musical honoring gospel singer John K. Thorpe for his community involvement and dedication to the advancement of gospel music.  Besides performing with his family, Thorpe is also affiliated with what NJ area singing group?

Be the first to email the correct answer to [email protected], and receive John Thorpe and the Thorpe Family’s brand new CD release, John Thorpe and the Thorpe Family “Live” with Dr. Bobby Jones.

John K. Thorpe honored at "house-wrecking" appreciation musical

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

Thankfully, the modest structure of Timberlake, NC’s New Hope Person Missionary Baptist Church is still intact after the major house-wrecking that occurred there Saturday night, August 20th.

The occasion was an appreciation musical for John Kermit Thorpe, lead singer of sibling group, the Thorpe Family and a long-time member of the Brower Brothers of New Jersey.  The four hour celebration, emceed by WRXO’s David Ramsey, featured hard-driving quartet music from the Thorpe Family, New Hope Person Male Chorus–of which Thorpe is also a member, the Spiritual Lights of Rougemont, New Creation, the True Lights of Bahama, the Spiritual Messengers, 14 year-old Tahmique Cameron, and Minister Brenda Hunt-Moore, who when describing Thorpe’s passion, commented that he is the only person she knows who will travel “a thousand miles to sing one song, won’t get paid a dime, and will come back just as happy as he can be.”  Among several other tributes and presentations–some tearful and some humorous–were congratulatory letters from Mayor Bill Bell of Durham and the Durham County Board of Commissioners, and special remarks from host pastor, Rev. W.L. Richardson.
At the close of the evening, Thorpe expressed his gratitude to the near capacity crowd before singing “Child of God” from his CD In His Name, followed by James Fortune’s “I Believe” as a special dedication to his wife, Stella.
Thorpe was honored for his community involvement, his dedication to gospel music, and his contributions throughout the east coast in advancement of the art form.

Below left:  James Thorpe (left) and brother McCollins transform “He Understands, He’ll Say Well Done'” into a high-gear foot stomper with the Thorpe Family.

Below center: RuBena Cooper-Woods (front) loosens the ceiling tiles with “I’m Working on the Building.”  The group New Creation was among the house-wreckers at John K. Thorpe’s appreciation musical.  The honoree is in the background, behind Cooper-Woods, looking on.

Below right:  John and Stella Thorpe enjoy one of the numerous tributes of the four-hour service.

Nightingales' Joseph "JoJo" Wallace to be honored with musical celebration

The Sensational Nightingales were one of the fiercest quartet-styled groups of gospel’s golden age, and he’s been singing and playing professionally with them since 1946, just as that era in gospel music history was budding.  On Saturday, June 11th, quartet legend Brother Joseph “JoJo” Wallace, who is still a lead singer and guitarist for the internationally known quartet will be celebrated for his 65 years of ministry with the group.
“An Evening with Brother Joseph Wallace and Friends” takes place at Durham, NC’s Union Baptist Church on 904 N. Roxboro Street and starts at 3:00 PM.  Tributes by The Sensational Nightingales, Darrell and Ricky Luster, John K. Thorpe, New Hope Person Baptist Church Male Chorus under the direction of Libra Nicole Boyd, The Hillian Sisters,  Billy Warden, Evangelist Carolyn Satterfield and others are planned.  A couple of surprise musical guests are also expected to pay tribute.
The event is free and everyone is invited; a freewill offering will be received.  Proceeds go to The Joseph Wallace Scholarship Fund.

Top: Pictured in the circa 1954-55 photo are, clockwise from top:  Willie “Bill” Woodruff, Carl Coates, Joseph “JoJo” Wallace, Ernest James, and Julius “June” Cheeks.   GMF thanks Opal Nations for verifying this caption.

Bottom:  Brother Joseph “JoJo” Wallace ministers in concert with The Sensational Nightingales.

Sizzlin' This Week (4/4/11) – "In His Name"

“In His Name”
John K. Thorpe
From the CD, In His Name (2007)
Available at Apple Music

Simple musical accompaniment and the opening lyric, “Let us take this bread together in His name,” introduce this worshipful Communion selection.  By the time John Thorpe arrives at the second verse, “Lord, they drove nails in Your hands; they drove a nail in Your feet, but Lord you knew that wasn’t enough to save me,” it is apparent that this is a beautifully written song of reflection and gratitude fitting for the Easter season too.
Thorpe provokes us to remembrance of the sacrifices of Jesus and the power of His name.  By the song’s end, the listener’s heart is filled with thanksgiving and the atmosphere is filled with worship.

Sizzlin’ This Week is the GMF editor’s gospel music pick of the week from her personal playlist.  Every style. Every era.