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.

Bernard Thorpe of John Thorpe and Family has died

GMF extends condolences to the family and friends of Bernard Thorpe, who passed early Tuesday morning, January 20, in Durham, NC, after a period of  illness. He was 69 years old.

Thorpe was a member of John Thorpe and Family of Rougemont, NC, a traditional gospel group consisting of his siblings.  Perfectly content to harmonize in the background, he was often nudged to the forefront as audiences loved his characteristically dark but not too frequently heard baritone lead. 

Thorpe was also a member of the New Hope Person Male Chorus of Timberlake, NC. His love for old school quartet music placed him front and center at the 2011 appreciation musical celebrating Jo Jo Wallace of the Sensational Nightingales for 65 years in music ministry. There, he led the male chorus’s musical tribute with the Gales’ 1955 hit “Somewhere to Lay My Head.” The trot down Memory Lane was one of the evening’s highlights.

In addition to 12 brothers and sisters, Thorpe is survived by his children and a host of relatives. 

Viewing & Visitation
Friday, January 23, 2015
7 – 9 PM
Holloway Memorial Funeral Home
2502 NC Hwy 55
Durham, NC 27713

Homegoing Service
Saturday, January 24, 2015
2 PM
New Hope Person Missionary Baptist Church
1261 Tom Oakley Road
Timberlake, NC 27583

McCollins Thorpe, Sr., of John Thorpe and Family, passes on

Please join GMF in extending condolences to the family and friends of McCollins Thorpe, Sr., who transitioned yesterday, April 30, after a brief illness.  He was 70 years old.
Thorpe was perhaps one of traditional gospel quartet’s best kept secrets with a versatile vibratic tenor that could drive a quartet scorcher, churn out a soul-drenched hymn arrangement, or croon a melodic ballad.  He was a lead singer in his sibling group John Thorpe and Family and can be heard handling lead chores on “I Trust in God” and “I Don’t Mind,” both on the CDs In His Name and John Thorpe and Family “Live” with Dr. Bobby Jones.  Additionally, every Sunday morning listeners could tune in to WKRX 96.7FM to hear Thorpe along with his brothers, called simply The Thorpe Brothers.  He opened every broadcast with the Sam Cooke-popularized version of “Nearer My God to Thee.”
Thorpe was also a dedicated member of several choirs at his home church, New Hope Person Missionary Baptist Church in Timberlake, NC.
In addition to his 13 brothers and sisters, he is survived by three children and a host of other relatives.

Homegoing arrangements, per sister Joyce Bailey, are as follows:

Visitation, Public Viewing & Musical
Saturday, May 4, 2013
6:30 – 8:30 PM
New Hope Person Missionary Baptist Church
1261 Tom Oakley Road
Timberlake, NC 27583

Homegoing Celebration
Sunday, May 5, 2013
2:30 PM
Greater Cleggs Chapel Community Missionary Baptist Church
2601 Surl-Mt. Tirzah Road
Timberlake, NC 27583

Online condolences can be posted at

"I Trust in God" – John Thorpe and Family

“I Trust in God”
John Thorpe and Family
From the CD, Child Of God (2012)
Available at CD Baby

John Thorpe and Family "Live" with Dr. Bobby Jones art work

Kudos to the groups and choirs of today that reserve spots for a traditional, minimally altered hymn or two in their otherwise trendy, radio-friendly repertoires.

McCollins Thorpe, Sr. solidifies this space for John Thorpe and Family with “I Trust in God,” an arrangement of the W.C. Martin hymn, “My Father Watches Over Me.”  It’s Thorpe, Sr., the eldest brother of the 14 siblings, whose vibratic tenor hinges on the upswings and downward slopes of every note to create a moderately slow but soulful number that baptist pastor Martin himself, were he to overhear from Glory, would give a nod to.

While John Thorpe and Family are a choir that occasionally consists of all 14 brothers and sisters plus a niece and nephew, their material is crafted with a traditional quartet-like vibe—a subgenre in which the Thorpe brothers, who are the primary lead singers, are firmly planted.  This is why Thorpe, Sr. is able to guide them from the flowing expressive verses right into a toe-tapping chorus and vamp with ease, adding just the right amount of spice to the sweetness of the early 20th-century composition.