The United Gospel Singers, a longstanding religious vocal group from Fayette County, is featured in the latest issue of Goldenseal magazine, now on sale. The story titled, “‘We’re Here for Service’: United Gospel Singers,” is written by Charleston-based author Rebecca Kimmons.
Begun in 1959, the mixed-voice ensemble continues a rich tradition of unaccompanied African-American religious quartet singing. Founding members Judson Wallace and Bertha Wallace of Kimberly, and Donald White are currently joined by the Wallaces’ daughter, Linda, and by Jean Garrett from Oak Hill. They have appeared in Ohio, Michigan and Mississippi, as well as at the Vandalia Gathering in Charleston, and elsewhere.
According to the group, however, the most satisfying time for them is when they perform for shut-ins or visit hospital patients in their rooms. They also enjoy participating in worship services and local gospel quartet conventions. Whether they are performing within churches or for the general public, the United Gospel Singers utilize their music to put forth the heartfelt message of their faith, the article explains.
Elsewhere in this issue are stories about Travelers’ Repose, a historic inn in Pocahontas County; Allegheny Treenware in Preston County; and the now-defunct Elk River community of Corton.
Goldenseal is West Virginia’s magazine of traditional life and is published quarterly by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History in Charleston. The magazine sells for $5.95 and is available by calling 304-558-0220, ext. 134; online at www.wvculture.org/goldenseal.