Gospel Music Barn celebrates 25 years

Published 7:57 pm Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Central Alabama Gospel Music Barn will be celebrating its 25th anniversary May 18, and has a special celebration planned for April 20 as well.

The Barn, located on County Road 29 in Jemison, has hosted singings in its current location since 2005. The barn singings originally began in Pelham, when owner and operator Marlin Burnett “recycled” an old barn he had.

“In about ’87 or ’88 we were going [to] Oak Mountain Baptist Church, and it didn’t have a fellowship hall,” he said. “We had an old shop and had events in it.”

Looking back: The Central Alabama Gospel Music Barn opened in Jemison in 2005.Looking back: The Central Alabama Gospel Music Barn opened in Jemison in 2005.

As attendance grew, and the house in Pelham became too much to manage, Burnett moved to Jemison and started the current barn.

“We decided we needed to stretch it out,” he said. “We ran the one here and the one there. We moved and couldn’t get insurance on the other barn, so we closed it down.”

This Saturday, the Barn will be pulling out all stops, starting at noon and showcasing more than 10 acts including the Fishers of Men, Sam Price, Daniel Wakefield, Nick Ellison and For His Glory during the course of the day. Burnett said the music will go on “till they’re through,” and food will be provided to all who attend.

“We’ll have 10-12 groups,” he said. “We’ll have hamburgers and hot dogs all day. May will be our bean supper. It’s a traditional bean supper, no meat. We’re expecting 250-275.”

Through it all, high time and tragedy, the Barn has been a passion that has kept Burnett going. When his first wife died in 1998, the singings were a way of easing the pain. When he remarried in 2001, they became a passion to share with his new spouse. While he enjoys the shows, he admits he’s never thought about taking the stage.

“No, no,” he said. “Glenda sings some, but I don’t.”

While the specials celebrating the Barn’s silver anniversary are to take on a joyous tone, they may inadvertently take on a somber one as well. The Barn only takes free will donations, as Burnett adamantly refuses to charge admission, and the tough economic times are starting to close in on the Barn.

Burnett is fearful the days of the robin’s egg-colored barn making joyful noise are numbered.

“We’re ‘bout ready to give it up,” he said. “The economy is so bad, and our donations are not enough to keep it up. We’d like to keep it up. We’ll know after this weekend.”

For more information, contact Burnett at 688-5999.