Moates recognized for gospel singings

L to R: Curtis Smith, United Way chairman and Larry Mahaffey, former Chilton County High School principal awards Kenneth Moates for his 21 years of dedication at the Gospel Singing Saturday, June 4.

Kenneth Moates and his Southern gospel singings are no strangers to the Chilton County community.

Moates has sung at Chilton County High School and performed at benefits for 21 years.

“My wife tricked me into going to a fireman’s sing in Tuscaloosa and I fell in love with it and have been doing it ever since,” said Moates. “My most memorable times are having so many people show up that there weren’t enough seats and some had to be turned away at the door.”

The first singing ever promoted by Moates was on Sept. 15, 1990, featuring The Greenes and Heaven Bound.

After a tragic, on-the-job accident that claimed the life of a close friend of Moates, Gerald Ellison, the Gerald Ellison Memorial Singing began in 1992.

“Gerald was really big on Southern gospel music and was in a local quartet,” said Moates. “I called his wife and asked if I could do a singing in his memory and have been doing one ever since.

The Gerald Ellison Memorial Singing has been an inspiration to not only local residents, but annually draws people from a variety of states throughout the Southeast.

“The high school seats 1,000 people, and this past singing we had approximately 700 people outside of Chilton County High,” said Moates. Five or six states were represented from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee and Georgia.”

Other Gospel singings promoted by Kenneth and Phyllis Moates would include: The Annual Billy Lawrence Singing, The Spring Sing, and many others from time to time.

“It has been our pleasure and honor to promote and host this great event for the last 20 years,” said Moates. “Through the years this singing has become one of the most treasured events held in the Southeast due to the popularity of the groups we were able to feature for 15 of those 20 years.”

All of his concerts were benefit events. He has been able to help many charities such as United Way, YMCA, and Relay for Life, Chilton County High Athletics and also sponsor a yearly scholarship at CCHS.

At the final Ellison Gerald Memorial singing held Saturday, June 4,  Moates was recognized and received several awards including awards from Curtis Smith, United Way chairman; State Sen. Cam Ward; Probate Judge Bobby Martin and Singing News Magazine.

“It’s been a partnership between me and my wife, and my family has been behind me, and the county as a whole,” said Moates. “The school system from the superintendent of education here in Chilton County, through all the principals and teachers. It’s just been tremendous over the years.”

Kenneth and Phyllis have been active members of Mt. Springs Independent Methodist Protestant Church for more than 40 years. Each has been faithful to the service of the Lord and holds many positions.

“Due to circumstances beyond our control we are having to forgo promoting future concerts in Clanton,” said Moates. “We will continue to host our Radio program, ‘Joy In The Morning,” heard daily from 9 a.m.-11 a.m., Monday through Friday on our local radio station WKLF, 95.5 FM and 980 AM.”

They would like to thank all of Chilton County for the years of support and we look forward to walking through new doors that God will open in the future. “I would also like to thank Pine Dell Gardens, Peach Park and Dubin Farms Market for furnishing us with flowers, peaches and strawberries to decorate the stage for our performances,” said Moates.

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