BROOKSVILLE — The pastor of Faith Fellowship Church would like Sunday to be special for mothers. Along with recognizing mothers at the 11 a.m. Mother's Day service and presenting them with a gift, there will be a concert by Roy and Amy Pauley.
"It will be an extra special treat for the mothers and to anyone who comes," said Pastor Thomas Dixon. "I'm hoping with the presence of the Pauleys and visitors coming in that we will have a very successful, spiritual service that would really help people and uplift them — and, of course, give tribute to the mothers."
In addition to his popularity as a bass/baritone singer, Roy Pauley is known nationally for his column in Singing News magazine, in which he talks about gospel music legends.
"I began my column in 1986, so this is the 25th year I've been writing for the Singing News," Pauley said in a recent interview.
For many years, the column was called "In My Opinion." In recent years, the title changed to "The History of Gospel Music."
"I think my opinions were pretty strong at times, and I may have stepped on some toes," Pauley said. "So the editor called a couple of years ago and wanted to change the format and asked if I'd be willing to write (the new) column."
Pauley said he prefers the music of an earlier era.
"I was raised in the '50s with good old quartets, and that's my kind of music," he said. "Today's music is a little bit different. I like some of it. Some of it I don't like. But the old guys from the '40s, '50s and '60s, they knew how to do it. They had great harmony and wonderful, meaningful songs."
Pauley said the words of songs are important, as well as the tune.
"There's something about the old music," he said. "It has the interesting chord structure and great harmonies. That's what I go for."
Pauley said he will sing some of the older songs at his concert.
"It's kind of a musical program (that is) split between Southern gospel and evangelistic songs," he said. "I'm a song evangelist from way back, so it's still in my blood."
Now based in Orlando, Pauley began his gospel singing career in the late 1950s in Charleston, W.Va., where he was born and raised.
By the mid '60s, his music ministry had spread into the tri-state region of West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky. A two-year stint in the Army, including a tour of duty in Vietnam as a field medic, interrupted his singing career, which by the 1970s was taking him coast to coast, serving as song evangelist for revival meetings and citywide crusades.
In 1974, while singing for a series of evangelistic meetings in Canada, he met Amy. When they were married, she not only became his lifelong companion, but also his piano accompanist.
Pauley was called on numerous times in his career to fill emergency voids with such legendary groups as the Blackwood Brothers, the Weatherfords and the Statesmen Quartet. During the '90s, he sang regularly with the Statesmen.
Over the past 15 years, Pauley has been a guest soloist with the Bill Gaither Homecoming concert team. He was featured on two of the Homecoming concert videos.
In 2001, Pauley was chosen to sing bass on gospel legend Hovie Lister's final recording. The group was labeled as the Grand Ole Gospel Quartet.
He has recorded six of his own CDs.
At the concert Sunday, Pauley will sing with music tracks and will sometimes be accompanied by his wife on the keyboard. She also will join him in singing several selections.
"We do about 100 concerts a year," Pauley said. "Amy does a couple of vocal duets with me. She's a great, great singer."
Pauley said he is happy to be helping give recognition to mothers and remembers his own mother fondly.
"My mother passed away in 1986. I miss her every day, not just on Mother's Day," he said.
A special song for mothers at the concert will be Mother's Prayers Have Followed Me. "It's a beautiful piece of music," Pauley said. "I have known this song for close to 50 years. It's a story of a young boy who was raised in a Christian home by a good Christian mother, and he kind of strayed away. Because of his mother, he came back to the Lord."
Dixon has heard Pauley sing before and is looking forward to the concert.
"It's very special for us to have Roy come," Dixon said. "I'm hoping that people will enjoy it, and that it's worthwhile. In fact, if it's successful, we may have it more often."