BROOKSVILLE — Gospel singer Allison Speer is one of the most popular singers Brooksville Wesleyan Church has hosted as part of its concert series.
"We had her here in 2008," said the Rev. Raymond Phaup, music director. "Our people loved her singing."
The concert is at 6 p.m. Sunday. She will also be at the 10:30 a.m. worship service to share songs with the congregation.
"Our people have really come to appreciate her and her ministry," Phaup said. "She's got a wonderful spirit and attitude about her. You feel like you've been in a worship service when she's out there."
The concert should be better now that the church has moved to its new facilities on Cortez Boulevard with better acoustics and more room, Phaup said, noting that the new sanctuary can hold close to 1,000 people and has overflow seating areas.
"We've had a lot of positive feedback from the other two concerts we've had in the new building, mainly because of the sound and because there's nothing to get in the way, like the posts we had in the old auditorium," Phaup said. "Now, there's nothing to prevent you from seeing and the sound is so good, too."
Speer, 46, has been singing professionally since 1985, has toured with the Bill Gaither Trio and Gaither Vocal Band since 1989 and has had regular appearances in Gaither Homecoming videos and concerts.
It was Bill Gaither who influenced Speer's concert style, which is to create a "living room-like" atmosphere.
"I'm just so thankful for everything I've learned being around the Gaithers," Speer said. "I've traveled with Bill and Gloria Gaither and watched them so wonderfully create an atmosphere where folks are welcome. It's kind of like they bring you into their living room and everybody is friends and family. Just sit back and enjoy yourselves. It's low key. It's very personal and very relaxed."
Speer sings old Southern gospel classics at her concerts along with newer songs. Her latest recording, The Holy Hills, showcases her musical abilities through poetry, melodies and the use of Scripture.
Songs on the album include Peace in the Midst of My Storm, We Shall Behold Him and The Holy Hills of Heaven. Samples from this and her other albums can be heard on Speer's website at allisonspeer.com. The CDs will be on sale at the concert.
"This is my first self-produced project and it gave me a freedom of expression that I've never had before," Speer said.
Besides performing solo concerts, making recordings and writing lyrics, Speer has sung on the 700 Club and the Trinity Broadcasting Network. She has given concerts at mega-churches, such as First Baptist of Atlanta, the Brooklyn Tabernacle and First Baptist of Orlando, and on Bible-study cruises with Charles Stanley and D. James Kennedy. She has performed with evangelists Luis Palau, Bailey Smith, David Ring and Johnny Hunt.
According to her website, Speer has traveled to Russia and Bosnia with the Christian relief organization International Aid and to the Philippines with the American Leprosy Missions.
Those trips left her moved to a deeper communion with God and with a resolve to banish complacency.
"We must lose our egos and find our complete identity in the person of Jesus," Speer says on her website. "It is in the shedding of his blood that we find our lives and in his suffering and death alone, that we must boast."
Choosing songs that will minister to others is her policy; words that glorify God are her creed; bringing the Scripture alive with music is her artistry, she says.
"My music is for people who need Jesus, and we all need Jesus. This one similarity overthrows all the politics of our differences. I am learning that you can make a feast on a mustard seed of faith. So when I sing, I just welcome folks to the table."
Phaup said Speer fits the goal of the concert series — to present the Gospel in a positive way.
"She does this so beautifully with her music and her words," he said. "We're just hoping there may be someone there who may be touched spiritually by her music and will make a decision for Jesus Christ."