Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Truth Gospel group to perform at Northcliffe Baptist

Northcliffe’s Aaron Odom was mentored for a year by the founder of Truth, a group that launched the careers of popular Christian artists, and came away with a new calling.

Courtesy of Diane Downing

Northcliffe’s Aaron Odom was mentored for a year by the founder of Truth, a group that launched the careers of popular Christian artists, and came away with a new calling.

SPRING HILL — Truth, an award-winning Gospel group that discovered and launched many well-known Christian artists and was credited with helping introduce contemporary worship in the 1970s, has begun a reunion tour in honor of its 40th anniversary.

The 19 vocalists and musicians, including two smaller ensembles, will be at Northcliffe Baptist Church on Sept. 30 to carry on its tradition of sharing the Gospel message through song and testimony. They will perform many of the group's older songs in a new, more contemporary style.

"In 31 years, we did 10,000 concerts, traveled 3 million miles and made 61 albums," founder Roger Breland said of the group, which officially retired in 2002, two years after being inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. "We had 400 people in the group (over the years) who are now serving in churches, as pastors, missionaries and teachers, as well as many professional musicians."

Today, Breland is the vice president of project development and the executive dean of the Center for Performing Arts at the University of Mobile in Alabama. The musicians on the reunion tour are largely graduates of the university who have worked with Breland for several years.

Northcliffe Baptist worship leader Aaron Odom, who arranged for the visit, says he's excited about the reunion concert.

"I couldn't be more thrilled about Truth coming to Northcliffe," he said. "They sing the Truth classics in a fresh, contemporary way, and Roger is bringing along two new groups. One is called Shofar with five young men similar to Il Divo — very powerful, almost operatic-style singing. Then there's a group of girls called Story that has a pop-oriented kind of sound."

Odom noted that many famous Christian performers are former Truth members.

"Roger Breland is a guy that has mentored hundreds of artists like Avalon, Natalie Grant and Steve Green," Odom said. "Roger's heart was to not only create great music, but also to mentor young musicians and help launch their careers."

Odom, 35, can count himself among that number. He, his wife, PJ, and their toddler son, Ramsey, spent 2008 and 2009 in Mobile with Breland.

"I moved there just to be mentored by Roger Breland," Odom said.

He had earned his master's degree from the Manhattan School of Music in New York and, by that time, had spent eight years touring as a vocalist, giving concerts in more than 300 churches. The son of a Southern Baptist pastor, he had sung for the ministries of popular worship leaders including Bill Gaither, Jerry Falwell, John Hagee and Mosie Lister.

Odom's father had known Breland since Truth came to perform at their church in Mississippi when Aaron was a child. Odom decided to give Breland a call.

"I got to the place where I needed some help," he said. "I was flat-lining, and I needed someone who understood that and could help me launch my career."

Breland and Odom had long talks during that year together in Mobile.

"He taught voice for me here on an adjunct professorship basis, and he worked in a church (as a worship leader)," Breland said. "He was one of our featured soloists as well. That was quite an experience. He's an outstanding vocalist."

Odom also sang with the Mobile Opera Company during that time.

Beyond the career boost he received from Breland, Odom has a very personal reason for feeling close to the man.

"After meeting with Roger for a few months, my wife and I had a little baby, and the baby didn't make it," Odom said. "Roger and his most elite group at the University of Mobile came to my son Grayson's funeral and blessed us with two or three songs. I'll never forget that.

"As excited as I am to have Truth come in, I'm thrilled as well to return the favor to Roger and all these people who blessed us as a family."

After leaving Mobile in 2009, Odom continued his career, singing operatic tenor at concerts around the world. For a couple of months early last year, he sang to audiences of more than 12,000 with the Imperials on a Hollywood-produced European tour.

"It was a really incredible experience," Odom said about singing with the original cast of musicians that used to back Elvis Presley. "We would sing live songs like Sweet, Sweet Spirit and How Great Thou Art. But 30 days away from my family was tough. I really felt after that season that I was ready to settle and be here with my family and not on the road."

That was good news for Northcliffe Baptist, which hired Odom last August as its full-time worship leader.

These days, Odom performs only about 10 concerts a year. He leads both traditional and contemporary worship at Northcliffe, and, like Breland, he encourages and trains others with musical gifts, sometimes asking them to lead the worship. He has also recorded two CDs.

He credits Breland for the turnaround in his ministry.

"When I came to Mobile, I was asking Roger to help me be a concert guy," Odom said. "By the time I left, he had convinced me that with the economy like it is, and with churches not doing as many concerts, it might be best for me to be the best worship pastor I can be, who can still go sing a few concerts here and there.

"Roger helped me see that instead of being a concert guy that sometimes leads worship, I could be a worship guy that sometimes does concerts."

Odom said his heart is no longer on the road.

"It's completely toward this mission here at the church to hurting and broken people," he said.

.IF YOU GO

Truth concert

Truth performs at 7 p.m. Sept. 30 at Northcliffe Baptist Church, 10515 Northcliffe Blvd., Spring Hill. Tickets are $7 and available at the door. To purchase advance tickets, call (352) 683-5882. For information about Northcliffe worship leader Aaron Odom and his recordings, visit aaronodom.com. For information about the Truth tour, visit truth40.com.

Truth Gospel group to perform at Northcliffe Baptist 09/16/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 16, 2011 4:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Hernando County Sheriff's Office: Deputies shoot suicidal woman who brandished shotgun

    Crime

    BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County Sheriff's deputies shot a woman they believed to be suicidal after she pointed a shotgun at them Sunday, according to a police report.

  2. Trump administration disbands federal advisory committee on climate change

    National

    WASHINGTON - The Trump administration has decided to disband the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment, a group aimed at helping policymakers and private-sector officials incorporate the government's climate analysis into long-term planning.

    President Donald Trump. [Associated Press]
  3. Blake Snell shines as Rays beat Mariners to end skid (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell delivered the best outing of his young career and the Rays offense continued its home run-hitting ways for a 3-0 victory Sunday against the Mariners in front of 13,354 at Tropicana Field.

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) with starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) after the top of the seventh inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  4. No touchdown, but fun lesson for Bucs' Adam Humphries

    Bucs

    It didn't end up being a touchdown, but one of the Bucs' biggest hustle plays in Thursday's win over Jacksonville saw receiver Adam Humphries scoop up a loose ball just before halftime, after what looked like an incompletion but was correctly ruled a Jameis Winston fumble.

    Bucs WR Adam Humphries runs to the end zone with QB Jameis Winston trailing -- his alert play wasn't a touchdown because teammates cannot advance a fumble in the final two minutes of a half.
  5. Bucs' Demar Dotson should be back from injury next week

    Bucs

    The Bucs got good news on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI showed only a mild right groin sprain and should be back at practice next week.

    Bucs tackle Demar Dotson, shown last year when he signed a three-year contract extension, should only miss a week of practice with his groin injury and can return healthy for the Bucs' season opener at Miami in three weeks. [Octavio Jones | Times]