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. Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics

    Blogs
  2. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  3. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)

    World

    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  4. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  5. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]