Donnie Sumner will be in concert at First Baptist Church on Sunday, Sept. 4.
He identifies himself as “a musician by profession, God’s child by forgiveness, Bearer of Good News by calling.”
He was raised the son of a minister and is no newcomer to the world of Christian music. Since childhood his favorite form of entertainment has been “Gospel Music” with styles ranging from “foot stompin’ revival tunes” to what has become known in today’s market as contemporary sacred music.
Having devoted the whole of his life to music, Donnie has carried on the tradition of others of his family who have also made their mark on this industry. Donnie is the nephew of the late J. D. Sumner, nationally acclaimed as the “world’s lowest bass singer.” Both Donnie and J. D. were closely associated with the late Elvis Presley on both his stage appearances and his recordings.
Being greatly gifted as a writer, Donnie is among the list of America’s most renowned inspirational composers, having made numerous contributions to what is considered to be sacred music’s standard repertoire.
Donnie’s professional career began in the early ’60s. In 1965 he became the lead vocalist and arranger for J. D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet and continued in that position for nearly eight years. In 1970, while with the Stamps, Donnie received the “Dove Award” for “Gospel Song of the Year” with his composition, “The Night Before Easter.” During his years of service as a “Stamp,” Donnie was also awarded the SESAC AWARD as Best Country Songwriter in 1969 and was nominated in 1970 for a “Grammy Award” by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Science in the category of “Country Song of the Year” for his work entitled, “The Things That Matter.”
During the last three years that he spent with the “Stamps,” the group was hired by Elvis as backup vocalists on stage and recordings. During this time Donnie appeared on the worldwide satellite television spectacular, “Aloha From Hawaii” and was featured vocalist on the documentary “Elvis on Tour,” singing “The Lighthouse.”
After resigning from the “Stamps,” Donnie formed his own group, “Voice Inc.” Their success took them to “The Grand Ole Opry” where they were resident members for a year before being again hired by Elvis (1973), and for three years Donnie was a constant houseguest, companion and arranger, and associate musician to his friend Elvis. Donnie was responsible for all of the Elvis vocal arrangements during this time and on a regular nightly basis would perform “gospel tunes” to Elvis in private “living room” sessions at Elvis’ request. Elvis recorded two of Donnie’s country songs, “Mr. Song Man” and “I Miss You.”
Voice Inc. was the opening act for Elvis during this time as well as being backup vocalists.
Late in 1976, 11 months before the death of Elvis, Donnie underwent a crucial emotional and drug-related crisis and subsequent spiritual “New Birth.” He resigned his position with Elvis and became actively involved in the pursuit of a “faith walk with Christ Jesus.”
His subsequent retirement from what he termed as “show business” was a new beginning. He formed a music firm (Spirit and Associates) and devoted his life to faithful discipleship and growth in the grace and knowledge of his Lord. He was praise and worship leader in one of Nashville’s foremost full—gospel churches.
In 1979, with this growth period behind him, Donnie entered into “total Christian service” and full-time ministry.
His services are always uplifting, thought provoking, and soul stirring. Pastor Joe figures, “Anybody who turns down this opportunity to worship with Donnie and Marty Sumner just didn’t want to be blessed.”
10:30 a.m…Donnie will sing and preach in the morning worship service. You are welcome.
5-6 p.m.…Fish Fry with Donnie and Marty Sumner. The serving will begin at 5 p.m.
In the Fellowship Hall of First Baptist Church, 301 E. East St., Washington Court House. You are welcome.
7 p.m…Concert with Donnie Sumner in the sanctuary. No tickets necessary; a free will offering will be received for the artist.