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Ivan Parker will perform Sunday at First United Methodist Church of Spring Hill.
By GAIL HOLLENBECK, Times Correspondent
Published January 19, 2008
SPRING HILL - For gospel recording artist Ivan Parker, performing music is more than just entertaining people. It's a ministry.
"One of the most important things that I love to do on stage is see how a particular song is ministering to someone," Parker said in a recent interview. "When I see how the song is ministering, I know they got it."
Getting it, he said, means that the song is helping someone.
"All the messages of all these songs that I sing are very important to me. I sing a particular song for a reason. Maybe someone is just hurting, and they need a touch of God in their life right now. It's so good to be able to sing a song that I know has really hit home for someone."
Parker will have the opportunity to minister in song Sunday when he presents a concert at First United Methodist Church of Spring Hill.
A veteran performer from the Gaither Homecoming videos and concert series, Parker was voted favorite male performer by Singing News magazine in 2006 and 2007. Recently, his song I Choose from his That Was Then, This Is Now CD became a No. 1 hit in the Top 80 chart of the Singing News. In June 2002, It's True, the title song from one of Parker's CDs, climbed to No. 2 on the magazines' Top 10 list.
Parker performs about 200 concerts a year and has recorded 13 solo CDs. He sings several styles of gospel music, including Southern Gospel and contemporary.
"I love to dabble in various styles of music. I enjoy it all," he said. "In the Gaither Homecoming videos, we're actually rubbing shoulders with the old style from when we were growing up in church. Being able to go back and sing some of those old songs that we haven't sung since we were kids, that is a wonderful thing."
Parker plans to do a variety of songs and styles for the concert here, including singing his current hit song.
The audience Sunday night may be in for a special treat - Parker's newest CD.
"I've got a brand new one called Inseparable. The official release date is in February, but the great news we got yesterday is that I'm going to be receiving it early, and I'll hopefully be able to bring it this weekend."
Parker said his favorite song is Midnight Cry. It impressed him the first time he heard it many years ago, and he continuesto sing it.
"I remember the feeling I had the first time I heard that song," he said. "I just could not get away from the message. It meant a lot to me because it was the message that tugged at my heart the night I gave my heart to the Lord."
Although Parker has performed on many stages in many arenas, he said he enjoys the intimacy of performing in a church setting.
"It's more of a one-on-one. I'm closer to the audience. During intermission, I get to spend a lot more time with the people individually."
Parker said he hopes many people will come to the concert.
"My wish for the people is to be able to have the most wonderful time and just share this joy, which in my opinion is laughter, being able to smile and being able to get yourself out of that rut that you may be going through," he said.
"The other side of that is to be able to spend some time of healing with God. Maybe there's some situation in your life that you just need God to intervene. I hope that there's a song or something that they can get from the concert that will just do exactly that for them."
If you go
First United Methodist Church, 9344 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill, will host gospel recording artist Ivan Parker in concert at 7 p.m. Sunday.
Doors will open at 6 p.m. An offering will be taken in lieu of an admission fee.
For information, call (352) 683-2600. To read more about Parker, visit www.ivanparker.com on the Web.
[Last modified January 18, 2008, 20:22:41]