Award-winning Jeff and Sheri Easter and their family will perform at Calvary Baptist Church at 6:30 p.m. to kick off the 2013 concert series by Woodstock entertainment group Shady Grove Events.
For the third year, Shady Grove has scheduled several upcoming performances at three venues around the county in its mission to bring the finest professional musicians in Southern, country and bluegrass gospel music to north Georgia.
The Easters have a large following and have been nominated for numerous Dove Awards and won six for their Christian music.
In addition, since 1993 they have been a part of the Gaither Homecoming Video Series, which has sold more than 15 million units.
They have received two Grammy nominations along with three Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music Association Awards, two International Country Gospel Music Association awards, five Voice Awards for Song/Single of the Year, two Voice Awards for Christian Country Group, four SGM Fan Fair/USGN awards, seven SGN Scoops Diamond Awards, four Hearts Aflame Awards, and three Cash Box awards.
Sheri has been named the Singing News Favorite Alto 11 times and the Singing News Female Vocalist four times and has won nine voice awards for female artist.
Last year, Sheri was named Alto of the Year by the National Quartet Convention’s inaugural awards.
“When we perform, we want people to leave a little different than when they came in,” Sheri said. “We want them to have a great time smiling, laughing, crying and healing. We want them to know God loves them and that he is in control.”
The Easters both grew up around gospel music, with parents of acclaimed music groups. Jeff’s father is one of the Easter Brothers and Sheri’s mother is a member of the Lewis Family.
They met during a concert at the Albert E. Brumley Sundown to Sunup Gospel Singing in Arkansas in August 1984.
At the time, Jeff was playing bass for the Singing Americans and had previously met Sheri’s mother, Polly Lewis.
While at the Arkansas concert, Jeff reintroduced himself to Lewis, and she then introduced Jeff to her daughter.
Ten months later, Jeff and Sheri were married. For several years, the two traveled and performed with The Lewis Family. But in 1988, Jeff and Sheri decided to chart their own musical path. They haven’t looked back since, with the duo becoming a group.
The Easter’s children travel and perform with the parents, continuing the family’s musical legacy.
“These children love music and have always yearned to be a part (of it), so we always gave them the platform to encourage this love,” Sheri said. “Both Jeff and I remember what it was like to have a desire to sing and play for the people and we want our children to have every opportunity that God offers to them.”
The Easter’s son, Madison Easter, plays electric guitar for the group.
Joining the group with added vocals is Jeff’s and Sheri’s daughter Morgan Easter. When she was only 14, Morgan took over the third vocal part for the group. Before filling the vocal spot, Morgan had already released two albums — the first at age 5, the second at age 9. Her third album, titled “Not Without Love,” was released in 2011.
In 2010, Morgan won Singing News Fan Awards’ Horizon Individual.
The latest addition to the Easter family is Maura Grace Easter, Jeff’s and Sheri’s “twentieth anniversary gift to each other.”
“Whether it’s telling a joke, singing a song, or playing a drum solo, she brings a smile to audiences everywhere,” said a Shady Grove Events press release about Maura Grace.
Landan Smith plays the drums. While attending one of Jeff’s and Sheri’s concerts with his family at age 9, Smith told his family that he’d love to play drums for Jeff and Sheri one day. Smith resides with his family in Covington, where his father is a pastor.
General seating for the May 4 concert is $17. Tickets can be ordered online at www.shadygroveevents.com or sent to the mailing address for Shady Grove Events at P.O. Box 1952.
Two later concerts at Calvary Baptist this year include a performance by Adam Crabb and The Bowling Family on June 22 at 6:30 p.m. and a performance by The Primitive Quartet on Oct. 26 at 6:30 p.m.
Other Shady Grove concerts during the year include performances by Gold City, Christian comedian Mark Lowry, Michael Combs and The Nelons.
Shady Grove’s December season finale will include The Isaacs, Karen Peck & New River and Tim Lovelace.
Those interested in booking with Shady Grove events can call (404) 372-1201 or send an email from the Shady Grove website.
Calvary Baptist is located at 137 Hightower Rd. in Ball Ground.
The other two theater locations for Shady Grove events are First Baptist Canton off of One Mission Point and Canton Theatre in downtown Canton.
For more information on Shady Grove events, visit its website or call (770) 878-4000.