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Gospel singer Ray Gates honored in song

Ray Gates knew music.

He could remember the lyrics of most ol’ timey gospels and loved to belt them out with his deep, rich bass voice.

Sadly, that voice was silenced by cancer in 2014.

Gates is remembered fondly each year with a memorial gospel singing in his name, hosted by friends and fellow musicians.

He would have loved the fellowship.

The third annual Ray Gates Memorial Singing will be Saturday at Southway Baptist Church beginning at 4 p.m.

Singers in other gospel groups knew and respected Gates, including close friend Stephanie Reynaud. “He knew all the words to any song,” Reynaud said, “and could minister to anyone.”

Reynaud met Gates while pregnant with her oldest child, Reese, now 18. Reynaud had been singing with her father, C. V. Rushing, who is music minister at Southway Baptist. As he grew, her son Reese traveled with the groups when they sang at various churches, working with the soundboard and as a grip. At age 13, he started singing with his mother and grandfather, whom he does his best to emulate, he said. But Gates was his primary influence in singing bass.

Last year, Reese’s 12-year-old sister Maggie joined the family enterprise, known as the Gloryland Quartet. When Gates passed away, Gloryland was asked to take over a yearly gospel celebration Gates had organized.

After relocating the event to their home church in Brookhaven, the members of Gloryland also renamed it in honor of their departed friend, sending money raised from the event to help the building fund of Galilee Baptist Church, Puckett, where Gates served as minister of music.

The memorial singing is free and open to the public, and features Gloryland Quartet of Brookhaven, Day Three from Mobile, The Riders of Purvis and Answered Prayer and The Camerons, both from the Hattiesburg area.

A love offering will be taken.

For more information, call 601-320-1144 or 601-551-1099.

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