The final five musical pioneers elected to the South Carolina Gospel Music Hall of Fame by members of the South Carolina Gospel Music Association last month are Marshall Pack, Hovie Lister, Allen Lovelace, Carl Whitman and Joe Brown.
Marshall Pack owned and operated WCKI, a Christian radio station in Greer, South Carolina, for many years until his death. WCKI was the station that provided listeners in the Upstate with the latest in Southern Gospel music. Rev. Pack also pastored a local church and was a talented poet and songwriter. He was known for his ability to write poetry and have it set to music and in many cases appeared with groups to sing and recite some of his work.
In the 1960s the Trav’lers cut an entire project with all of the songs written by Marshall Pack.
Ronny Pack received the award in honor of his father.
Hovie Lister was one of the best known and admired personalities in Southern Gospel music. Hovie grew up in Poe Mill Village in Greenville, South Carolina, and played the piano for several local musical groups before moving to North Carolina to play piano for Connor Hall and the Homeland Harmony Quartet. The quartet later moved to Atlanta and it was there that Hovie formed without a doubt the greatest quartet of all time.
The Statesmen Quartet became nationally known as the best of the best. They won manyawards and were nominated for Grammy’s. Hovie was a talented musician and a master showman. He could affect an audience just by his presence. Using his many God-given talents, this boy from the mill village was not only a pianist, manager and promoter, but he also was a minister serving a church in the Atlanta area for many years while keeping a full concert schedule. His wife, son and daughter were present at the induction ceremony to accept the honor for Hovie.
Allen Lovelace, a familiar name and voice in Upstate, South Carolina, was honored and inducted into the SC Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame. Allen worked many years at WCKI Radio where he hosted one of the longest running radio programs in the Upstate. Along with his radio duties, Allen formed the Southerners Quartet and stayed booked every weekend throughout North and South Carolina. Allen lost his wife several years ago and recently remarried. He and his bride make their home in Piedmont, South Carolina, where he serves as music director for his church.
Carl Whitman currently resides in Greensboro, North Carolina. He was originally from the Easley area of South Carolina. Carl sang in several groups in the area back in the 1950s and 60s. He sang with many of the folks already inducted into the Hall of Fame such as Ken Turner and Charlie Baker.
Carl was one of the original Trav’lers back in 1961. Carl sang the lead part then and has returned recently to once again be a part of the Trav’lers as lead. Carl was a big part of the Trav’lers sound when the group performed on the Bob Poole Program in Greenville. Carl accepted the award in person and sang with the Trav’lers as part of the program.
Joe Brown had an impact on Southern Gospel Music in South Carolina. He lived in Greenville where he was music director of his church and sang with a quartet formed in his church. Later he had the opportunity to start a quartet that was sponsored by a clothing company in Greenville owned by brothers who’s last name was Gay. The group was called the Gay Quartet during the 1940s and 1950s. This group had a Sunday morning radio program on WFBC and traveled all around the Carolinas.
Mr. Brown made appearances on WGGS-TV and in fact his last appearance was at the age of 92. He passed away a few years later. Jake Hess stated in his book that had it not been for Joe Brown he and his group would have starved to death while they called Greenville Home.
Accepting the award for Joe Brown were his daughter Francis Harris and his son Marshall Johnny Mac Brown.