The JoyBells Gospel Choir
Time & Location
About The Event
Enjoy a free holiday concert by the JoyBells Gospel Choir
Complimentary warm apple cider, hot chocolate, coffee and bottled water will be available.
Doors open at 7:00pm
Concert starts at 7:30pm
The JoyBells was started in 1951 by James and Lucy Moore in Washington D.C. The group consisted of 20 members singing God’s praises and ministering through song. After the passing of one of the members, Christabelle Wilson, the group decided to take some time off. During that time, other members passed away, some went into the ministry, and some went their separate ways to form their own group. Shelia Tarpley, who is an original member of the Joy Bells and one of the daughters of Mrs. Christabelle Wilson, decided that, after a year or so of not performing, it was time to regroup and get back on the gospel singing circuit!
Mrs. Tarpley, who is also a preacher’s wife, a pianist, an awesome lead vocalist, a mother, and a woman of God, recruited five more singers, Faye Cobbs (sister), Clarnetta “CeCe” Tarpley (niece), Maria Carson (sister), April Bradley and Solangelo “Angel” Hodge (daughters), and a musician Kris Carter (cousin) who was also a pianist. The new JoyBells went about the community and surrounding counties—Franklin, Henry, Pittsylvania, and Patrick—singing the songs of Zion and lifting up the name of Jesus and it wasn’t long before the word got out that these ladies sounded like the renowned, Grammy Award and Steller Awarding winning Clark Sisters. Singing engagements and concert bookings started to increase, a full band was added, drums, lead and bass guitar, and piano; things were looking good and going their way, but it wouldn’t stay that way.
After being together for years and traveling the roads together, the demand for The JoyBells increased but so did the conflicts in the work schedules of its members. This put The JoyBells at a cross roads and forced them to ask some serious questions: Should they just cancel their engagements, seek for a new band, quit, or recreate their sound? The JoyBells took a leap of faith and did something most groups would have never tried. They went a cappella. April was a drummer so she had the beats and tempos in her heart, in her hands, and in her feet; all of the ladies in the group were gifted singers with the ability to sing riffs, three and four part harmonies, soprano, alto, and even tenor. When they combined that with foot stomping and hand clapping, a very unique and distinct sound was created. This new sound transformed the group into their own style of gospel music.
Today, The Joybells reach audiences young and old, the black, the white, and anyone who will give them the opportunity to minister in song. Their influences are The Clark Sisters, The Winans, Commissioned, The Hawkins Singers, Kirk Franklin, The William Brothers, and other gospel sounds. The group is able to take traditional, contemporary, urban contemporary, southern gospel, black gospel, worship songs, and a variety of all other gospel genres, add their own God gifted voices, soulful harmonies, riffs, hand clapping and foot stomping, and transform any song into sounds that’s uniquely their own. They have had the privilege to open up for gospel greats and renowned artists such as The Canton Spirituals, Darrel McFadden, John P. Kee, Doc McKenzie and the Gospel Hi-Lites. One of the high points in their career was performing for the Great Dr. Bobby Jones, who had the longest running Gospel TV show in cable history for over 30 years, and was asked to perform live on his show. Their fan base is increasing and they’re starting to travel more to places like New York, Pittsylvania, D.C., and Georgia. Demand for the group is high and their latest festival was the Folklife Festival at Ferrum College which drew about 20,000 people and have been asked to come back next year.