Monday, July 21, 2014

After nearly six decades, Charlotte gospel group releases debut

The Charlotte-based vocal ensemble Men Standing for Christ was founded in 1956 after pastor Dr. Leon C. Riddick asked one of his deacons to prepare a men's choir for Sunday service on Father's Day. It would be almost 60 years before the longstanding gospel group would record an album.

"Men Standing for Chris Live from the Joy Performance Center" was recorded over two shows in Kings Mountain in 2013 and 2014 when the group played award nominated, Cherryville-based bluegrass-gospel couple Darin & Brooke Aldridge's annual festival. The recording was made at the behest of longtime fan Rick Dancy, who presents concerts at the Joy.

"I've loved Men Standing For Christ for twenty-plus years and hoped to find a way to expose them to more people," says Dancy via email.

He says the 20-member vocal group was apprehensive about releasing an album, but allowed him to record the April 2013 set. He did so again during their return in April 2014 and combined the best of both recordings for the live release. All 500 copies are almost sold out and the traditional group does not yet have a website where fans can buy copies. For now you can email MSFC director Gary Carter at to purchase one.

"They are regular people using their talent to continue a musical tradition and to profess their faith," says Dancy. "Their type of music has always been one of my favorites and I am so glad that these guys are preserving it for us."