Spotlight: The Jones Family Singers

9pm, Central Presbyterian Church

Spotlight: The Jones Family Singers

With a 4pm performance at the Holman Street Baptist Church in Houston on his mind, Dr. Fred Allen Jones stopped his Saturday correspondence on the computer to reflect on his good fortune. As patriarch and leader of the Jones Family Singers, he's grateful 2005 was good to the Bay City gospel group and 2006 looks better.

"We've got a new project out," he says. "We've been able to play new venues like the Austin City Limits Music Festival and South by Southwest. We're going back on BET for Dr. Bobby Jones' show. So many doors are opening!"

Three generations of Joneses step up to the microphone every time the group performs. Five of the six daughters of Dr. Jones and his wife, Sarah – Alexis, Ernestine, Velma, Trelle, and Sabrina – sing soprano, alto, and tenor. Son Fred Jones Jr. plays lead guitar, Alexis' husband, Stephone Roberts, is the bassist, and Sabrina's 12-year-old son plays drums. It's obvious from his tone on the telephone that he's deeply proud of the accomplishments of the family in all areas. He also acknowledges that while he found the Lord at age 12, there were a couple years there in Houston at age 18 ...

"I found another crowd and went that way for about two years," he says. "I quickly decided that was not for me. I went back home to my roots, to the church, and I've been there ever since."

So what's the difference between performing for a church congregation and a music conference? Very little, Dr. Jones thinks, noting, "The venues are different, the surroundings are different, but the constant is the people. I'd like people to know it would be a thrill for them to walk up and shake our hand. I want to show my appreciation for them supporting South by Southwest and all that it tries to accomplish."

Somebody cry Amen!

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