for Southern Gospel music plain to see
By Kayla Rinker
POWELL–Duane Garren has dedicated his life and career to promoting the truth and promises of the Gospel…literally.
For the last ten years he has been the director of marketing for the Albert E. Brumley and Sons Music Group, a Southern Gospel publishing company located in Powell.
“Some of our company’s bigger hits include ‘I’ll Fly Away’ and ‘Turn Your Radio On,’” Garren said. “We also have the copyright for ‘Victory in Jesus,’ (which) everyone knows is a pretty important Southern Baptist song.”
In addition to assisting CEO Robert Brumley with the everyday activities of running the Brumley Music Group, Garren spends much of his time organizing and preparing for the annual Brumley Gospel Sing held each year in Lebanon.
“It’s always been a pretty big deal in the Southern Gospel world,” Garren said. “We moved it to Lebanon in 2006 and this year was its 40th year and it’s still going strong.”
Garren is also a member of the Southern Gospel Music Association Advisory Board which is located at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. He also spends several weekends throughout the year emceeing Gospel concerts and multi-evening Gospel events in the Midwest.
“Actually I just got back working all week at the Southern Gospel Picnic at Silver Dollar City emceeing six shows a day,” he said. “In October we will also be doing a concert with The Lesters at Meramec Caverns in Stanton.”
The Lesters, incidentally, is the group that helped Garren get his start in the Gospel music business. He was only 18 years old when he started driving the tour bus for the musically talented family.
“After a couple years of driving I started running the sound board for them,” he said. “From there I started doing some booking and promotion work for them until I was able to move forward with Brumley.”
Though the Gospel music business keeps Garren very busy, it in no way compares with his responsibilities at home. He has been married to the former Micki McCune (singer/performer with The McCunes) for four years and the couple has three children: 2-year-old twins Andy and Allie, and Macy, 11 months.
“It works out most times to just travel with them, especially when we have multiple day events,” he said. “But the nice thing is that all of them are Gospel events so I don’t worry about our kids even at the big concerts and festivals. Everywhere we go is very family friendly and it’s nice not to have to worry.”
When they are not traveling across the Midwest promoting and emceeing, Garren and his family reside in Monett. He said one of the greatest things about being home is being able to attend their home church, New Site Baptist.
“It’s unfortunate that we have such sporadic attendance because we really love being at New Site,” he said. “The fact is, though, that we are more likely to attend New Site on Wednesday nights than on Sunday mornings. Some weekends we are able to attend my father-in-law’s church, Hopewell Baptist, in Mountain Grove. But truly we call New Site home.”
Garren has a deep passion for his family and for Southern Gospel music. In a recent article in the Southern Gospel Music magazine, Singing News, Garren urges Gospel music lovers everywhere to support this American-made music tradition.
“The next generation of Gospel legends is coming on, and it’s up to all of us to do what we can to keep this music alive and growing,” he said. “Fans need to invite someone to a concert. Personally, I’ve never known anyone to come to a Southern Gospel music concert and not leave loving it.”