AMBOY - Southern Gospel quartet, the Wanda Mountain Boys from Herculaneum, Mo., will present an outdoor concert at the Shaw Shelter in Amboy City Park on Saturday, Aug. 8 at 6 p.m. This free concert is sponsored by the East Grove Union Church, 449 Reuter Road, Amboy. A free-will offering will be taken for the group to cover their travel and ministry expenses.
All are welcome to attend. Please bring your own lawn chair. For more information, contact Pastor Rick Wulf at (815) 440-5321 or (815) 376-6661.
Southern gospel music has always been known for its smooth harmonies, strong vocals and powerful, straight forward lyrics. For the last 25 years, the Wanda Mountain Boys have displayed all three of these qualities as they established themselves in the gospel music community in the Midwest.
Gary O’Neal is the lead singer and has also assumed the managerial position for the group. He has been involved in gospel music for more than 45 years and has performed with some of the Midwest’s most popular groups. He traveled in full time ministry with the Brashears of Russellville, Ark. and was a founding member of the trio, Solid Gospel based in St. Louis, Mo. O’Neal is also an accomplished songwriter, having his songs recorded by such noted artists as the Lesters, the Dixie Echoes, the Dixie Melody Boys, the Melody Boys Qt., Solid Gospel, the Brashears, and the Chosen Ones. He currently serves as president of the Mid America Gospel Music Association, a position he has held since 2007. In 2017, the Mid America Gospel Music Association presented him with the Lifetime Achievement Award at their annual convention.
Singing tenor for the group is Rick Brown. He has been involved in gospel music for many years, having sung professionally with Naomi and the Segos and Coy Cook and the Premiers. During his time with the Premiers, he performed with Grand Ole Opry Star Billy Walker. He and O’Neal were founding members of Solid Gospel and traveled throughout the United States, releasing six national radio releases. They have also co-written a number of songs including “Wrap Me In Your Arms.” Brown also wrote with noted songwriter, Daryl Williams. Their song, “This Ship Was Made to Sail” was included on the Perry’s 25th Anniversary CD. Before joining the group, Brown was involved in evangelistic work, preaching, and singing in prisons throughout the country and several foreign countries under the umbrella of Joyce Meyer Ministries.
Singing baritone is one of the founders of the group, Claude Johnson. He has been involved in gospel music for over 50 years, having sung with some of the Midwest’s best-known groups, the Gospel Four and the Victory Quartet. In 1990, he helped start the ministry of the Wanda Mountain Boys. He returns to the group after a 2 1/2-year retirement from singing. In 2011, he was presented with the Mid America Gospel Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award.
The newest addition to the group is bass singer, David Jenkins. The addition of Jenkins returns the group to their original format as a male quartet. He grew up as a fan of southern gospel music, following in his father’s footsteps singing bass. Through the years, he has performed with Golden Street Quartet and Higher Power Qt. Jenkins is a welcome addition to the group and is sure to win the hearts of fans with his big bass voice.
The Wanda Mountain Boys travel many miles singing traditional gospel music. They desire to both uplift the Christian by sharing a positive message and a laugh or two as well as take the gospel message to those who need to come to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.