LEWISTOWN - The family is getting back together.
The Rev. Bernard Carpenter has planned a reunion of local recording artists, including himself, Eddie Piper, Rick Alderton, Dave Hartsock and Cindy Yoder.
The group is calling the concert "Variety with Spice," Carpenter said, chuckling with several of the artists who gathered at Bethel AME to discuss the concert. Carpenter said they are like a family.
The reunion concert will be held at 6 p.m. June 14 at Bethel AME, 23 Juniata St., Lewistown. The concert is free, but an offering will be taken to benefit the church's H.O.P.E. Center. A time of fellowship will be held after the concert.
Carpenter recalled the idea for the concert during a discussion with Alderton.
"We thought about putting together a concert for the people who have supported our ministries through the years," Carpenter said. "To put us all on stage in one concert - we thought it was a great idea."
Eddie Piper, the senior among the group, influenced the others in their music ministry, Carpenter said.
Piper said he has been singing since 1975 when he "retired" from a career in business. With his 20 recorded albums, Piper said he has traveled across the East Coast and Canada.
"People hear you and invite you," Piper said. "So you go a lot of places you never dreamed you'd go."
Carpenter himself has an extensive music background, including being asked to sing with The Marcels as a young man.
"But God had other plans for me," Carpenter said.
After God saved his life in 1981, Carpenter began a music ministry in nursing homes, he said. In 1985, he joined Bethel AME to serve and expand the church and its music program, he said.
Twenty five years later, Carpenter said he has worked to build "hope on the solid rock of God. I was called to sing at this church."
Like Piper, Carpenter encouraged others to minister in music.
"I've been influenced by those who have been doing this longer than me," Yoder said, noting the others in the concert.
Yoder began singing at an early age.
"I'd pick up anything I could find to use as a microphone," Yoder said.
Professionally, she began singing country music in 1985 with encouragement from her pastor.
"Rev. Carpenter would take me around to different churches," Yoder said. "He sent me on my way to fly."
Through difficult experiences in her life, Yoder said she came to trust God.
"I know where he's brought me from and where he's taken me," Yoder said. "That inspires me."
Carpenter thanked two congregation members, Dave Knox and the late John Steele, for their inspiration and vision for the church.
"These people mean something to me, because I believe God sent them into the ministry at Bethel," Carpenter said, a vision he hopes will continue through the concert.