Southern gospel group in concert at Village

Special to The Log
Dove Award winning Southern gospel group Karen Peck and New River will perform at 6 p.m. Feb. 18 at Village Baptist Church. [CONTRIBUTED PHOTO]

Karen Peck and New River, a three-time Grammy Award nominated and three-time GMA Dove Award winning Southern gospel group, will perform at 6 p.m. Feb. 18 at Village Baptist Church in Destin. Doors open at 5. Admission is free, and a love offering will be accepted during the concert.

Karen’s soprano voice has made its way into the hearts of gospel music lovers across the country and garnered an unprecedented 11 Favorite Soprano Fan Awards from the readers of The Singing News Magazine, Southern gospel music’s leading fan and trade publication.

Karen, Susan and Jeff have also received many awards from other magazine publications and websites. Over the past four years, New River has had six consecutive No. 1 songs in Southern Gospel Music. In addition, their current album, "Revival," has had two consecutive No. 1 songs with "Revival" and "Finish Well."

With appearances on such prestigious stages as The Grand Ole Opry, The Gaither Homecoming concerts, Opryland Theme Park, Dollywood and Six Flags Over Georgia, New River has firmly established their place at the forefront of Southern gospel music. Over the past decade, they have been featured on many television networks, with appearances on TBN’s "Praise The Lord," the Grand Ole Opry Live and the popular Gaither Gospel video series.

The youngest of three daughters, Karen was exposed to the traditional sounds of gospel music at a very early age. Her parents often took her and her sisters, Susan and Sandra, to the all-night sings in Atlanta, and these concerts left an indelible mark on the youngsters who made a pact that someday they would share a musical ministry of their own.

One of the groups often featured at the Atlanta concerts was The Lefevres, who later became known as The Nelons. Karen had aspirations of singing with this talented family. In fact, that aspiration became her greatest desire, and in 1981, this dream became a reality when Karen was invited to travel with them. She remained with The Nelons for 10 years, gaining the respect of industry peers and fans alike with her exceptional vocal ability and caring personality.

Finally in 1991, the realization of yet another dream came to pass when Karen and her sister, Susan, with Karen’s husband Rickey, organized the musical entourage of Karen Peck and New River. Today the New River team consists vocally of Karen, Susan, and Jeff Hawes. Additionally, Karen’s husband, Rickey, serves as the group’s road manager and sound technician, Karen and Rickey's son, Matthew, plays guitar, and their daughter, Kari, is the group's product manager and multi-media coordinator, making New River a complete family affair. Susan’s husband, David, is the founder and owner of the Jackson Steel Guitar Company.

New River sets a new standard for musical perfection with rich vocal harmony that is shaded with the sophistication of Southern Gospel, country and progressive musical sounds. New River today stands not only as a talented and successful recording artist, but more importantly, effective messengers presenting the Gospel, through Jesus Christ.