From California ... and now Rockport!

The Crimson River Quartet, and Rick Moore, far right, has been a staple at the Rockport Gospel Music Festival for 21 years. Moore now lives in Rockport.

“Are you glad to see The Crimson River Quartet here in Rockport, TX?”

For 21 Januarys I made that announcement from the stage of The Rockport Gospel Music Festival, and I’m looking forward to making it again when the Festival returns to Rockport Jan. 7-9 at First Baptist Church.

This year, however, will be a little different.

For 21 years I’d get up early at my house in California and fly to Texas for the Festival. Over the years I flew more than 75,000 miles to and from Rockport, but this year I’ll get up that first day and just drive 2½ miles from my house to the church. You see, in June of this year my wife and I decided to retire to Rockport and buy a house here. We’ve loved every minute of it (even the week in July when it didn’t stop raining or the 120 degree heat indexes in September). It’s all been good.

When we were first asked to come here for the 1999 Festival we had no idea it would become a long-running annual event. In fact, I had to look Rockport up on a map because I had no idea where it was. I’m glad we took a chance and made that first trip.

The Festival, hosted by Gary Howard and The Gospel Force Quartet from Rockport, will celebrate its 25th year in 2022.

Hurricane Harvey and COVID forced cancellations in 2018 and 2021, but we’re glad the Festival can once again bring great gospel artists and music to the area.

In addition to The Crimson River Quartet, this year’s Festival includes The McNeills, The Kinsmen Quartet from Arkansas, Cheryl Golden, Patrick and Patti McLead, Brian Arnold, The DeLawders, and others.

The Festival begins Friday, Jan. 7 at 6 p.m., continues all day Saturday, Jan. 8 beginning at 11 a.m., and concludes with a special concert featuring The Crimson River Quartet, The DeLawders, and the First Baptist Church Sanctuary Choir at 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 9.

Everything is held at First Baptist Church (1515 N. Live Oak St.).

And, admission is free!

Come by and say hi – I enjoy getting to meet my new neighbors.

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