Supernals launch Encore Live tour

Sandra ClarkOur Town Faith

The Rev. Tim Hopkins shares an exciting event for those who love Southern Gospel music.

The Supernals will sing at Beaver Dam Baptist Church, 4328 Emory Road in Halls, at 6 p.m. Sunday, April 14. The event is free for all ages. Encore Live tour schedule here.

The Supernals formed in 1967 when Jerry Garner and Ronnie Johnson met in the post office in Lenoir City, Tennessee, and discovered a mutual love for gospel music.

They soon began the ministry of the Supernals. Now Garner’s sons, Mark and Preston Garner, along with friends Donnie “Pudge” Smith, Ray Scarbrough, Jeff Ingram and Mark Phillips carry on the ministry.

You might wonder how six guys can form a quartet. You’ll have to come and find out.

In their website bios, Mark Garner recalls 50 years of training for his role as tenor singer and operations manager. He says he both endured and enjoyed his father’s training. He serves to preserve the legacy of his father, who was pastor at Pleasant View Baptist Church in Alcoa, Tennessee, and his wife, Sherry, who sang with the group for a time.

Preston Garner handles baritone vocals and is events manager for the group. An accomplished percussionist, Preston was recruited by his father in the mid-1980s to play drums. He eventually assumed the baritone, road manager and concert MC responsibilities. Preston has served as interim minister of music at First Baptist Church, Morristown, Tennessee, and is supported by his wife, Kellie, their children and grandchildren.

Donnie “Pudge” Smith is the group’s pianist who also handles vocal and band arrangements. He joined the Supernals in the late 1970s. His signature piano style is closely identified with the Supernal music ministry. Pudge serves as pianist at New Hope Baptist Church in Maryville, Tennessee, and is supported by his wife, Patti, their children and grandchildren.

Ray Scarbrough sings lead vocals, plays bass guitar and serves as production manager. He joined the group in the mid-1980s, first on bass guitar and eventually accepting the challenge of replacing lead vocalist and founder Ronnie Johnson. An accomplished songwriter, his work comprises most of the songs in the Supernals repertoire over the last 40 years. Ray serves as senior adult ministry director at Fairview Knox Church, Emory Road near Harbison’s Crossroads. He is supported by his wife, Candy, their children and grandchildren.

Jeff Ingram sings bass for the Supernals, having joined in the late 1980s as drummer. His calm demeanor exemplifies a life well lived, at peace, knit and bonded to his friends and beloved by his Supernal brothers, according to the website. Jeff serves in the music department of Faith Baptist Church in Jefferson City, Tennessee, supported by his wife, Sheila, their children and grandchildren.

Mark Phillips, the newest member, is percussionist and lead audio technician. He sometimes plays bass guitar, joins the singing or simply runs the sound. He owns WaveSound Productions in Maryville, Tennessee. Mark attends The Meadow Church in Maryville and is supported by his wife, Allison, their children and grandchildren.


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