Larnell Starkey & The Spiritual Seven Perform in Monterey on October 9


Larnell Starkey and The Spiritual Seven perform in Monterey on Saturday.  They are a gospel group that got started 52 years ago.  Dar Alexander is one of the four original members that’s still in the group today.

“My three older brothers, Larnell, Walter and Danny, and two of my cousins actually started in 1968 and they were going around playing at house parties and they were singing R&B cover songs,” says Alexander.  “Then my Mom got wind of that and my Mom said ‘Wait a minute. No more.’, because our Mom was very religious, and my Mom said ‘If you all are going to sing, you will no longer sing R&B. You’re gonna sing gospel music from this day forward, or else you will not sing anymore.’  And that’s when my brothers started the gospel group.”

Music cut –  “I’ll Fly Away”

“The audience can expect to hear some traditional gospel music that contributes to some influences such as Thomas Dorsey’s music, James Cleveland style music, Cassietta George,” says Alexander.  “We have original pieces that we have arranged and written ourselves and we also do a little bit of acapella.  We do a little bit of contemporary gospel, so it’s a variety, but it’s mostly traditional style quartet.”

Music cut –  “Don’t Give Up”

“We believe in God,” says Alexander.  “We were raised to believe in God and we were taught to believe in God and then we’ve learned to believe in God.   We love what we do.  We have learned over the years that music is a language of diversity and it can bring all different types of people together, regardless of race, creed, color or denomination.  So, it’s rewarding to us.  We love what we do.  We’re just a family group.  We’re part of Virginia’s history, because we were born and raised in Virginia.  Some of our kids play instruments in our group now along with the originals.  We sing something for children, we sing something for adults, we sing something that leaves a positive message to anyone that happens to experience any of our shows that we sing at and perform at.  Come out to our show and see what we do.  We have a testimony, we’ve been through a lot in our lives, a lot of sickness and we have a powerful story to share, a positive story to share with them.”

The Highland County Arts Council is presenting the Larnell Starkey and The Spiritual Seven performance Saturday, October 9, at 2pm at The Highland Center in Monterey.  Tickets are $10 at the door and information about group discounts is available by contacting the Arts Council through it’s Facebook page.

The Highland County Arts Council is a supporter of Allegheny Mountain Radio.

The concert is part of the Hands and Harvest Festival, which features activities going on all around Highland County from Friday, October 8 through Sunday, October 10.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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