ST. GEORGE — Two of Southern Utah’s most popular musical performers, Eric Dodge and the John Houston Gospel Choir, have confirmed they will appear at the upcoming “Live United LIVE” music festival Oct. 10 at St. George Town Square.
Live United LIVE Program Director Jeffrey Hall announced both performers for the event, which will be free and open to the public. The music festival will be from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. with all the proceeds directed to the charities supported by United Way Dixie.
Dodge, a member of the Country Music Association, has released eight full-length albums and has performed extensively throughout the U.S. and Canada. He released his first single, “Anything for You,” in March of 2006, and quickly saw it reach number nine on the New Music Weekly-Independent Artists chart. He surpassed that feat with the release of his second album, “Why Not Today,” which hit number three on the Amazon.com bestseller list and enjoyed enormous international success, selling in over 15 countries. Additionally, he was recognized as “New Country Star – Best Male Vocalist.”
During his career Dodge has shared the stage with many of country music’s biggest luminaries, including Travis Tritt, Clint Black, Pam Tillis, Carrie Underwood, Justin Moore, Julianne Hough and others. He is also a published author, having penned “Baby Steps to Music Industry Success,” and as a member of the National Speakers Association he is in demand as a keynote presenter across the U.S. Dodge also has been featured in “Country Weekly,” America’s largest country music magazine, and has appeared on multiple television shows.
Dodge’s musical career had an inauspicious start: Aboard a cruise on Sept. 11, 2001, Dodge and his fellow passengers were diverted into international waters in the Gulf of Mexico following the terrorist attacks. While out at sea, Dodge – who’d had a lifelong love of music, but had been paralyzed by stage-fright – decided to overcome his fear of performing and use music to soothe those around him. Stepping up to the microphone in an on-board karaoke bar he sang “The Dance,” made popular by Garth Brooks. The overwhelmingly positive response to his performance convinced Dodge to follow his passion; by 2003 he was singing professionally.
Despite his worldwide success, Dodge has never forgotten his Dixie roots: He is a regular headliner at such events as the St. George Concert in the Park series, and enjoys a significant local following. Educated at Dixie State University, Dodge logged 19 years at Wholesale Electrical Supply in St. George prior to the launch of his music career. Andy Dodge, his brother, accompanies him on guitar.
Journeyman pianist John Houston, one of Dodge’s frequent collaborators, will be joined onstage by his popular and inspiring John Houston Choir at Live United LIVE as well. Houston is another local who has performed with recording industry royalty: After a summer as choir director and backup pianist for Gladys Knight’s Choir in Las Vegas in 2004, Houston was motivated to form his own choral group.
Now in its fourth season and based in Houston’s hometown of Hurricane, the 27-member, all-female ensemble delivers joyful, evocative renderings of original and traditional gospel standards. In addition to Dodge – who produces and records music at The Studio, owned by Houston – Houston has welcomed such guest artists as Mortinette Stephens and many other gospel greats.
Houston regularly delights audiences at the St. George Tabernacle, and has shared his message of love and hope several times with inmates at Purgatory Correctional Facility. Most recently the John Houston Gospel Choir took the stage at the 2015 St. George Arts Festival, and opened the 2014 Southern Utah Songwriters Association fall concert series in Ancestor Square.
“Excitement about Live United LIVE continues to build,” Hall said. “Eric Dodge and the John Houston Gospel Choir never fail to bring a crowd to their feet; they’ll be huge assets in our fundraiser for United Way Dixie. Since both appear in Southern Utah only a few times each year, we’re thrilled that they’re making time to perform for us at our benefit music festival.”
- What: Live United LIVE Music Festival
- When: Oct. 10, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Where: St. George Town Square, 175 E. 200 North, St. George
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