It’s been 50 years since The Rance Allen Group dramatically changed the tune of gospel music by blending rock and soul into their songs.
That breakthrough move attracted a plethora of fans hearing their tracks on both Christian and secular radio stations. Even now, decades later, their admirers continue to grow as new generations join their elders in following the legendary trio.
And those followers will likely increase tenfold with the recent release of the group’s 25th album and companion DVD, “Live From San Francisco.” The new eleven-song set was recorded live at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium in the Bay area.
The three blood brothers who comprised the group – Thomas, Rance and Steve – remain true to their tradition through tracks such as “All Day Long,” an uplifting song of praise with a jazzy horn arrangement; as well as the ballad, “My Delight” led by Steve Allen; and the quartet-styled stomper, “Hold On.”
Southern California residents can hear The Rance Allen Group in person on Friday, January 26, at the Jacobs Center in San Diego when the trio performs at the Uniting the Community dinner sponsored by Calvary Baptist Church. For information, call (619) 233-6487.
One would expect performing for a half-century might be tiring, however Rance said the effect has been just the opposite. “For us, I think the excitement keeps us going. It just has not died.
“Every time we get a chance to sing something or go to a new place, the excitement actually goes up a little bit more. For us, this is a ministry and we’re reaching out and touching humanity. All of that is a part of what keeps us going,” he said.
Actually, the real key to their career success comes from God, noted Rance. “Psalm 118:23 really explains it – ‘This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in my eyes.’ I couldn’t really picture [my career] happening the way that has, but I am so blessed to be where I am.”
Clearly God’s hand was guiding Rance’s career from childhood. He started preaching at age five. At age nine, he began playing the piano and at age 12, he conquered the guitar. Later in his ministry, he founded New Bethel Church of God in Christ in Toledo, Ohio where he serves as pastor. He is also a jurisdictional bishop overseeing several churches in Michigan.
Rance has enjoyed many memorable moments during his long career, including performing gospel selections before a crowd of 100,000+ at the renowned WattStaxx concert in 1972. Another unforgettable experience occurred in 2015.
“I was invited to the White House and I sang for President Obama and his wife. This moment will stand out for me for the rest of my life. That has to be the most memorable moment in my career.”
Looking towards the future, The Rance Group aim to continue spreading God’s word through their unique style of music with the goal of attracting people to Christ.
“I hope to leave a legacy that really touches humanity. Not only that, but touches them with the word of God, to move towards God and to change a whole lot of people’s lives,” said Rance.