Horace Jones’ hands flipped through the weathered photo album. Each page contained similar images — a group of well-dressed men gathered together for one reason to praise God.
“That was with the Mighty Golden Harps,” Jones said, tracing his hand over the page.
Jones, a Brunswick native, has been in one gospel group or another for most of his life. It began more than 60 years ago, when he was just 14.
“I started back in 1957, right here in Brunswick. My father was a preacher, and we would go to church. I got interested in singing,” he recalled. “He bought me a guitar and I started playing.”
Jones started finding others who shared his passion for musical worship. Over the years, he began to play more and more.
“I played with the Mighty Golden Harps for about four years. Some of the fellas quit and went into preaching,” Jones said. “So after they quit, we changed our name to the Mighty Jubilaires. That was 57 years ago.”
The group has appeared in countless churches, events and festivals throughout the region throughout their nearly six decades together. They even ventured into prisons to share music.
“We went to sing at a prison in Reidsville. That was an experience,” Jones recalled. “You had to check in and they’d tell you where you could or couldn’t go. But it was good because they really enjoyed the music.”
As Jones continued flipping through his photo album, it became clear that while the clothing may have changed with the various eras, the mission has remained the same.
“It’s about the spirit of God. That’s what it is,” he said, smiling.
It’s a faith that Jones is proud to share with his family, including three of his sons who also sing with him in a different group, Horace Jones and the New Mighty Jubilaires.
“I have three sons, Horace Jones Jr., Kevin Jones and Tony Maxwell,” he said.
While the elder Jones is accustomed to performing, he admits it’s different when he’s on stage with his children.
“It’s a whole lot different being with your family. One thing is they are younger than the originals,” he said with a laugh. “But there’s something (special) about singing with family.”
Jones’ love for his family runs deep, which is why he has organized a benefit for Horace Jones Jr., which will be held at 5 p.m. Nov. 17 at Holy Band of Inspiration Temple, 2401 Norwich St., Brunswick.
In addition the original Jubilaires and the next generation, there will be 10 other groups taking the stage to share music. Those include the Gospel Quintets of Liberty County; His Word Gospelette; Lil Jessie and the Miracles of Jacksonville; and Bro Leon Young and the Angelic Co of Gainesville. Inspirational guests include the Mighty Flames of Joy, the Gospel Resurrection, the Gospel Aires and the Gospel Jewels, all of Brunswick.
It will be a special event for a very personal cause. But sharing the love of music is something Jones willingly does at any time. In fact, he’s released two albums (available on Amazon) and one that is in the works.
“We might get back in the studio this weekend to work on it,” the 76 year old said.
While traveling to concerts and cutting albums might be a tall order, Jones wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I don’t plan on stopping,” he said with a grin.
“But I plan to keep right on doing it.”