50 years of singing

Published 7:16 pm Saturday, February 20, 2016

Gregory Lawrence recently marked his 50th year of gospel singing and is working on year 51.



His first solo was “Just a Closer Walk with Thee,” in a children’s day program when he was 6 years old. He grew up on Pitchkettle Road, and a neighbor lady would pile all the neighborhood children into her car and take them to church.

“Everybody was like family then,” he said.

Email newsletter signup

Since that first solo, Lawrence has lent his peaceful tunes to events big and small all over Suffolk, including the annual State of the City, grand openings, weddings, retirements, anniversaries, banquets and more. Lawrence’s voice has even graced the high seas; he once sang during talent night on a cruise to the Bahamas.

“Music is my ministry,” he said. “It’s a way of winning souls to Christ.”

Lawrence said there are some ministers who stay behind the pulpit, but he’s a minister, too.

“Some people who don’t ordinarily go to church will come for the singing,” he said. “They say they are blessed through my singing.”

Lawrence comes from a musical family.

“My mother could sing,” he said, adding that she was president of a choir at their church. “My mom and dad were a great support.”

Aunts, siblings and others are musicians or at least make a good cheering section. And his wife supports him by emceeing his concerts.

He also credits Suffragan Bishop Madison G. Copeland at Greater Sweet Beulah Holiness Church with being an inspiration to him.

“Being a Christian is important to me,” Lawrence said. “I thank God for the 50 years.”