One of the highest privileges I’ve had as a writer was to interview Bill and Gloria Gaither in February 2008. Indianapolis Monthly Magazine had assigned me a profile to write about the Gaithers and they had consented to have me interview them at their store, Gaither Family Resources, in Alexandria, IN.
The dozens of Christian songs written and recorded by the Gaithers had been played around my house since I was 10 years old (at that time there were dozens; now there are hundreds!). I loved their music and considered them some of the most fascinating people I could meet. They were brilliant songwriters and entrepeneurs in the music business. Yet they were willing to meet with me. I was humbled by that and the resulting interview. The article appeared in IM August 2008. It is too long to print in its entirety here; snippets of information you might not know about the Gaithers are below.
Bill and Gloria Gaither
They are such articulate, good listeners, and speak so often of the importance of an education, that it is not hard to imagine Bill and Gloria Gaither as teachers presiding over homerooms, sponsoring after-school clubs, and chaperoning proms.
The couple was, in fact, all that and more—for a time. But Bill had a little something on the side he just couldn’t kick. Rock-n-roll may be the devil’s music, but southern gospel has a strong lure, too. So in the early 1960s, after eight years of teaching English, followed his urge, quit school and got his band back together
Gloria eventually joined the Bill Gaither Trio, too, and by 1967 they had left their day jobs behind.
Today the couple is among the most influential forces in Christian music. Perhaps more telling, in this day and age, is that they have reach—a brand. The pair has won dozens of Grammys and Dove Awards (the equivalent of Grammys presented by the Gospel Music Association) for many of the 700 songs they have composed (Gloria writes the lyrics, Bill, the music).
Six of their songs appear in hymnals and have become Christian standards.
They were the first recipients of the “Christian Songwriter of the Century” award by American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) in 2000. Last year they played 62 weekend concerts in NBA-sized arenas. Their weekly Gaither Music Hour can be seen on nearly a dozen TV stations by approximately 75 million people each year.
Bill’s Homecoming Radio program airs on Sirius and Armed Forces Network radio on approximately 1,000 stations.
Meanwhile, Gloria, the author of 40 books, manages a 5,000-square-foot retail store, and publishes a monthly magazine.
But at ages when many people would be thinking of slowing down, Bill, 72, and Gloria, 66 are experiencing what may be the most productive time of their lives. From their home in Alexandria, Indiana, they have revived and redefined the southern gospel genre. And they’re not done yet…
(This is about one-third of the original article. Send me an email if you’d like to see the remainder.)