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Joel | Joey | LaBreeska | Trent | Candy

Joel Hemphill

Joel Wesley Hemphill was born in Fresno, California, August 1, 1939 to Beatrice Brown Hemphill and Rev. W.T. Hemphill.

Joel spent his childhood from the age 5 in West Monroe, a small paper mill town in Northeast Louisiana where his father was pastor and founder of a local church. From his earliest memories the music of the church was an important part of his life. Exciting, exuberant, heart-felt singing and preaching laid the foundation that Joel's life is built upon.

Dad Hemphill, Joel's father, a very compassionate and caring man loved to sing. He sang when he was happy and he sang when he was sad. He owned the finest Martin guitar and carried a guitar pick in his pocket at all times, even though he could not play. But he was prepared to have one of his children, including Joel to play whenever he wanted to sing.

When Joel was in his teens, he became one of the church musicians playing the electric guitar and later, after answering his call into the ministry, became a young associate pastor, serving under his father.

On June 28, 1957, just one month before Joel's 18th birthday and immediately following High School graduation Joel & LaBreeska married after a brief courtship. LaBreeska was singing in an evangelistic team with her Uncles Rusty & Howard Goodman and her Aunt Vestal. Their travels had brought them from their home in Evansville, Indiana to northeast Louisiana holding numerous revivals in neighboring towns, which also included Joel's home church in West Monroe.

Shortly after they married Joel & LaBreeska began to launch out into evangelism. Their singing in addition to Joel's preaching became a very important part of Joel's ministry and helped to create a demand at out of state functions such as youth camps, camp meetings and Christian School graduations.

In 1961 just one week before the birth of Candy, their third child, knowing it was a time to settle down, they accepted the pastorate of a small church in Bastrop, La. only 25 miles from W. Monroe. For 10 years they and their children Joey, Trent, and Candy enjoyed a very rewarding and active life of ministry revolving around their home church. However, after about 5 years of pastoral involvement, Joel became restless and discontent with their outreach. The local radio station where they were ministering didn't prove to be very far-reaching, so time was set aside for fasting and prayer and seeking God to enlarge their ministry. Days of fasting, going to the church lying on their faces praying for a greater anointing and gifts immediately brought a gift that neither Joel or LaBreeska had consciously sought for-Songwriting. And within a year it was not unusual to hear one of Joel's songs, sung on radio or T.V. be the various gospel groups that were popular at the time. His first songs were recorded by the Happy Goodman Family, LaBreeska's maternal family, (her mother Gussie Mae was sister to Howard, Rusty, and Sam). Songs such as "Not in a Million Years", "The Eyes of Jesus", "Pity the Man", "I Found a Better Way", "He Filled A Longing", etc.... The gift was so graciously handed to Joel and God sealed it by causing groups such as, The Blackwood Brothers, The Speer Family, The Gaithers, The Florida Boys, The Cathedrals and others, to record the songs that He inspired Joel to write.

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LaBreeska Hemphill

LaBreeska made her debut in gospel music at the age of nine when she first sang on stage with her mother and her mothers family. It was 1949 in the city of Nashville, Tennessee at the famous Ryman Auditorium where the monthly Friday night singings took place.

The Happy Goodman Family had a unique way of presenting the song Looking For A City by featuring each member of the large family (4 brothers & 4 sisters) one by one they appeared from back stage taking the lead on the chorus. Howard and three members of the family began the song as a quartet then when it looked as though the song would end another family member would step onto the stage into the spotlight singing as they came. This was repeated several times until every member of the family wound up on stage including the children. Each child would come out with his or her parent which in LaBreeska's case was her mother.

Born in Flat Creek, Alabama, a small coal mining town, in 1940, to Walter Erskine Rogers and Gussie Mae Goodman Rogers, LaBreeska made her entrance into a world of music. Her dad played guitar for local church services where both families attended and on occasion played for the Goodman Family when they sang specials. He also enjoyed sitting around in the house in the evenings picking and singing old Jimmy Rogers tunes and playing his harmonica.

Deep Christian faith and values were a constant in LaBreeska's life as well as music, thanks to her two spirit-filled grandmothers who raised her. Mama Goodman and Mama Rogers strongly embraced the love of Jesus and family which formed her firm foundation.

Joel & LaBreeska met and married in 1957. They settled in West Monroe where they were very active in Joel's home church. They immediately began launching out in a singing and preaching ministry when Joey, their first born was only six weeks old. Joel & LaBreeska as a duet signed their first recording contract in 1966 with Marvin Norcross and Canaan Records. Canaan was a division of Word, the largest religious recording company at that time. For over thirty years, this couple has continued to encourage, inspire, and bless all who have listened to their music with an unshakable focus on Calvary and the risen Saviour.

Twenty-one of those years were shared with their three talented and dedicated children Joey, Trent, and Candy. Today they have come full circle and just the two of the, are still carrying on with the ministry that they so love and were called to, preaching and singing the gospel. Songs of Restoration and Revival!

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Candy Hemphill-Christmas

Carmel Lynn Hemphill Christmas, better known as Candy, is the youngest child and only daughter of Joel & LaBreeska. From the moment her dad first saw her in the hospital he lovingly called her Candy and that is the name she came home with.

Candy was born the same week her dad became pastor of The Pentecostal Temple Church in Bastrop, La. And was the typical "church baby" for the first years of her life she and her brothers enjoyed a fairly normal existence of school and church activities. When Candy was eleven her family made the decision to move to Nashville, Tennessee where they would become more centrally located, as they were traveling full time.

Within a year of the move Candy and her brothers Joey and Trent began traveling with their parents and going to Evangel Temple School in conjunction with a correspondence course.

At 13 Candy made her first appearance on record when she sang "I Came On Business For The King". The song written by her dad became a favorite and introduced Candy as a promising new talent in Gospel Music. She is also a gifted writer and penned many of the songs that she has recorded such as Open My Eyes and You Make Me Want To Sing.

Now married to Kent Christmas, a dynamic young evangelist, Candy's name ironically became Candy Christmas. She is the proud mother of two children Jasmine age 18 and Nicholas 12. They reside in Nashville, less than 10 minutes from Joel & LaBreeska. Her musical talents include guitar and piano and she is currently participating in the well loved and very popular Gaither Video series.

For more information about Candy's ministry, please visit her website at http://www.candychristmas.com.

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Joey Hemphill

Joel Wesley Hemphill, Jr. better known as Joey, the oldest of the three Hemphill children, was born on August 13, 1958, just 14 months after his parents were married.

Joey began traveling with his parents at the tender age of 10 as their drummer. Before he was taken out of public school in the 6th grade he was flown to concerts many week-ends and for 2 years he was tutored by a retired school teacher in conjunction with a correspondence course. When the Hemphill's made the move from Louisiana to Nashville, Joey was then placed in a Christian school that allowed him to travel and make up the work on the road.

Joey's keen sense of timing and ear for music made him a favorite among other gospel groups from the start. And was called on throughout the night in many concerts to play for those who did not have their own drummer.

Later at the age of 15 he added to the sound of the Hemphill's his rich baritone voice when he began singing with the group. He also proved his hand at writing when his first gospel song Never A Man Spake Like This Man rose to #5 in the nation when he was only 18. Joey's multi talents also include playing guitar and harmonica.

He is now a family man married to Sue Ann Hutson Hemphill, and the father of two darling little girls. Taylor age 15 and Sarah Kate age 10. Joey and his brother Trent also have a thriving bus leasing business in Nashville, Hemphill Brothers Coach, leasing custom coaches to all types of music entertainers.

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Trent Hemphill

Trent Hemphill is a musician, songwriter, business man, husband and father. But despite his hectic schedule he is also an active participant in his home church as pianist for the worship team. Trent has always preferred to be behind the scene with the family group but his spirit and determination was a driving force that kept the group going in difficult times.

Trent started with his family by playing bass guitar when he was 14. By the time he was 16 he had moved to the keyboard and was directing the Hemphill band, which included steel guitar, bass and drums. Known as an "idea" man by his family Trent's input and voice has always been valued when decisions were being made. he knew the "Hemphill Sound" better than anyone and during the production of new recordings Trent was a must. The treatment of a song musically or the way it as delivered had to feel right to him. He co-produced and produced the last several albums recorded by the Hemphill Family and was awarded a Dove in 1985 and 1989. Trent also wrote for and co-produced several heirloom projects with songs "I Know Jesus" and "Then You Came And Made It Right", charting in the top 20 and also his current song "I'm Bound For A City" recorded by the Perry's in 1996.

Bethni Puckett Hemphill, Trent's wife is also well known in Gospel Music circles having worked for record companies and producing videos and television shows including "Homeland Harmony". In 1996 Bethni received the Hearts Aflame Award for her producing skills for the Cathedrals Reunion video. They have 2 adorable children Madeline age 13 and little William Trent II age 8.

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