Gospel flows from New River

new river

The New River Quartet, (from left) Kim Cannon, Jim Liufau, Steve Banks and Ken Spivey, will perform at the Annual Winterfest Concert at 3 p.m. Feb. 10 at the Life Center at Destin United Methodist Church, 200 Beach Drive. ONE, a small mixed group, and Kim Cannon, soloist, will also perform. Admission is free.

Published: Friday, February 1, 2013 at 12:45 PM.

The New River quartet loves to sing.

“We are really a Southern Gospel quartet that sings a lot of Gaither Vocal Band songs,” the Rev. Kim Cannon, a group member, told The Log. “We love the Lord and love to sing the Gospel of Christ.”

The name New River, Cannon said, came from someone who wore a shirt from the New River clothing company.

“The guys were singing ‘There is a River’ and thought New River would be a great name. They considered Old Stream but thought that New River was a little more positive.”

The group began around 1994 with four men from Destin United Methodist Church — Reed Sampson, Gary Alden, Steve Banks and Jim Liufau.

“Reed was big with barbershop chorus and quartets,” Liufau told The Log. “He also directed the group, and ultimately relocated to Wisconsin to work for the barbershop international organization. He was retired from the Air Force and was a writer for The Log.”

Alden, according to Liufau, was also retired military and served as a mayor of Destin. He relocated with his wife to Sedona, Ariz.

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