Steve Adams, an accomplished composer and pianist from Nashville, will perform Easter Sunday at Worthington Church of the Nazarene at 920 Kentucky Ave.
Adams is a longtime friend of the Rev. Paul Neal, pastor of the church. They met at a church Neal was pastoring in the New England area when Adams was part of a quartet that drove three hours to perform. It was one of the earliest performances of what has turned out to be an amazing career in Christian music.
“My brother and I and two teens drove to Springfield, Mass., to sing for a small group of 11 kids,” Adams remembered. “We got 11 bucks and my brother was stopped for speeding.”
Adams chuckled at the memory. “When I think of Paul, I think of how much he owes me in interest for that ticket.”
Adams’ career skyrocketed after that early performance. He has been writing and publishing church music for three decades. He has crossed paths and played with Bill and Gloria Gaither and Doug Oldham and been on the stage during services and crusades involving Billy Graham, Charles Stanley, Henry Blackaby and Jerry Falwell.
“I’ve been blessed,” said Adams, 69. “I’ve been playing in churches since I was 13.”
Adams said he was 10 when he felt the calling to write church music. By 16, he was playing organ and piano for services in churches pastored by his father, Nathan Adams.
He came across the Gaithers at 17 while living in Frankfort, Ind.
“I’d never heard of them, and someone told me if I was interested in writing, I needed to meet this man,” Adams said. “It was very alien to my nature, but I drove the 40 miles, found his address and pulled up. He was putting sheet music in the trunk of an artist’s car.”
Adams said he introduced himself, and Gaither immediately took a liking to him, inviting him into his home for supper.
That led to what has been a lifelong friendship with Gaither and eventually Oldham, who passed away two years ago.
Adams played organ for the Gaithers while he was teaching at a high school in Indiana and they were making stops at area churches and auditoriums.
The Gaithers, Oldham and Henry and Hazel Slaughter are the key people in his life, Adams said. He often filled in for Oldham’s pianist, Mike Duty, when Duty was ill.
“Traveling with Doug was one of the joys of my life,” Adams said.
Adams has written hundreds of pieces and children’s musicals. His song “Peace in the Midst of the Storm” is a favorite. Adams recalled receiving an email from a couple he and his wife helped support as missionaries to Africa. During a conference upon their arrival, “Peace in the Midst of the Storm” was played. “Jan and I both had tears in our eyes just reading the email,” he said.
At the Worthington church, he will do a medley of Easter songs from his musical “Crown the King with Praise,” solo work and songs with his wife, Janet. He will also perform songs from “The Messiah” and music he has loved through the years his son, Craig, put together. Craig Adams is a creative director and arranger at Lifeway Music Resources around the world.
Neal, who took the church for three weeks, is in his fifth year. The church is currently on its fourth building project.
Services at the Worthington church will begin at 10:30 a.m. For more information, call the church at (606) 836-5483.
MARK MAYNARD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2648.