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Musician Squire Parsons Jr. has gained national renown in the field of gospel music as a singer and songwriter. Parsons was born April 4, 1948, in Newton, Roane County. He attended Spencer High School and is a 1970 graduate of West Virginia Institute of Technology, where he earned a degree in music. In 1975, he became the baritone singer for the Kingsmen Quartet, thus launching his public singing career. Parsons, no longer with the Kingsmen, is best known for his 1981 hit, ‘‘Sweet Beulah Land,’’ which was voted favorite song of the year by Singing News, a gospel music publication. He has written numerous other modern classics, including ‘‘Master of the Sea,’’ ‘‘The Broken Rose,’’ ‘‘Oh, What a Moment,’’ and ‘‘He Came to Me.’’ All told, Parsons has written more than 600 gospel songs.

He has been voted Favorite Baritone two years, and Favorite Gospel Songwriter five years in the Singing News annual competition. Squire Parsons and his wife, Linda, live in Leicester, North Carolina. They have four children.

According to an article in the 2016 St. Augustine Record, the inspiration for “Sweet Beulah Land” came from his childhood church in Newton. He remembered his father leading the congregation in singing “Is Not This the Land of Beulah?” He recalled, “One morning, years later, as I was driving to my high school teaching job, my mind drifted back to a service in our little church. As I drove along I was humming the old song about ‘Beulah Land,’ which I had learned from the hymnal years earlier. As I topped one of the beautiful West Virginia mountains, I faced a brilliant sun in all of its glory. My thoughts continued to be about the singing in our little Newton church, but this time it was a different song—one that I had never heard or sung before.”

This Article was written by Skip Johnson

Last Revised on April 04, 2023


Sources

Story behind the song: 'Sweet Beulah Land'. St. Augustine Record, March 3, 2016.

Cite This Article

Johnson, Skip "Squire Parsons." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 04 April 2023. Web. 18 May 2024.

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