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The Hill Country Gospel Music Network

Gordon Wilkison

Sound | 1990s

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  •  St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Pflugerville 
  •  Dede Chadwell sings “He Set me Free,” originally by Connie Smith 
  •  J. D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet sing "An American Trilogy," a song popularized by Elvis Presley. J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet were Presley's backup singers from 1971 until Presley's death in 1977. Sumner is featured on the recording of Elvis Presley's song "Way Down," where Sumner sings the final bass note. Sumner also sang at Presley's funeral. 
  •  J.D. Sumner held the Guinness World Record for lowest bass note for 18 years. His vocal range extended below the lowest playable note on a piano, reaching a G0. Sumner was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame in 1997.  
  •  The Men of Music sing "Lonesome Road" originally by Nathaniel Shilkret and Gene Austin. 
  •  Bass singer Mike Bullock led the Men of Music from 2002 to 2006 when the group disbanded. To his right is Cleon Yates who led the band from it's founding in 1995 until 2002. 
 
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Broadcast on Christian satellite stations from 1999 to 2002, the Hill Country Gospel Music Network was a half-hour television program shot on location in the region. This partial episode features performances by Dede Chadwell, J. D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet, and the Men of Music. Special thanks to Josh Brunelli and Daniel Resler for their help cataloging this film.
Gordon Wilkison began work as a cameraman at the local Austin television station KTBC (now FOX 7) during 1952, its first year of operation. At the time the station was owned by the Texas Broadcasting Company, which was owned by Senator Lyndon B. and Lady Bird Johnson. This relationship would continue to shape Wilkison's career well into the next decades. During the Johnson administration, Wilkison covered the president's visits to Texas, preparing material for national and international news correspondents. 
 
A particularly notable moment in his career occurred on August 1, 1966, when Wilkison and KTBC reporter Neal Spelce risked their lives to capture footage of the Tower shooting at the University of Texas at Austin. 
 
Wilkison was also the General Manager of Photo Processors at the LBJ Broadcasting Corporation, which he later took over and renamed Cenetex Film Labs. In addition to his camera work and film processing, his work at the station also included direction of a number of television film productions.
 
Outside of KTBC, Wilkison shot, edited, and processed Longhorn football game footage for the University of Texas at Austin, a partnership that lasted nearly 30 years.    
 
Recognizing the historical value of film and news footage, Wilkison kept the material, later contributing hundreds of reels to the Texas Archive of the Moving Image's collection.