A Few Moments With Avalon

by

Charles White


 

Prolific, inspirational and innovative. Within the Christian music industry, one group embodies all of these adjectives: Avalon. A staple in the Christian music industry for almost 10 years, Avalon continues to be a force in Christian music. However, Avalon is not simply about churning out #1 records or garnering awards.

For the past nine years, Avalon has been a musical force. Although there have been changes in their lineup such as the departure of Michael Passons and Cherie Adams, the group has consistently delivered with hits such as The Glory, Testify To Love and I Don’t Wanna Go.

 

Following the departure of Michael Passons in the fall of 2003, Greg Long was offered the chance to join Jody McBrayer, Janna Long and new addition Melissa Green as a member of Avalon. A prolific figure in his own right, Greg Long is no stranger to success. As a solo artist, Greg has amassed eight #1 hits since joining Word Records in 1994.

 

“I am so excited to see what the Lord has for this group,” Greg commented in a recent press release. “…I am reminded now how much fun it is to sing with people whose desire is matched by their talents. It is an honor to be used by God in this ministry called Avalon.”

 

Greg brings to the group not only a strong vocal quality and a proven ability to succeed in the industry but a strong sense of ministry as well. No doubt his strength is due, in part, to his parents who are devout followers of Christ.

 

“I have a lot of respect for my parents,” Greg responded when asked about his role models. “Their faith has been their strength through all the years that I have been around. If they are struggling with something or had trouble with something in their life, they are really honest about it. My parents aren’t people who wear this mask of being Christian.”

 

Although Greg called South Dakota home as a child, he rarely saw it. He mainly lived on the road due to the demands of his father’s ministry. A traveling revival preacher, Greg’s father toured the country speaking at events throughout the United States for the last forty years. 

 

This sense of ministry pervades Greg Long and his band mates. Perhaps this is why Greg is such a great fit for the group. In the words of Long, Avalon is not just about providing entertainment, but also a healing place where people can encounter Christ.

 

“What we hope is that each Avalon record brings a place of healing for people. When you look up the word Avalon in the dictionary, one of the meanings is ‘a healing place’. What Avalon wanted to be about was a place people could come for healing: be it spiritual or a place to escape the constant barrage of things that try to bring us down,” Greg explained. We wanted to become a place of healing, a place of joy, a place of realizing that we don’t have to rely only on ourselves, but really we can rely on God to do things that we can never do.”

 

He is also quick to point out that Avalon’s ability to touch so many lives through their music is a true gift from God. This is a gift that each one of them cherishes.

 

“ Music, for us, is a creative vehicle and that Creator is God. Why wouldn’t we, as Avalon, want to create songs that give praise to the ultimate Creator, the one who created us. It’s taking the creativity inside of us and giving it back to the Creator who gave it to us.”

 

Greg also explained that the music and the ministry of Avalon is about more than the four singers that front the group. To be successful with their ministry and their music, Avalon requires the dedication of numerous people such as songwriters, producers and other staff. “Avalon is not just about the four artists,” Greg stated. “It’s about an amazing team who really care and really work hard.”

 

With three Dove awards, two Grammy nominations and an American Music Award as well as numerous #1 hits and award nominations, Avalon is a very successful musical group. However, it isn’t the awards that make them feel that they have accomplished a great deal. Simply doing what they are called to do is success in and of itself.

 

“I’m not going to lie to you, having #1 songs and winning awards is great,” Greg admitted.  “A person who denies that probably isn’t telling the truth. It doesn’t really do it for you when you are alone and you’re in bed at night. What we feel success is about is doing what we think God has called us to do. We feel this is our mission in life.”

 

Since 1994, Avalon has been a major figure within Christian music.  Despite all of the accolades, the members of Avalon remain quite humble. They realize that they are successful not because of awards, but because of their service to Christ. Through their music, Avalon offers millions the opportunity to encounter a loving, healing God that stands in opposition to the cold, thoughtless world that pervades our everyday experiences. This is a powerful witness that is sorely lacking in our world today.