Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


May 10, 2014

Combining two loves

Princeton man joins passion for gospel music, event planning to create business

PRINCETON — Princeton resident Stan Wikle, 60, knows and loves gospel music. He also likes planning events. So in 1995, he combined his two loves to create Stan Wikle gospel Promotions, a business that brings national Christian artists to local venues in the two Virginias.

“I had some background work in Christian radio. Also, with a previous employer a part of my responsibility was to create events like picnics and Christmas dinner for employees. We used a lot of Christian performers. That opened the door to begin thinking about promoting gospel music,” Wikle said.

Since then, Wikle has been able to bring more than 300 concerts to West Virginia, Virginia and eastern Tennessee. His clients range from churches, fairs, festivals, civic organizations, state parks and private businesses.

Wikle has worked with the Tazewell County Fair, the Cole Chevy Mountain Festival, Putnam County Fair and Pipestem Resort State Park.

“Our services include artist selection and scheduling, event publicity, concert site management and master of ceremonies,” Wikle said.

Before the concert date, Wikle puts together posters, communicates with artists, coordinates ticket sales and works with venues. He also produces a newsletter called the Concert Connection, which is sent out through the mail and uploaded to the company’s website six times a year.

On the day of the show, he meets the artists, assists with their load-in, coordinates sound and lights, prepares for door ticket sales and speaks to the audience.

He can only recall one minor setback. An artist’s bus broke down on the way to a concert. They had to reschedule the concert for a later date.

“There are a lot of details to make sure the concert is organized and promoted. It is time consuming and there is a lot going on behind the scenes,” Wikle said.

Wikle promotes about 15 to 20 concerts a year. Most of his concerts feature award-winning artists who have helped build the gospel music genre on radio and through concerts. Some of artists include the Isaacs, Jeff and Sheri Easter, Jason Crabb, Guy Penrod, the Hoppers, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, The Kingdom Heirs and more.

“A favorite of mine was the gospel singing caravan which featured the Blackwood Brothers, Chuck Wagon Gang and the LeFevres Quartet because it reflects the history of gospel music,” Wikle said.

One year short of a 20th anniversary, Wikle said the most attended concert featured Guy Penrod from the Gaither Vocal Band.

Another popular concert brought together the Hoppers with the original Hopper Brothers with Connie.

“The Hopper Brothers no longer tour, but they came out for a special show at the Princeton Church of God,” he said.

Wikle, who is married to wife Donna, is a one-man show with assistance from his son Brian. Wikle grew up as an only child in Peterstown before moving to Princeton as an adult.

He said his childhood was “simple.”

“In addition to my parents, I was influenced by my grandparents. They gave me good guidance as a child,” he said. He attended First United Methodist Church in Rich Creek, Va., with his parents. He remembers developing an interest in gospel music at church. His favorites were the Speer family, founded in 1921, the Cathedral Quartet, who retired in 1964 and the Goodman Family, founded in 1940s.

Wikle attended Narrows High School and in the 10th grade he went to work at WNRV radio station in Narrows, Va. He spent four years at the radio station as an operator on the air and worked a board shift. Wikle was friends with the owner’s sons.

“I had an interest in all kinds of music, but I have liked gospel music most of my life,” he said.

He attended New River Community College in Dublin, Va., and later, went to Bluefield College in Bluefield, Va. In the 90s and in between jobs, he worked at WAMN in Green Valley, a radio station that used a Christian music format.

Throughout his life, he said one thing remains the same.

“There is a rich tradition of gospel and bluegrass music in the area. There is a strong story of faith in the Appalachian Mountains,” Wikle said.

Wikle has four more concerts to promote and work during 2014. Wikle had two reasons why he started his own business and why he keeps trying to bring gospel music to the area.

“The No. 1 reason is the message of the gospel. And No. 2 it provides a wholesome family event,” Wikle said.  

His dream is to host a large weekend event with multiple artists for a two-night concert. For more information, visit

— Contact Jamie Null at

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