Morehouse Parish has been the home of many talented people who've followed their dreams in music, arts and entertainment, translating their abilities into successful careers. The gospel singing group 11th Hour, who began in the small back roads church Harmony Baptist in Collinston, is one of the many success stories from this area, currently recording their sixth gospel album in North Carolina.
The gospel singing trio -- Amber Eppinette, Candice Jordan and Justin Morphis -- use their voices as instruments to spread God's word through music.
Eppinette, who is the daughter of Harmony Baptist pastor the Rev. Allan Eppinette, began the group in 2006 after her parents' gospel group, Pure Heart, came to an end.
“We sang for years and when we came off the road, Amber still wanted to sing,” said Dara Eppinette, Amber's mother. “That's when she started 11th Hour.”
The group originally consisted of members Amber Eppinnette, Candice Jordan and Dylan Robinson.
Jordan states on the group's website that she prayed for guidance in her decision to join the group.
“We'd sing together and individuals would come to us and say, 'God really used you to speak to my heart,' or 'God has you guys singing together for a purpose -- we can see God all over you,'" she said. “That's when I knew He was the one calling me to this.”
Later on, Robinson left the group to pursue a solo singing career and was replaced by Seth Eppinnette, Amber's brother.
“Then Seth got a job with the Monroe Police Department and Wendy Lowe stepped in,” Dara said. “After Wendy left, Justin came in 2010.”
Dara said the three members of 11th Hour grew up singing around each other.
“Amber and Candice have always been bus babies,” Dara said. “Candice's daddy was Pure Heart's piano player.”
Dara said Morphis's family was also singing during the time Pure Heart was performing.
“We watched him grow up too,” she said.
Morphis reveals on their website that while ministering to the church congregation at Bufford Road Baptist in Richmond, Va., he followed the Lord's calling to join 11th Hour.
“I remembered that when I prayed and asked God if this is what He was calling me to do, I listened, and He answered and opened the door. I stepped through it,” Morphis writes. “I am trusting Him.”
The members of 11th Hour have had much success in their career so far.
“Their fifth album, Gather Round, had the song 'Adam's Fall.' It went to number fifteen on the Singing News Chart and stayed there for two months in a row,” Dara said. “It stayed in the top 80 for approximately seven months.”
Page 2 of 2 - Dara said the group travels around and performs from Thursday to Sunday.
“They've been gone about 60 percent of the year during 2012 so far,” she said. “They do a lot of revivals. They're considered the sleeping giants, but they're becoming very well known.” 11th Hour signed a three year contract on June 25 with Crossroads Music Co.
“That's one of Southern gospel's top music labels,” Dara said. “They produce groups such as the Kingsmen and Mark Bishop.”
Dara said the fame of becoming well known has not affected the members of 11th Hour.
“They're oblivious to it,” she said. “They're ministry focused. They see this as opening more doors for ministry on a larger scale, nationwide.”
Dara said 11th Hour's new album is expected to be released at the end of September.
“They'll perform it during homecoming at the Thomas Jackson Lingo Community Center in Oak Grove ,” she said.
For more information on 11th Hour's albums and touring schedule, visit their Web site at www.11thhourgospelgroup.com.