Front Porch Gospel Singing

Written by Teresa Dennard.

Music plays a huge role in Ortigo family

It all started on Robert Ortigo’s 50th birthday. When asked how he wanted to celebrate, he told his family, “Let’s have a big singin’ out there on the porch.” And that’s what they did. Grandparents, kids, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends all gathered to wish Robert happy birthday and to spend the afternoon playing and singing ‘good ole Southern Gospel music.’ It was such a fun event, the decision was made to do it again.  Now in its fourth year, close to 400 people come to enjoy the music and the fellowship.

 Music has played a huge role in the Ortigo family for many years. It started with grandma was a little girl. Her family had gotten a radio and it was always tuned to gospel music. Robert tells the story, “As a little girl, Mama would sit at the window and act like it was a piano and play it and listen to the radio. She said she promised the Lord that if she ever had children, she would see to it that every one of them would take piano lessons. So there were five of us--Randy, Ronny, Robert, Judy, Rodney--and all five of us had to take piano lessons. I took mine in 5th grade from Mrs. Williams. She lived in a house across from Brookshire’s. One day a week we had study hall, so I’d go to my locker and take that piano book and I’d slip it inside my shirt. I’d head out of Baker and run down the Boulevard hoping that nobody would see me with that piano book. That was sissy stuff. I’d do my Turkey in the Straw and Mary Had a Little Lamb and I’d get outta there. I didn’t want to have nothing to do with it, but Mama promised, so I had to.”

Growing up, the Ortigo family was always in church…Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night and Saturday night. “When I was a boy, we’d always go over to Uncle Ropey’s house. He had a big front porch that went all the way across his house. They’d have the piano rolled out there on the porch and all the guitars, bass fiddles, and violins and we’d play and sing to midnight. We loved it. This is what we did for entertainment…we didn’t watch TV. “

The Front Porch Gospel Singing will be held September 1, 2012, at 1:00pm and will continue until dark. Featured groups will be Broken Vessels with Lisa (Ortigo) and Scott Roberts, Heaven’s Echoes, N Him, Weston & Christy Hinson, Jimmy & Debbie Roberts, plus the Ortigo family and other local artists. Mike Goodman will be the emcee. Ortigo says, “We’ve got some very talented people that sing good gospel music, so come out and join us. Rick Rowe from KTBS is scheduled to be there to start the day off.”

Admission is free. Food booths will be provided by area churches, and there will be a bounce house for the kids. The ‘Porch Singing’ is in the Logan community at 2267 FM 3359. For more information, contact Robert Ortigo at 903.622.4348.