LARNED — For as long as Emma Jeanne Bradley of Larned can remember, Thanksgiving has been her favorite holiday.
Bradley’s love of Thanksgiving features the annual gathering of the Bradley clan for a gospel performance the day after Thanksgiving. The Bradley family will perform at 7 p.m. Friday at the Escue Chapel CME Church, 1220 Carroll Street, in Larned. They’ve performed at the church for about 15 years.
“Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday,” Bradley said. “I believe you should give thanks every day. But since we are musical, this is our way of giving thanks and sharings our blessings with others. It’s a musical gift that has been given to us — something to be shared .”
Emma remembers her father Horace Smith taught her the gift of gospel music.
“My father taught us how to harmonize,” she said. “He’d brag about us.”
Emma Jeanne Bradley said her family became interested in singing after her three oldest girls started singing in the church choir. Her sons and daughters are Larned High School graduates.
“This is our family tradition that has grown over the years. This is our annual program to give thanks,” she said. “It gives the family a chance to sing what we enjoy doing. Over the years, the family group has developed their own unique style. They started singing with their cousins and enjoy it. They’ve been singing for a long time.”
Several family members reside in Wichita and Larned while others reside out of state.
Singers who have performed in the past include Emma’s sons, Jay Bradley, Damon Bradley, who will also play drums; and Chris Bradley; and her daughters, Gina Bradley, Amy Bradley, Jo K. Bradley and Angie Bradley, Pamela (Bradley) Byrd.
Damon Bradley’s daughter, Stacey, and Chris Bradley’s daughter, Lauren, have also performed in the past.
“We consider it a gift from God,” Emma said. “I sang for years. Now, I get to sit back and listen.”
Emma said the selections include older gospel music and contemporary selections.
New featured songs include “We Are Glad,” by Joe Pace; “None Like You,” by Kevin Davidson and “We Shall Receive.”
Other past favorites have included, “How Great Is Our God,” by Chris Tomlin; “Nobody Greater,” by Vashawn Mitchell; “Just Want To Praise You,” by Maurette Brown Clark; “Another Blessing,” by Melvin and Lee Williams; “Let The Church Say Amen,” by Andrea Crouch; “His Blood Still Works” by Vashawn Mitchell; and “God Showed Me Favor.”
Other family favorites are, “There’s a Leak in This Old Building,” by Lashun Pace; “I Tell It,” and “I’m Grateful,” which has been recorded by Mahalia Jackson.
The public is invited to come and enjoy an evening of praise in song and dance as the family gives thanks for what the Lord has done for them. The Bradleys invite anyone who has an attitude of gratitude to join in the celebration of Thanksgiving.