Saturday marked the Cartersville native's promoting debut as he brought the gospel group The Isaacs to his home church, Creekside Fellowship. Receiving five standing ovations, the vocalists drew a sell-out crowd of more than 400 people. In addition to selecting the talent and venue, Fowler also oversaw the concert's marketing and ticket sales.
"We [secured The Isaacs] through an agency up in Tennessee, the Harper agency," said Fowler, owner of Fowler Tire Co. in Cartersville. "Their talent and their ability to perform as they do [was very appealing]. In my consideration, they're probably one of the top groups that there is in bluegrass/gospel music right now. And we wanted the people here in Bartow County to be able to hear them."
Fowler's newest career pursuit is an extension of his lifelong love and involvement in gospel music. After singing baritone with The Reflections, Fowler -- with the encouragement of his pastor -- spearheaded the Creekside Southern Gospel Singing Jubilee about 11 years ago. Featuring various gospel groups, the event brings about 2,000 people annually to Dellinger Park over Labor Day weekend.
"That's the main thing in his life is singing and music," said Michael Abernathy, senior pastor for Creekside Fellowship Church in Cartersville. "He's been singing since he was in high school at Cass High School years ago. He was in the quartet there and I think they won the state championship when he was in high school. And he used to be the song director for me in two different churches. We've probably been together 20 years in church.
"And that is just Herb's life. He is into Southern gospel music. He goes to Kentucky [for the national Southern gospel singing convention]. He's tied to every big singing group in the country. He just loves it. That's his life and his passion. We all are [excited for him]," he said, referring to Fowler following his interests in being a music promoter. "I'm just thrilled for Herb and [his wife] Pat. He's just stepping out there and taking a big step of faith. It's just a great thing for Herb and a great thing for Bartow County."
For Fowler, Saturday's concert was hopefully the first step in seeing his "dream" come to fruition. Along with attracting different musical groups to Bartow in the future, he also hopes to expand the shows to larger venues.
"[Promoting] music, my lifetime dream is ... getting into this," Fowler said, adding he was inspired by his late cousin Wally Fowler, who was a successful Southern gospel singer and music promoter. "We're hoping to do other concerts with other artists and so forth [in the future] and actually not only [hold them at] our churches here but places like The Grand Theatre and Woodland [High School Performing Arts Center] -- some bigger venues. ... [On Saturday], I enjoyed the people that came to the concert. I really did.
"They all were really enthused, just had all kind of spirit about them. They were really enthusiastic about the concert. We actually had some people that came up that didn't have tickets, and we found out that we were not going to have some of the people there that had put the tickets on will call. ... [After] a certain amount of time, we actually let other people have them. And it was almost like it was Christmas in June for them. They were thrilled to death to get to go see them."