Stewart Varnado expressed on The Dixie Echoes' website and in their newsletter that he is planning to leave the group.
Stewart Varnado says, "I would like to thank the Dixie Echoes for allowing me the opportunity to live out my dream for the past 14 years. I joined the group when I was 17 years old. Randy and Scoot Shelnut have became like family to me, and it has been a blast traveling with some great guys through the years. I realize that when people put out statements saying they want to spend more time at home, it seems to be a cover for unhappiness within the group. That is not the case here. I simply have the desire to come off the road for a while. I wish nothing but the best for the Dixie Echoes, and pray that one day, if it is Gods will, I can return to Gospel music. I have no future plans at the moment and will be filling in for the group until a replacement has been found. Thanks also to the many friends that I have made while traveling! It has been an honor to get to meet so many fine people. I will still be active behind the scenes promoting the music that I love."
Randy Shelnut Jr, who is a third generation member of the group commented in the newsletter, “I just wanted to take a minute to thank Stewart Varnado for his nearly 14 years of service with the Dixie Echoes. Not only is he one of the finest musicians to ever play this music, he's one of the hardest workers I've ever been around. I've never met anyone who loves, or tries harder to promote Southern Gospel Music more than Stewart. I speak for all the guys in the group when I say we are proud of him for following Gods call, and completely respect his decision to leave. It's been an honor to travel with him, play music, and call him my friend.”
The Dixie Echoes group is currently accepting auditions for the pianist position. Those who are interested are welcome to submit their demo CD, MP3 or Youtube videos. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or send mail to 481 Ronda St. Pensacola, Fl 32534.
Regarding the change within the group, The Dixie Echoes wants to comfort their fans saying, “Change is never easy, but the Bible says: To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Sometimes we don't understand change, but we believe God has a perfect plan. Please keep the Dixie Echoes, and Stewart in your prayers.”
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