Arts & Entertainment

Former music teacher plans concert to celebrate new CD

Mel Haug spent many years at Pasco High School nurturing and inspiring students to embrace music.

He gave up his teaching post last year, but he didn't give up his love of music.

But this teacher, minister, father of two, husband of one isn't wasting time in retirement.

Besides ministering to The Living Room Community Church congregation in Kennewick, he also found time to do something he has always wanted to do -- record a gospel music album.

"I sing Christian gospel music because it is who I am," Haug said. "I grew up in the Christian faith and along with my love for the Lord music became my passion and expression of my faith."

To celebrate the album's release, Haug will perform a concert starting at 7 p.m. Nov. 13 in the Gregson Auditorium at Pasco High.

"I am thrilled to share my love of gospel music on my new CD, God's Unchanging Hand," he said. "Gospel music has always been very meaningful to me because it has great lyrics of faith, it's fun and has always been what I love to sing the most.

"Whether it be a hymn, ballad or foot-stompin', gospel-feeling song, it stirs something inside me like nothing else."

The new CD packs enough punch to please any music taste. The music oozes with a bluesy sound, which Haug said is what gospel music is really all about.

"Gospel is a little bluesy, and a little country and definitely tells a story," he said. "It's what I love about it."

Haug recruited three Los Angeles musicians -- Mark Levang on keyboards, Bob Somma on guitar and Tim Jaquette on bass -- as his backup band.

Jaquette also engineered and mixed the new CD with the help of Jon McCarns-Yolland from Tri-Cities.

The L.A. musicians will perform with Haug at the Nov. 13 concert. Also performing will be Tri-City musicians Doug Norman on drums and Frazier Wambeke on keyboards, as well as singers Denise Haug, Joey Haug, Monte Ingersoll, Russ Prince, Corey Lester, Brad Barber and Julissa Sydnor.

"My inspiration for this venture came last year while I was speaking at my church," Haug said. "In that message, I presented my own bucket list, and one of those items was to record a professionally produced album."

He was encouraged to pursue that dream by his wife Denise and good friend Ingersoll.

"The results have been simply amazing to me, far better than I ever imagined," Haug said. "I am so excited about this album and have so many people to thank for helping to make it all happen."

Admission to the show is $10. God's Unchanging Hand also will be available for purchase at the concert. Cost is $12.