Local group N'Spire plays on the Square Friday night

-A A +A
By Alice Du Pont

When you think of "home grown" a certain level of comfort comes to mind. The familiar but yet different. This Friday night the Music in the Square event will feature home-grown talent. Even the group's name "N'Spire" came from Gadsden County resident Darryl Figgers who, when he first heard the group perform, ran up to vocalist LaTrenda Gainous-Goldwire and began hugging her. He repeated several times that the group inspired him.

    The fun starts at 7 p.m. on the east lawn of the Courthouse Square.

    "The theme this month is the 'kickoff classic' and we're asking everyone to come dressed in their favorite team colors and enjoy this local group. It's going to be a nice night so bring lawn chairs and relax," said Charles Hayes, Quincy MainStreet director and lasts until 10 p.m.

    Members of he group said that although it was never a strategy for them to come together, they clicked at once.

    "Musicians are funny people. They have personalities that don't always fit. You have the have the right mix of people and talent. A person may be able to play or sing well but if they don't fit with the others it becomes a disaster down the line, that's why a lot of groups don't make it," said Stan DuPont, the oldest member of the group.

    DuPont was born in Chicago and reared in east Quincy and Orlando. He is a saxaphone player and serpano saxaphone which he has named "sweetness." In college he played saxaphone as a member of the Florida A&M Marching 100.

    A few years ago he retired as a teacher from the Federal prison in Tallahassee. He completed requirements to become a commercial and residential contractor and now builds homes in Gadsden and Leon County under the company name, DuPont and Son Construction.

    "I wouldn't say music is my passion but I really enjoy playing. These guys are great and I really enjoy playing with them. I like seeing the reactions from the audience as they appreciate what we present," he said.

    DuPont and keyboard player and musical director, Johnnie Beamon, have played together for more years that they care remember. Beamon was born in the Bronx, New York but grew up in Quincy. He and DuPont met while both were in the marching band at Carter-Parramore Middle School.  

    "We had a lot of people in the band back in those days. The sports teams were always getting beat to death and no one wanted to play sports," Beamon said.

    Beamon also taught band at James A. Shanks High School but left after one year in the classroom.

    "I loved it. The kids were great and I loved teaching. I just couldn't stand all of the red tape and meetings," he said.

    As a boy, Beamon remembers walking around the corner from his home to take piano lessons from a man named John Thomas. He would hide to keep from going but in the end he made the walk to take the lessons. Later, band teacher Dr. james Brown, came into his life and he realized that he loved making music as well as writing and arranging songs. He excelled at both and is an accomplished musician.

    Listen Friday night for his takes on arrangements by Luther Vandross.

    The group, without a name, was originally a trio consisting of DuPont, Beamon and Corey Williams.

    "We just played around town when different people asked us. Nonprofit organizations that were having programs asked us to provide background music for their banquets and stuff and we just did it for no charge," Beamon said.

    Williams said his mother bought him a set of drums for Christmas when he was 4 year old and he has been playing since then. He was born and reared in Midway and still lives there with his wife and daughter. Williams owns and operated his own lawn service.

     "We call Corey the heartbeat of the group," Beamon said.

    LaTrenda Gainous-Goldwire has two passions in life: one is singing and the other is cooking. She was singing around the house and in church choirs long before she began cooking. She and her niece, Gaylyn Pitts are co-owners of the popular downtown soul food eatery Divine Grace.

    "Singing come naturally to me I think. My mother, Eva Gunn, sings and she and my grandmother in    spired me to sing. My family members attend Bear Creek Missionary Baptist Church and we all sing in the choir," she said.

    The DuPont, Beamon, Williams were playing in Divine Grace one Friday night and during one of the open mike sessions, Gainous-Goldwire was handed the microphone.

    The youngest member, and lead vocalist of the group is 20-year-old Ron Wilson. He is a full time student at Tallahassee Community College and works part time in the photo shop at Walgreens.

    "LaTrenda and Ron compliment each other so well. If you didn't know it, when they sing close your eyes and you have been transported to a New York City state of mind," said Manager Monica Smart.

    The group has only been together officially since February of this year.

    "The Fellowship Mass Choir was scheduled to sing but there was a death in the family of the director. The Black History Festival committee asked us to play so we really just stepped in to help them out," said DuPont.

    They have been asked to play at several venues throughout the county and the ranks of their following grows after each performance.

    Hayes said the citizens will be surprised when they hear the kind of local talent this group brings to the table.

    "I'm not bragging but anyone who misses this will want to kick themselves Saturday morning when they hear about it," Hayes said.