Hope on the Beach will host a free concert at 7 p.m. Feb. 10 at 3834 U.S. Highway 98 W. in Santa Rosa Beach with Christian singer and songwriter Don Wharton. He will also be the guest worship leader at both services Feb. 11. The beach worship experience is at 8 a.m. at Ed Walline Park and the contemporary worship experience is at 10:15 a.m. at the U.S. 98 campus.
Since 1979, Wharton, who is also a Christian author and humorist, has performed more than 3,000 concerts, at least one in all 50 states. His encouraging and uplifting style has inspired thousands of people to greater service to Jesus Christ.
Wharton’s versatility has given him the opportunity to share his music with a wide range of audiences at churches, schools, and conventions. He has opened for such Christian artists as Carman, Michael Card, Jessie Dixon, Honeytree, and Don Francisco. He has also worked with '60s recording sensations Paul and Paula and acclaimed actor Beau Bridges. Wharton performed the first Gospel concert at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 29, 1998.
On Friday, Aug. 13,1993, Wharton was one of seven people who survived a twin engine private plane crash into the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska. The team was returning from a missionary/humanitarian aid trip to the Russian Far East. Their story is being developed as a major motion picture.
Wharton has produced 20 albums, primarily of his own compositions. His latest two are "Rain Down Your Love," which he recorded with his oldest daughter Emily, and "Abundantly," featuring 10 original songs by him. He has recently released his first Christian fiction novel through Carpenter's Son Publishing in Nashville, “Conviction (The Journey of a Lost Principled Man).” It is the first of six novels in "The Legacy Circle" series.
Wharton’s songwriting efforts have been rewarded with cuts on Southern Gospel albums by the Speer Family, The Lesters, and The Northmen. His song "His Mighty Hands" is included on Mike Speck's Word Music choral collection "I Believe It All," nominated for a Dove award in 2000, and sung by the choir from Thomas Road Baptist Church on their international television broadcast.
Wharton was honored in 2009 as the outstanding alumnus from Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He and his wife Leslie were married in June 1976. They have five children and live in Fort Wayne, Indiana.