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Jerry Bennett was born August 3, 1962 in McConnelsburg, PA and was raised in the rural community of Mercersburg, PA. His mother started attending church at the Mercersburg Assembly of God when Jerry was nine years old. During that time, Jerry started taking a keen interest in music. Jerry got his first opportunity to learn how to play music when he received a small chord organ at Christmas time one year. Later, his family found someone who was giving away an old upright piano, which fortunately was in tune. Jerry started tinkering with the notes right away. While attending church, he would watch the pianist during service and learned by her playing. Due to his God-given musical ear, he began fingering out songs one note at a time. Within a few months, Jerry was playing with two hands and he was then learning to play the accordion during church services. He had his heart set on playing the piano for church but there was a position to play the organ. Since Jerry was small, his feet couldn't reach the bass pedals or the volume control. This forced him to play with his hands and stretch off the bench to adjust the volume accordingly.

His mother decided to dedicate the family and during the dedication service the minister prayed for Jerry, speaking a word over him that God was going to use Jerry's hands for the work of the Lord. That statement could not have been more profound. Not only has Jerry become an accomplished musician, he has become a songwriter as well.

In 1979 between his junior and senior years of high school, Jerry made friends with a schoolmate who was also gifted musically. Since they were both Christians, they put together a gospel trio in which Jerry played piano and his friend played guitar and banjo. Jerry also had a cousin who sang with them. They were informed of a gospel talent search, and after a few weeks of practice they played on stage to an audience of 2,000 people. The group was scared and nervous since this was their first performance in front of a large crowd but much to their surprise they received a standing ovation. Although they didn't win first place in the contest, they knew there was a definite calling on their group, which they named "Sonrise". This group organized a live band and would later develop into a quartet. Songwriting came into play as Jerry then penned his very first gospel song at a United Methodist youth retreat. This came from a teasingly fun challenge by his youth leader that he couldn't write a song. He sat down at the piano and within a few minutes started playing and singing words to a song that amazed his youth leader. Jerry still uses this song in his concerts and it blesses the many that attend these events.

Sonrise continued to write and use their own material. They entered various other talent shows. One in particular was at the Hoppers singing at Watermelon Park in Berryville, VA where they placed 2nd. They were in competition with two artists, the Paynes and the Greenes, who are now nationally known. To win such a prestigious honor at that time helped the group to spread their wings in ministering to other churches and areas. They recorded their first album in 1982 after speaking with the Paynes who were working with Windchime in Nashville, TN engineered by Kevin McManus. This album consisted of all original material, a total of seven songs that Jerry either wrote or co-wrote.

Sonrise disbanded in 1985 and Jerry was offered a position to play with well-known gospel performer Donnie Seabolt. Donnie was a member of the Blue Ridge Quartet and also traveled with Laverne Tripp. Jerry spent nearly eight years with Donnie, traveling in the northeast. In 1993, he made a major career move when he left his 13-year employment with the federal government to pursue a music career and record his first solo project "The Heart of Things", which was released in 1994. In the latter part of 1994, Jerry co-wrote a song with April Nye called "My God Forgets". This song was recorded by the Kingsmen and was released in 1995. "My God Forgets" shot up the charts and remained in the top ten for four months. It also received several Diamond Award nominations in 1996 for Song of the Year.

January 1996 brought another career change as Jerry then took a position as program director for the newly launched satellite network "Gospel Music Television" (GMT). He was featured on the program along with many of the other top 40 gospel artists. Jerry continued on with the network until it was sold in the fall of 1996. Jerry then made another major move to Nashville, TN.

Jerry's dreams began to come true in 1999 when Jerry got the opportunity to travel with the nationally known Freemans. He traveled with the group for over a year and a half, juggling a full time job with his solo music career. In 2000, Jerry made a decision to come off the road to concentrate on his music career and in 2003 he signed with Zion Music Group in Nashville, TN, releasing his first project titled "No Regrets". April of that year also brought his first top 80 with an original song titled "The Night the Fire Broke Out".

Jerry is presently traveling and singing all across the country in local churches and concerts. He enjoys being a part of revivals and other special church functions. One thing Jerry has always expressed was that there would never be a church too small for his ministry, as Jesus also ministered to just a few as well as the multitude. It's his desire to do his part in spreading the gospel of our Lord Jesus through song. Jerry will not only bring to you an anointed message; he'll also bring a professional country/southern gospel sound. Jerry's message is one of hope. He doesn't perform to entertain; he performs to uplift the downhearted and to encourage the discouraged.


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