Arthur Rice of the Kingdom Heirs is beginning a new chapter of his life as he leaves the group to become a church music director.
Arthur sang one last time with The Kingdom Heirs Monday. He offered these thoughts to the group, the audience at The Showstreet Palace Theatre and an audience of thousands watching online.
“God’s been faithful to us, “he told the crowd as he spoke about the group’s future.
“We’ve been through some things that, we shouldn’t be here. I mean, the world looked at us and said, ‘ya’ll are done.’ But you know what, God wasn’t done with us. And these boys are going to go on. God’s always got a plan. He’s always got somebody. And these boys are going to go on and be solid as a rock,” he said.
We wish Arthur well as he begins his new role at Trinity Baptist Church in Asheville, NC.
The Kingdom Heirs posted the following press release to the group’s website:
Hello friends and dear supporters of the Kingdom Heirs. We would like to thank each of you for your devoted commitment to us over the years. Your loyalty is the greatest example of God’s grace that we know. Today we come to you with news that may come as a shock. Please know the decisions that were made were out of a prompting from the Holy Spirit that could not be ignored. Months ago, Arthur Rice was approached by a church in need of a music director. This church is very dear to Arthur, but as we all know, so is the Kingdom Heirs. After months in earnest prayer over this huge decision, Arthur received confirmation from the Lord to accept the position.
There is no one capable of “replacing” Arthur Rice being that he has a legacy in Southern Gospel that few can compare to. When the group was made aware of Arthurs resignation, it was greeted with a lot of tears and a lot of love. Group owner and bass guitar player Kreis French says, “I was surprised because I had thought this group of guys would take me through to the end, and Arthur has been a friend and mentor for 27 years. But I realize that God sometimes has different plans than we do. I am happy for him and his family.”
We will miss Arthur’s spectacular vocals as lead, the daily laughs both on and off stage, and his encouraging presence. However, we wish him and his family all the joy and success as he embarks on this new adventure.
Upon asking Arthur about this move he said, “In 1995, I moved across the mountains to a new home and a new family. The Kingdom Heirs have been my family for the past 27 years. We’ve had many ups and downs, triumphs and tragedy, but through it all God has been faithful. Even when others thought we’d never survive, we never lost hope or even gave the devil a chance to put doubt in our minds. We were determined to finish what The Lord had begun in us. Even during the pandemic when most groups were sidelined, God provided us a place to present a message of hope. I’d never even thought about retirement, as long as the Lord would allow me to sing I had a message to give. And then about 7 months ago, God started dealing with my heart about a change. No one likes change and especially after this long. Surely I was misunderstanding what was going on. So I started really praying and seeking God’s will. I had no idea what it was or what He wanted me to do but as the days, weeks and months moved on the Lord confirmed He had something else for me to do. About two months ago I started a conversation with a church. After much prayer and careful consideration, I have accepted a position to serve as music director. I will be announcing where in a few days. I’ve realized that this opportunity is the right path and direction for me and my family. We covet your prayers as we move forward.
To Kreis and Dennis; we’ve been through a lot together but our friendship and resolve has never faltered. To the rest of the guys, y’all are my boys; ain’t nobody any more consistent, day in, day out. Solid as a rock. It’s been an honor serving with you all. To the fans; thank you for loving us through it all, the best is yet to come. To Dollywood; thank you for a platform to tell the world about Jesus. What an incredible place to work. Please be praying for the guys as they move forward. I’ve heard them and it’s going to be awesome. Hook forward to continuing to help produce some music for them. I love y’all.”
So, what is next for the Kingdom Heirs? After time spent in prayer, the group has a solution that is hoped to result in a very smooth transition onward and upward. Loren Harris is moving to Lead and Andy Stringfield will be singing Baritone and playing keys.
French says “Going forward, there is excitement within the group as we adjust to our new roles. Our goal has always been and will continue to be to spread the word in the most upbeat and positive way possible. We plan to continue to travel and perform at Dollywood for as long as the Lord allows.”
Though we have done everything we can to make this an easy transition, there is a lot of work to be done when forming a new and solid sound. As Arthur so well worded, we have faced so many “ups and downs, triumphs and tragedy,” BUT GOD IS FAITHFUL! We each desire your prayers as we move forward in God’s calling on our lives.
With so much love, The Kingdom Heirs