Born into a musically talented and artistic family, Robert Rhoades has shared his gift of drawing, singing, songwriting and playing the drums and guitar within the community since moving to Covington.
The family lived in Manchester prior to his father, Bill Rhoades, accepting a position with The Covington News in 1966.
Rhoades reflected on a hot August day when two visiting preachers knocked on his door in Manchester and led him to Christ at age 14.
"After I moved here and began attending Oxford Baptist, I realized that I not only wanted Christ to be my savior but also my Lord," he said. "I rededicated my life to Christ in 1970."
Rhoades said he aspired to draw like his older brother, Eddie. At age 15, he won an art contest and his picture was placed in The Covington News.
"I drew a very simplistic picture from a photograph that my dad had taken of me when I was a kid trying to put a worm on a hook," he said.
Rhoades believes he inherited the gift of singing from his parents.
"My dad had a voice like Perry Como and I can remember hearing my mother, Mary sing church hymns when she was washing dishes or doing chores," he recalled.
After graduating from Newton County High School, Rhoades attended DeKalb College. In 1970, his father invited him to go into business to open Rhoades Printing, now located at 1192 Clark St. in Covington.
At 19, Rhoades was inspired in a church service to learn and play the guitar.
"Recognizing that God had given me talent in my hands, I remember praying and asking him to help me," he said. "I bought a guitar and started learning how to play chords."
Rhoades mother gave him a set of drums when he was 13 and as a teenager, he played with his brother's band. Later in 1975, he joined Mack McKibben's group, The Sounds of Glory and played the drums for five years until they disbanded.
Rhoades married Kathy Needham in 1978 and they have two biological sons, Seth and Judson. The couple later adopted twin girls from Peru, Katy and Krissy when they were three months old.
Rhoades' father recognized his artistic talent and encouraged him to enhance his skills in their printing company.
"When my dad first started the business, he would tell customers that if they needed art work, I would do it for free," he said.
Rhoades' designs are widely spread on logos and signs throughout the county.
Rhoades has served as a deacon, Sunday school teacher and has led the singing for Oxford Baptist, Solid Rock Baptist and is currently the song leader for Calvary Baptist Church.
"The pastor asked me if I would lead the singing at homecoming when we visited last year," he said. "Afterwards, he asked if I would stay on and lead the music."
Looking ahead, Rhoades wants to further develop his interest in songwriting.
"Last year, I spent two days in Gulf Shores, Alabama at the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival," he said.
He has also attended the International Songwriters Association meetings in Marietta. Rhoades has written three gospel and 19 country songs that were based on life experiences.
"I was inspired to write a love song on vacation for my mother and father-in-law after seeing how they always enjoyed walking on the beach together at sunset," he said.
He wrote a song about his brother titled "The Singer" and it was professionally recorded on his brother's CD. Five of Rhoades songs are listed on sonicbids.com/robertrhoades.
He encourages parents to take a firm hand with parental controls on the television and Internet to block out ungodly influences in the home. He attributes prayer and daily bible reading in helping him to lead a Christian life.
"Reading the bible is essential and will help you to gain knowledge," he said. "It gives you a focus and purpose."