Longevity, as elusive in the gospel field as on the secular side of the music business, has not been a problem for Bill Gaither, whose trio recently began its 24th year as one of the top attractions in Christian music.

"I'm not much different than any other writer or artist when he starts, whether he be in the gospel field or the secular field," says Gaither. "You start out doing the things that you feel you ought to do, that you're driven to do, and you want to do it as long as you can."

Among his accomplishments: a complex of 10 Christian music-related companies that recently opened up in Gaither's hometown headquarters in Alexandria, Ind. Included are recording studios, a charter jet service, publishing companies and, of course, the offices for the Gaither Trio and the New Gaither Vocal Band, which are responsible for writing 400 songs, selling 4 million albums and playing before 6 million people. That number will grow again after Tuesday's concert at Constitution Hall, where they have performed each of the past 14 years.

The DAR concert will feature the trio, the Vocal Band, tenor Larnelle Harris, and Hicks and Gohagan. As for a resurgence of interest in gospel and inspirational music, Bill Gaither says it's cyclical. "In all fairness, it's done that for 25 years. It's no different from the country field or any other field. It depends on what artists come along to create current excitement beyond our walls."