I have had some wonderful opportunities to sing in my 30 plus years in music. It all started for me when I was 12 years old and asked the Lord to come be my Savior. He changed my direction forever and He has blessed me with so many opportunities.
I was given the opportunity to sing and lead music in church as a teenager. While I attended college at SMSU I auditioned and sang with a Christian mixed ensemble group of eight called New Dawn. We traveled all over Southern Missouri.
After graduating college I started listening to quartet music, especially the Gaither Vocal Band. They peaked my interest and I put together a group with my good friend Lee Croney and my dad. Later we added a couple of ladies to form a mixed Southern Gospel group. We sang for about a year until I got a job in the St. Louis Mo area.
While attending Eastview Baptist church I put together a group of guys to just fellowship and sing some good ole Southern Gospel songs. We started out as Men of Faith and later on changed to Instruments of Faith. We started singing for functions in the church and that led to us singing outside the walls of the church doing ministry. The group started in 2000 and ran until the end of 2017. When some of our guys began battling health issues and a desire to slow down, came my way, we brought things to an end. I was thankful for all those I sang with and the opportunity to minister in many states.
After a few years of not singing, I got an idea for a reunion concert, which led to my reuniting with some old IOF guys, Scot Womble and Gary Voelker. Through this new group forming, God has had His hand in all this and I look forward to seeing where God will take us!!
As far back as I can remember, I have always had a love and appreciation for music...especially Gospel Music. Music, in my experience, is a universal language. What better way to spread the message of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
As a child of about 5 or 6 years old I played tambourine on the front row of our little Assembly of God Church in Mitchell Illinois. My father was a deacon and helped build the church. I remember looking over my shoulder to get the "ok" from my mother as to whether I should play on a given song. She would shake her head yes, if it was a fast song or no, if it was a slow song.
During my teenage years I began to sing solos at church sings, public Gospel singings, etc. I sang in various contests at school and Teen Talent (a youth talent contest through the Assemblies of God) through our church. I started band during my 6th grade year and played clarinet all through Junior High and then the bass clarinet during High School. During my Junor or Senior of high school my band/choral teacher, a Christian, discovered my singing abilities through our choir. He invited me to join his Southern Gospel quartet called, The Melody Boys. I sang with them for probably 2 years until the group disbanded when our bass singer got sick and my band teacher moved away to take another teaching position. At this time, I was living in a little town in Southeast Missouri. After graduating high school my father's illness, that started when I was finishing the 6th grade, got progressively worse and we moved back to my original hometown of Granite City, Illinois. We started attending City Temple Assembly of God Church where I became a member of a Gospel group called, The Echoes of Praise. We did some Southern Gospel, mostly praise and worship style music, and traveled to different churches.
From my early twenties until my late thirties things slowed down on the music front and I didn't do much other than the occasional song at church, choir songs and cantatas, weddings and funerals. That all changed when I met Scott Milford from a Gospel group called, the Gateway Quartet. I joined them singing the baritone part, which was a little different for me, since I normally sang either lead or tenor. I sang with them for approximately 2 to 3 years. The group was not highly active because we only seemed to have 5 or 6 singing events a year. However, my love for Southern Gospel Quartet music was renewed.
Fast forward another 10 years or so and I have been granted another awesome opporunity to sing quartet style Southern Gospel in a brand-new group called, Riven. My love for the Lord and my desire to spread His message is once again being kindled into flame and I praise the Lord for the opportunity to sing for Him with a great bunch of men that love the Lord just as much I.
My days as a youth were spent in the church youth group. We had 5th quarters at church on Friday nights after football games. I sang in the youth choir, played my trumpet during song services and loved church music. It was as a youth I felt called to attend Bible college and studied music and Bible. I had the privilege of playing trumpet in two traveling groups while attending Central Bible College. Pentecost Choir and SpiritWind were student lead ministries with faculty sponsors. We traveled and ministered across the United States and I was given my first taste of evangelistic music ministry...and traveling.
After graduation I served in several churches as song leader, youth pastor, and music pastor. It was a time for honing the spiritual gifts that God had given me and allowing the Lord to teach me what I couldn't learn from books while in Bible College.
While living in the east I was invited to join The Couriers (based in Harrisburg, PA) to travel and sing. I had the joy of traveling for 7 years all over the US, Canada, and once to the Dominican Republic singing and preaching.
Since then I enjoyed ministry with Beroean (from Lebanon, PA), and after moving back to the St. Louis area (from New Jersey) I joined the church choir, singing with the praise team, and also singing in a Barbershop chorus. It was in the chorus I was told a group in the area was looking for a tenor to join their quartet. The group was Instruments of Faith out of Belleville, IL. I enjoyed 2 years of ministry with these men. I then ended up moving to Branson to start my culinary career and so my tenure ended with IOF.
After spending 7 years in Southern, Missouri I moved back to the St. Louis area--One day I was praying and said to the Lord how I would love to sing again. And wouldn't you know that the Lord answered my prayer when I got a phone call from, Gary Brannaman. He asked me if I wanted to be a part of an IOF reunion concert and I agreed. Then he asked me if I was interested in singing again. I said I was and that led to the forming of Riven. I am so glad that this allowed me to sing tenor in a quartet again. I can truly say, The Lord is faithful and hears our prayers!