“Silhouette” is Still Rolling!

Those who had the opportunity to see the legendary Cathedral Quartet in the 1990s will remember the quartet’s famous black Silver Eagle bus. Many were privileged to see this special coach sitting outside churches and auditoriums when the quartet toured across the nation, but not as many were able to view the inside. Recently, Sam, Jayme, and Caleb Garms (along with big sisters Taylor and Leesha and a few other little friends) had the memorable opportunity to tour the grand old “Silhouette”.

The original owner of the bus was Bill Gaither and he sold it to the Cathedrals in 1991. After the Cathedrals retired in 1999, the bus eventually came under the ownership of Ernie Haase and Signature Sound when the group formed in 2003. When Signature Sound upgraded their transportation, they sold the bus to the Forgiven Quartet from Oklahoma.

The Garms family met up with Forgiven Quartet at the Floyd Gospel Sing in Floyd, Iowa, September 2011. Stanley Johnson of Forgiven offered to give the Garms kids a tour of the inside of the Cathedrals’ former bus and we eagerly accepted. Not only was it a tour of the Cathedrals’ bus, it was also our first tour of any entertainer bus!

Caleb describes the bus tour this way:

“Well, the bus was black and it had swirls on the sides. First we went up the steps – the door was really heavy. Then we came into the living area with a kitchen, a couple couches, and chairs. Then we went to the bunk place; you go into this tiny hallway and there were bunks on each side and red curtains on all the bunks. There was a tiny, itsy-bisty bathroom. Then he showed us where all the clothes were stored; it was a big bus actually! It was really exciting being in that bus because it was the Cathedrals’, Signature Sound’s, and Bill Gaither’s bus! I can’t believe George, Glen, Roger, Scott, and Ernie had actually been in there. It’s something I’ll treasure for the rest of my life!”

Jayme’s thoughts:

“It was cool, but a little cramped. I felt a little nervous because I didn’t know what it was going to be like. My favorite part of the bus was probably the back lounge; it looked comfy. 🙂 It was weird to be in the bus the Cathedrals had traveled in.”

Leesha commented on the experience,

“It was pretty amazing. I had always wondered what the Cathedrals’ bus actually looked like and I finally got to see it. I kept expecting Glen and George to appear around a corner!”

The funniest part of the whole tour was when a man’s face suddenly popped out of one of the bunks. One of the group members had retired to the bus to rest and he was just about as surprised to see us, as we him!

Sam summed up the experience this way: “It’s not the bus which makes the bus special; it’s the persons who lived in it.”

Here are exterior photos of “Silhouette” by the Garms Family:

And here is a video tour of the bus’s interior hosted by Ryan Bilby of the Forgiven Quartet (aka The Man We Woke Up On the Bus):

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYf02KqI-bc]

The Garms Family thanks Stanley and the Forgiven Quartet for the chance of a lifetime. It was an honor and special memory we treasure!

Have any of you been on the Cathedrals’ bus or a different Southern Gospel group’s bus? What was your experience?

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  1. How fun! Thanks for sharing.

    The most interesting and unusual group bus I ever got to see was that of the Happy Goodman’s back when they were still touring. I remember it like it was yesterday. I felt like I had been slapped by pink and it felt like what Barbie would have had if she were a gospel singer. You know how kids think. 🙂 Then the hallway between the bunks seemed narrow for a skinny little girl, so I found it interesting that they could manage. 🙂 Fun memories!

    • Thanks for sharing your story, Stacy! The Happy Goodmans actually had a pink bus?! That would have been an interesting sight to see traveling down the road or in front of a church! 😀

      • Stacy, is this the bus you saw?


      • I’m not sure that’s the one.

        Libbi Perry Stuffle will always tell of being a little girl, watching that big pink bus come down the road, and wishing she could grow up and go down the road, singing, in a big pink bus just like that! (I think Libbi’s the one with that story!)

      • Sure that’s not your story? (outside of the little girl part)

      • No. All my life, from when I was a baby through today, I’ve never been one to be particularly fond of vehicular transportation.

  2. When EHSS did their very first video (back then they were still called the Signature sound Quartet) Ernie did a tour of this bus on the video. (That was within the first few months after they had formed and they had the original lineup in their group.) They must have used that bus for the first couple of years or so. EHSS are now on their second bus since they had this one, and yet the old black one keeps rollin. It’s got quite a history. Nice article by the Garms.

    • We did not know that! Thank you for sharing that interesting tidbit. 🙂

    • This isn’t the green one that EHSS had, is it? I thought that was the old Cats’ bus…

      • The green one was not the Cathedrals’ old bus; the green one was EHSS’s second bus – after “Silhouette” – and now they are on their third. 🙂

      • Thanks! I guess I was wrong all along! Who has old green now? I remember they sold it, but don’t remember to who. Ball Brothers?

  3. Interesting….thanks for sharing!

    • You’re welcome! It was a fun experience!

  4. Ok, I may be nit pickin, but what exactly makes the bus “infamous”? Famous. Noted. A piece of Southern Gospel memorabilia. But infamous?

    • You’re not “nit pickin'” – you’re right! 🙂

      The definition of “infamous” is “having a reputation of the worst kind; disgraceful.” When I presented the draft to the family, Ben mentioned something about the word choice, but it was forgotten among the content editing. My oops! 😳

      “Silhouette” does not have “a reputation of the worst kind”, but rather an honored spot in SGM history (though I did notice on Forgiven Quartet’s site the old bus was having trouble as of late). 🙂

      Thanks for noticing; I’ll quickly fix that word! 🙂

      -Taylor for TGF

  5. I remember seeing the Cathedrals and they did have a green bus, with an “IHS” symbol on the side, I believe towards the front of the vehicle. They had small bus banks too at concerts that were green.

  6. The Cathedrals had a green older model Silver Eagle prior to the black 91…and you are right, it had an “IHS” logo on the side:
    “In His Service”.

  7. The cathedrals did have a 1980 model green bus. A group in Evansville, Indiana purchased it years ago from the cats. The bus was called the green machine. I still have pics of it when the conquerors quartet owned it. This bus is still on the road today with a group owned by Garry polston out of kentucky!!!

  8. Was the Silver Eagle coach that the Cats rolled several years back not a green one??????

  9. Scott Fowler told me that the very last Cathedral’s bus will be at the Cathedral’s Family Reunion in Texas and that folks will be able to tour it there.