The Original Couriers Announce Retirement

The Original Couriers (Left to Right: Dave Kyllonen, Duane Nicholson, Neil Enloe)

The Original Couriers (Left to Right: Dave Kyllonen, Duane Nicholson, Neil Enloe)

Neil Enloe, Duane Nicholson, and Dave Kyllonen achieved nationwide fame as The Couriers in the 1960s and 1970s. They retired in 1980. Several years later, Duane and Neil joined Neil’s brother Phil Enloe and brought the name back. In 2000, they gave the name to a younger generation, who carried it forward for several years, before disbanding.

Meanwhile, also in 2000, Dave Kyllonen rejoined his old comrades Duane Nicholson and Neil Enloe, to begin singing together on a limited basis as “Dave, Duane, and Neil.” For the last thirteen years, their limited schedule has taken them across the United States and Canada, and to venues as prestigious as the mainstage of the National Quartet Convention. But early this afternoon, Couriers tenor Duane Nicholson distributed a press release announcing that this year will be their final year on the road: 

Dear Friends: The Couriers have enjoyed a fulfilling time of ministry for almost 58 years. We left Central Bible School in Springfield, Missouri in the fall of 1958 and made our way to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to start our ministry in song full time. Don Baldwin, Eddie Reece, Neil Enloe, Dave Kyllonen and Duane Nicholson ventured into an unknown future. As time went by Eddie Reece left our group and after a few years our piano player, Little David Young and Don Baldwin left our group at the same time. Dave, Duane and Neil continued until Dave left the group and Phil Enloe rejoined our efforts. That group sang together until 1980, when the three of us retired. In early 2000 Dave Kyllonen , Neil Enloe and Duane Nicholson joined together for another few years of limited ministry culminating in singing now into 2013.

We are now announcing that after 58 years of ministry we will be retiring from full time ministry in song this year. Our final day of singing together except for perhaps cameo appearances in the coming years will be November 24th, 2013. No plans are being made for any formal concert as we did in 1980. We have felt that still being in good health our wives deserve some years of having healthy husbands and enjoy some good years together. We did not want to continue to sing when we should have quit before the quality of our singing voices deteriorated to point that we could not produce a decent blend and sound. Please pray for us, as you could well imagine we will experience heavy withdrawal pains from a life of joy, fulfillment and gratitude to the thousands of friends we have made over these incredible years. The gratitude will remain all the rest of our lives on this earth. People have poured into our lives, prayers, money and bought our music and kept us alive and well. Any rewards we might receive in heaven will be shared equally with all those who have kept us going with prayers and support. We love you all so very much.

The Couriers have maintained a standard of class and integrity that sets the standard for how a Southern Gospel group ought to be run. The genre is immeasurably greater for the legacy they leave behind. May Dave, Duane, and Neil enjoy a pleasant and fruitful retirement.

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9 Letters to the Editor

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  1. God bless these fine men! Thankful for their example.

  2. I applaud these men for their commitment over the years, but I also applaud them now for thinking of their families and loved ones. I would also like to say “enjoy your successes & seasons of fruitful ministry with the great memories! But most of all, enjoy your loved ones.

  3. I grew up going to see the Couriers when I was a kid in York, Pa. Without them I probably would not have the love for southern gospel music I have today. The Couriers would have a big concert every year in Hershey or Harrisburg back in the 60’s and 70’s. They would bring in all the big name groups of the time it was just unreal. They have been true and outstanding for all these years. Enjoy your retirement.

  4. The Couriers have set the bar for the phrase “class act”, in SGM. When my brother Alan and I started singing SGM in eastern PA in the 70’s, we had no better friends than the Couriers. We won their talent contest in the duet division, and in addition to a nice tropy, we got to open that night at the Farm Show Arena in Harrisburg for none other than JD and the Stamps. They wrote backliners for our albums, and we recorded Neil’s songs. They helped produce some of our albums. One Saturday they had off, they all drove in their bus to our home for a day of swimming, a cookout, and then a private concert in our basement! Years later, in a concert in Indiana PA, I got to play and sing a duet with Duane, and we did “What A Friend We Have in Jesus”. To my brother and I, they represent the greatest of talent, the best of mentors, and the Godliest of men. Dave-Duane-Neil…enjoy your retirements. What a legacy you’ve left behind, and what examples you have been. May the Lord bless you, even more than you’ve blessed us!

  5. We have known these men personally and will truly miss them singing together. It’s been many years since we heard them sing live, because we have moved away from the NJ/PA area, but we have such fond memories and each time when we listen to their CDs, we say, “remember hearing that song or another”. God bless “The Couriers” with continued good health and God’s blessings on their lives and the lives of their families!!!! We love you all. P

  6. I am so glad these guys are coming our way one more here in Eastern Canada before they disband. I am looking forward to seeing them one final time this fall. They will be here with the Blackwood Brothers.

  7. I agree with the above comments. These men have set an example that all Christian singers should follow.
    I had never heard of them until I went to Central Bible College in Missouri, the same college they had attended a decade earlier. I have most of their CDs now and enjoy every minute of them.

  8. Neil has been nothing short of an inspiration to me. In times past, and even at this point in my life, when I’ve contemplated leaving the industry, Neil has encouraged me in different ways to keep going. Even now, his words ring clear to continue and press on. He’ll be missed on their tours to California.

  9. I was blessed to see the Couriers at the Blue Mountain Gospel Festival last night (09/01/13) I am planning to go to their final concert on 12/29/13 at Christian Life Assembly in Camp Hill, Pa. BLESSINGS TO YOU IN YOUR RETIREMENT!!