Jeff Stice leaves Triumphant Quartet

Triumphant Quartet announced this afternoon that Jeff Stice has left the group. The press release states: “After taking a personal leave of absence to reflect on God’s best for his life and the life of his family, Jeff Stice has made a decision to end his tenure with the Triumphant Quartet.  He will be focusing his energies on joining his sisters in helping to care for their parents. While he may pursue other interests in the future, he feels his family and their needs must be the priority in this season of life.”

Bass singer and emcee Eric Bennett commented, “I speak for all the guys in the group when I say that we wish Jeff well in his future endeavors.  He and his family will definitely remain in our prayers.”
The press release added that “the decision to hire a piano player for the group remains uncertain at this time.”
Triumphant started twelve years ago and had a remarkable twelve-year run with the same lineup prior to this change.
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Andrew Goldman joins The Perrys

The Perrys announced this morning that Andrew Goldman will replace departing lead singer David Ragan. Libbi Perry Stuffle commented, “The Perrys are very excited about Andrew coming on board as a part of our team and family. He’s such an incredible singer!”

Goldman comments, “It’s such an honor to be a part of the great ministry The Perrys have. I have always been a fan, and I love their passion to see people’s lives changed.”

Goldman joins The Perrys after spending two years as the baritone for Ryan Seaton’s quartet, Union Street. We featured him in an interview, here.

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Pat Barker leaves Mark Trammell Quartet

Pat Barker exciting the audienceIn a statement posted on Singing News, Mark Trammell has announced that bass singer Pat Barker is leaving the group.

There are some things in life that you just can’t imagine ever having to do. What I’m about to say is one of them. After much prayer, fasting, and seeking the mind of God, our beloved bass singer Pat Barker has tendered his resignation. He is much in need of being at home with his precious family. While it grieves our hearts, we must honor his decision and begin the process of moving on with God.

We are once again reminded that the only thing that doesn’t change is Jesus. A new chapter in the life of MTQ. And, a new chapter in the life of the finest, most Christlike man to ever travel on a quartet bus. Pat has stated that he will be with us until early May and then will be going home. I would ask that you not only pray for us as we begin the process of looking forward, but also pray for Pat, Kesha, and their three sweet children. Pray that God will give them direction, peace, and spiritual strength.

Bass singers interested in auditioning for the open position can email a resume, recent photo, and two songs to mark@marktrammellministries.com.

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Andrew Utech leaves Dixie Echoes

Last July, when the Dixie Echoes hired Alex Utech as their new bass singer, they hired his twin brother Andrew as a musician and bus driver. Last night, Andrew announced that he was leaving the group. In a Facebook post, he commented:

“I just wanted everyone to know I am no longer with the Dixie Echoes. I’m going with the Interstate Quartet. For booking or information call 256-424-2751 or 256-599-2052. Thanks to all the fans that have been there for me. Come see me again; you can’t miss it.”

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The Craguns Announce Formation

From left to right: Nick Adams, Elena Cragun, Jordan Cragun, Ray Cragun

From left to right: Nick Adams, Elena Cragun, Jordan Cragun, Ray Cragun

This evening, former Liberty Quartet baritone Jordan Cragun announced the launch of his new group, The Craguns. He will be joined by his wife, soprano Elena Cragun; his father, bass singer Ray Cragun, and his cousin, tenor Nick Adams.

The family’s musical roots run deep, and aren’t limited to Cragun’s short but strong run as Liberty Quartet’s baritone. Ray Cragun, who has been a senior pastor for two decades, has built his own following as a member of various college and regional quartets. Jordan Cragun is also Kim Collingsworth’s nephew.

“We could not be more excited to unveil this new and unique group to the Gospel music world”, Jordan Cragun commented. “I’m so thankful for the prayers and support we have already received from so many. I know this is going to be an incredible journey!” 


The Craguns have launched a website with several full-song previews at www.thecraguns.com.

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Dallas Rogers, Melton Campbell return to Inspirations

Two months ago, the Inspirations announced that former lead singer Matt Dibler had returned. Yesterday evening, they announced that two more alumni, tenor Dallas Rogers and baritone Melton Campbell, are also returning to the group. In a statement posted to Facebook, the group commented:

Well it’s time to finally make the announcement… After much prayer and consideration, we can now announce the official 2014 lineup for The Inspirations!! We could not be happier to announce that Dallas Rogers is returning to sing tenor, and Melton Campbell is returning to sing baritone! That means the 4 singers will now be Jon Epley at bass, Melton Campbell at baritone, Matt Dibler at lead, and Dallas Rogers at tenor. The positive feedback and support from our fans has been AMAZING during this time of transition, but as Martin Cook stated, we are “excited beyond words” about this new lineup! We believe that God has worked in a mighty way to bring all of this together, and the new sound of these 4 voices is something you are definitely gonna want to hear! We can’t wait to hit the road this weekend and look forward to seeing all of you in the following months and years. Thank you all for the kindness and patience you have shown us, and we will do our best to continue on with this wonderful tradition of The Inspirations– good ole Southern Gospel Quartet singing! We love y’all!

Dibler and Campbell are cornerstones of the recent years of the Inspirations’ legacy; both were members for most of the 2000s, when the group rose back to the top of the genre. Dallas Rogers’ run at tenor in the late 2000s left a shorter but still significant mark.

It is heartwarming to see the Inspirations enter their fiftieth anniversary year with a vocal lineup that fully does justice to one of the greatest legacies the genre has seen.

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Todd Suttles joins Gaither Vocal Band

Yesterday afternoon, the Gaither Vocal Band announced that their new baritone will be Todd Suttles.

Last week, we featured several videos of Suttles filling in with the Gaither Vocal Band. Here’s one more video, of Suttles joining Wes Hampton in 2010 to sing “It Is Well”:

(Yes, we know the audio is a little out of sync, but the performance comes closer than anything else online to showcasing Suttles’ potential.)

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Videos of Todd Suttles with the Gaither Vocal Band

The Gaither Vocal Band has not announced a final decision on their new fifth member yet, but it seems the decision is nearing. One finalist, David Staton, posted on Facebook earlier this week that he had not been selected, commenting: “Bill contacted me today and told me that he has decided to go in a different direction.”

Todd Suttles has been filling in at a number of recent Homecoming concerts. Here’s a video of the ensemble—Bill Gaither and David Phelps on the solos, with Wes Hampton, Adam Crabb, and Todd Suttles—singing “Child, You’re Forgiven”

Suttles doesn’t have a solo, but it’s nice to see the enthusiasm and energy he shows during David Phelps’ solo.

Here’s a shorter clip, from the same user, of “Rasslin’ Jacob”:

UPDATEVia reader Jamie, here are two more videos including Todd—a comedy moment, and Heaven’s Joy Awaits.

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Cody McVey joins First Baptist Atlanta staff

The Ball Brothers announced today that their pianist, Cody McVey, is leaving the group. McVey has accepted the position of Associate Arranger / Pianist at First Baptist Atlanta. McVey commented:

I really want to thank the Ball Brothers for allowing me to travel with them for the past three years . . . and for letting me marry their sister. I’ve traveled full-time since I was 17, and I feel like it’s time for me to take the next step in God’s plan for my life. Anyone who knows me knows that my true passion is arranging and orchestrating. I couldn’t be more excited to join the ministry team of Dr. Stanley, and Pastors Anthony George, Rodney Brooks, and Matthew Slemp.

Ball Brothers manager Daniel Ball adds:

Cody has been a great blessing to our ministry. He will continue to be a part of arranging and producing for the Ball Brothers, and has already begun work on our new project that will be released this summer. Cody has incredible talent and is being mentored by legendary producer, Lari Goss. We will miss having him at the piano, but are excited for the opportunity he has to be involved in the ministry of Dr. Charles Stanley and First Baptist Atlanta.

The funniest press releases in Southern Gospel are consistently any personnel change releases from The Ball Brothers. This one was no exception; it concludes: “The Ball Brothers are not looking to add another pianist at this time, but they do have a sister that is single and if she happens to marry a pianist…”

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The Crist Family to Retire

Yesterday afternoon, the Crist Family announced that they will be retiring by the end of the year. They will complete their annual February West Coast Tour, and perform limited farewell concerts for the remainder of the year.

The announcement stated: “With John and Tami Starkel’s recent decision to pursue some new paths at this time in their lives, along with the Crist girls getting married and looking to start families of their own, it is evident that this chapter in The Crist Family is coming to a close.”

Manager and lead singer Rich Crist commented: “One thing is certain—life will have changes. It was a major time of change ten years ago when God called us in to full-time ministry. Now, with this change, we are looking forward to see where He takes us next. It has been a wonderful journey and we will forever be grateful for the friendships we have made along the way.”

The group added: “We thank God, Crossroads, The Harper Agency, our peers and all of the Southern Gospel Music fans. Thank you for the love and support you have shown to us along the way. We will always love you!”

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