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!”
“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:
Sam, Jayme, and Caleb Garms with Silhouette
The back of Silhouette
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):
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?