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Ministry Spotlight

 The Revelators Quartet

The Revelators (of North Alabama) is a southern gospel music group committed to serving Christ through song and fellowship. In 1975 a group of friends located in Phil Campbell, Alabama decided to form a quartet by which to share the gospel in song. Over the decades there have been changes in personnel and songs performed, but the thrust of their music remains unchanged.

October - 2016
Interview Questions: 

GE: What is the history of your ministry?

Founded in 1974, The Revelators has survived many personnel changes. In its 40-year history, one can certainly expect personnel changes, as people's lives change, and age also takes its toll. The Revelators Quartet has enjoyed ministering to people from Florida to Michigan, but we still have not crossed the Mississippi River!

GE: Where did you begin?

The Revelators Quartet began as a group of friends that just wanted to sing mostly for their own enjoyment, in the small North Alabama town of Phil Campbell. Its evolution has now caused the base for The Revelators to be located in Decatur, AL.

GE: Why did you choose this path of ministry?

The members of The Revelators Quartet did not choose this ministry - God chose each of the members to be a part of the group. Some of the current members have been a part of the group for almost 20 years, and some three years ago, we lost the member with the most longevity - Ron Thomas, pianist, who came to fill in for a couple of weeks and stayed almost 30 years.

GE: Who are some of your major musical influences?

The Cathedrals Quartet, The Statesmen, J. D. Sumner and The Stamps Quartet, The Kingsmen, the Goodman Family, the Blackwood Quartet, Gold City, The Inspirations, The Masters Five, The Gaithers, Jim Hamill, Jake Hess, Hovie Lister and many others.

GE: Why do they affect you the way they do?

We have learned many musical techniques and differing presentations from watching and hearing them. From The Cathedrals we learned harmony, from the Blackwoods and Statesmen, we learned stage presence, however our primary thrust is one of ministry rather than entertainment. Yet just as a pastor tells a joke from the pulpit, there must be at least a limited amount of entertainment, else you'll lose the attention of the audience.

GE: Who has been your biggest spiritual influence? Jesus Christ without question.

GE: How many dates to you do per year?

Engagements vary from year to year, but on average, probably somewhere around sixty to seventy dates per year. Living where we do - on the southern edge of the snow belt - we normally take January and February off each year. We do not cancel engagements unless there is absolutely no alternative - such as severe illness or death, so we are unable to sing all year long like many groups do. Collectively, we have more than 100 years of experience in southern gospel.

GE: What kind of venues do you sing at?

The Revelators has sung at horse arenas, municipal auditoriums, concert halls, outdoor sings including one all-nighter that ended around 4 a.m. - we've also sung in restaurants, professionally-staged concerts and of course, our favorites- the churches. That's where our true ministry lies.

GE: Are you involved in other areas of ministry besides music?

Our baritone singer also plays piano for his church, and sometimes fills in as a Sunday School teacher. He is also an ordained deacon and writes and arranges music. The Revelators Quartet's lead singer, is also a pianist in her own right and an outstanding vocalist.

GE: Where do you see your ministry in the next 5 years?

The Revelators want to go wherever God may lead us. We praise Him for His mercy and grace that allows people like us - "weekend warriors" - to be involved in ministry efforts for Him.

GE: Talk a little bit about your current project and/or single?

The Revelators Quartet's latest release, released in the late spring of 2016, is a compact disc entitled, "I Will Serve Thee" and shows a piece of artwork on the front of a man whose feet are being washed - what we felt is the ultimate in service to others. This recording is a collection of hymns that have been requested for several years, and we finally got around to recording them. Since the quartet's inception in 1974, there have been some 24 recordings released, though most are no longer available. A fire in a Muscle Shoals recording studio destroyed many of the master tracks. Another project is planned for late fall/winter of 2016-7.

GE: Who are the members in your group?

Lead - Debbie Turner of Decatur, AL; Alto - Angie Brown of Decatur, AL; baritone - Hershell Brown, also of Decatur; and bass - Tony Brown of Athens, AL. With the retirement of our pianist in 2013, our band is now computer-generated...

GE: Tell us a little about your family, husband/wife and children.

Baritone Hershell Brown is fortunate to be able to sing with two of his three children - his younger son, Tony, and his daughter (the "baby"), Angie. Hershell and his late wife, Nell, who received her ultimate healing in 2010, shared stages for many years together - in fact, they met at a gospel singing of the "convention" or "new-book" style, went fishing together, and as has been said many times, the rest is history. Angie fell into quartet singing when she filled in for her mother during a recovery period following surgery, and she's been involved almost continuously since then. Tony, Hershell's younger son, was practicing with a new group put together by his family - as a drummer - and was overheard singing the bass vocal. Since the family was having problems with their current bass singer's inability to sing somewhat unusual chords, and eventually resigned for that reason, Tony stepped up and said he'd like to try, and he's been singing ever since. The Brown family currently has almost a century of southern gospel music history behind them, and we've seen many new groups come and go, but for the weekend warrior-type quartet, it's not an easy road to travel. Without the calling to minister, few groups are able to survive the rigors involved.


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