The King's Heralds Collection - Over 190 Gospel Selections on 12 CDs - Preserving the legacy of the oldest continuous gospel quartet in America.
The harmonious blending of the King's Heralds Quartet is world-famous. Due mostly to the arranging genious of Wayne Hooper, quartet member from 1949 to 1962, who created hundreds of arrangements for the quartet. He recently spent two years restoring them to CD quality. We owe this collection to Wayne's passion to sustain the legacy of The King's Heralds.
Knowing the incredible power of music to reach the hearts of men and women who were contemplating accepting Chrits and following Him, Pastor HMS Richards, Sr. wrapped his simple but powerful sermons in a supporting blanket of Gospel music. Often, sensing the need of the effects of a Gospel song, Pastor Richards would give the quartet and Del Delker equal time to his spoken word.
1927 • The Lone Star Four • It all began with four college students at Southwestern Union College in Keene, Texas. The three Crane brothers - Lewis, Waldo and Wesley - joined with Ray Turner, a rumbling bass from Oklahoma to blend their voices in Gospel musical evangelism. Early on, Pastor R.L. Benton saw their potential, and invited them to join his pioneering radio broadcast on radio station KFPL, from Waco, Texas.
1937 • A decade has passed since they started harmonizing together in college. In order to support themselves, each member has taken training as nurses. However, singing is their main joy. Over the years, 21 different combinations of talented singers - involving 29 different men) have made The King's Heralds the oldest continuous gospel quartet in America.
They've recorded over 100 albums in thirty different languages in a variety of musical styles, making them a favorite with audiences of all ages. The rich blend, harmony and balance of their a cappella style has been enjoyed not only the United States, but also in over 50 countries. The King's Heralds have received twenty-three Silver Angel Awards© for "Excellence in Media", including six for "Best Male Vocal Group", fourteen for "Best Album" and a "Best International Broadcast" award for their own radio program, "Sounds of Praise". The group also received a "Gold" Angel Award© for being the oldest continuous Gospel Quartet in America.
The musical journey of The King’s Heralds began in 1927 at what is now Southwestern Union College in Keene, Texas. Lewis, Waldo and Wesley Crane along with bass singer Ray Turner from Oklahoma, began a quartet that they called The Lone Star Four. These four young men were studying nursing but wanted to use their musical talents for the Lord. Times were hard, and because they had no extra money with which to buy instruments, they bought a pitch pipe, which was all they could afford, and began singing gospel songs acapella. It wasn’t too long before Pastor R.L. Benton heard this young quartet and recognized that there just might be some potential there. He invited the group to join him on his radio broadcast that he was pioneering at the time on KFPL from Waco, Texas.
A decade had past and in 1937 another radio preacher, H.M.S. Richards, invited the quartet to become part of what would soon become the national radio broadcast The Voice of Prophecy. Since the broadcast was taped in the Los Angeles area, the group relocated to California. Pastor Richards felt that the quartet needed a name that would more clearly define the mission of the group to their new found radio audience. Not long thereafter, the name The King’s Heralds was adopted. Wherever H.M.S. Richards was called to preach, The King’s Heralds were always there singing before he brought his message. As a result, doors have opened over the years for the group to share Jesus in some 50 countries worldwide sharing the Gospel in song. Some of the audiences have included command performances for kings and heads of state.
In 1982, the group left The Voice Of Prophecy and became an independent ministry, however, every combination of King’s Heralds continue to share the vision and the mission of those who have come before to take the gospel unto all the world. Over the years there have been 30 men who have been a part of the rich musical history of The King’s Heralds. As a matter of fact, there is a whole other combination of King’s Heralds who are retired who live in California. They get together and play golf two or three times a week. Occasionally they will venture out and sing for some special event. The amazing thing is that even though they have not really sung together all that often over the past several years, it’s as if they never retired. They are singing just as good if not better than when they were in the road fulltime. In October of 2007, our original bass singer Ray Turner passed away. He was 99 years old.
Complete list of singers
File:1950 Kings Heralds Quartet California.jpg
The King's Heralds from 1950
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Past and present singers listed alphabetically by first name, including years in the group:
Ben Glanzer, First Tenor 1944-1948
Bob Edwards, First Tenor 1948-1971
Bob Johnson, First Tenor 1939-1941
Bob Seamount, Second Tenor 1941-1947, 1949-1961
Don Scroggs, First Tenor 1983-Present
Elwyn Ardourel, First Tenor 1949-1949
Frank Dietrich, First Tenor 1947-1947, Second Tenor 1948-1948
George Casebeer, First Tenor 1941-
Gerald Fuentes, Second Tenor, 2004
Jack Veazey, Baritone 1962-1997
Jeff Pearles, Bass 2005-Present
Jerry Dill, Bass 1947-1948, Baritone 1948-1949, Bass 1949-1962
Jerry Patton, Second Tenor 1967-2004
Jim Ayars, Bass 1977-2004
Jim McClintock, Bass 1962-1977
Joe Melashenko, Bass 1948-1949
Joel Borg, Second Tenor 2004-Present
John Ramsey, First Tenor; 1971-1983
John Thurber, Second Tenor 1961-1967
Lewis Crane, 1927-1939
Ralph Simpson, Second Tenor 1940-1941
Ray Turner, Bass 1927-1947
Richard Lang, Baritone 1947-1948
Russell Hospedales, Baritone 2002-Present
Steve Laing, Baritone 1997-2002
Vernon Stuart, Second Tenor 1939-1940
Waldo Crane, 1927-1939
Wayne Hooper, Baritone 1944-1947, 1949-1962
Wesley Crane, Baritone 1927-1943
Irving Steinel, 1937-1942
Al Avila, 1942-1950
Beth Thurston, 1950-1953
Brad Braley, 1953-1972
Calvin Taylor, 1972-1977
Jim Teel, 1977-1989
John Grover Lewis, 1989-1995
The King's Heralds - by Dan Shultz 2007
Eighty years ago three brothers and a friend joined voices to form a quartet to sing gospel music at what is now Southwestern Adventist University, naming themselves The Lone Star Four. Within a decade they were hired by young evangelist H.M.S. Richards to assist in a radio broadcast called Tabernacle of the Air. A year later the program was renamed The Voice of Prophecy, and the quartet became The King's Heralds. After the program became a national broadcast, Richards and the quartet became a popular part of Adventist identity, one that continued throughout the 1950s and 1960s. In 1982, the quartet left the program and became the Heralds. They are now again known as The King's Heralds.
Little did the three Crane brothers, Waldo, Wesley, and Louis, and friend Ray Turner realize what they were starting when, as college students in Texas, they made those initial attempts at harmony in 1928 and named themselves The Lone Star Four. Within a decade they were singing on The Voice of Prophecy radio broadcast as The King's Heralds, part of what would grow to be one of the most successful national and international religious broadcasts of the 20th century.
By the time of the program's first national broadcast in January 1942, four weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Waldo and Louis Crane had left the quartet. A year later, Wesley left, to be replaced by Wayne Hooper. Turner would continue as a member until 1947.
There would be a number of changes in personnel all through the 1940s, some brought about by an attempt by church leaders in Washington, D.C., who, responding to pressure from trained musicians who wanted a more sophisticated level of music in the broadcast, hired George Greer to work with the quartet. When both Richards and the quartet resisted Greer's efforts, church leaders in Washington released three members of the quartet in early 1947 and made an attempt to replace Richards.
Finally, in the middle of that year, the situation became untenable and Greer left, to be replaced by Lon Metcalfe. Again, there were clashes and, in 1949, Metcalfe also left.
Hooper, who had been one of the three released in 1947, had just completed a music degree at Union College in Nebraska. He was invited to return to the VOP and agreed to do so with the understanding that he could form a new quartet and have control over what it sang.
Hooper brought back Bob Seamount, who had also been released in 1947, to sing second tenor, retained Bob Edwards as first tenor, moved Jerry Dill from baritone to bass, and placed himself as baritone. The new quartet, with its unique blend of voices, would sing together for the next 12 years.
Their choices in music, along with recent breakthroughs in sound recording and reproduction would define The King's Herald sound for millions of listeners. The advent of records and stereo enabled the quartet to release quality records that Adventists and VOP listeners eagerly purchased.
Hooper would sing until 1962, when he became musical director of the broadcast. During his years with the VOP, he would become famous for his composing and arranging talents.
Through the years, the quartet traveled literally thousands of miles, particularly during the camp meeting season, when it was not unusual for them to travel over 12,000 miles a summer. It was a grueling schedule with long drives over the road, last minute arrivals when delays occurred along the way, constant performing, and extended visiting after the meetings.
Seamount was the first to leave the Hooper quartet, to be replaced with John Thurber in 1961. The following year Hooper and Dill left, replaced by Jack Veazey, baritone, and Jim McClintock, bass. These new members, along with Edwards, would sing together as a highly regarded group for the next five years.
By the end of their time together in the late 1960s, radio audiences were dwindling as more people tuned in to television. By the beginning of the 1980s, radio evangelism was relying on short two-, five-, or 15-minute programs that focused more on the message and less on music. Also, during those years, musical tastes of the radio audience were changing to a preference for more contemporary music.
These changes as well as the salaries and travel expense associated with a music group, led to the release of the quartet and its accompanist, Jim Teel, in the summer of 1982. Teel and the quartet immediately formed an independent ministry called The Heralds' Ministries. The quartet, now named The Heralds, began to function on its own, inviting Teel to assist as a keyboard artist and arranger.
They began performing extensively in the U.S. and internationally on Christian television and in concerts at churches of many denominations. They also visited hospitals and prisons on a regular basis.
It was not an easy transition. Jerry Patton, one of the quartet members who had already been with the King's Heralds for 15 years, would continue with the new group for another 22 years, a record length of service for any quartet member in its eighty years of existence. He later talked about the challenges they encountered as they established themselves as an independent entity. It was an experience that tested his faith and, in the end, made him grow stronger spiritually. Jim Ayars, another quartet member who sang during the transition, would also observe that those first few years were challenging as they sought to establish a ministry that broadened to include other venues outside the Adventist circle of churches and institutions.
In it first seven years, Teel and the quartet expanded their repertoire to include a mix of contemporary favorites, traditional hymns, and spirituals. They also always included something for the children. The group began to win Angel Awards for the excellence of their recordings, plus one for their 15-minute radio broadcast, Sounds of Praise. The program, created for use by local pastors, was written and produced by Teel.
In 1985, they traveled to China as part of a cultural exchange program with the U.S., the first Christian group to do so. Since 2003, they have traveled annually to Africa to present both music and evangelistic sermons under the auspices of Global Evangelism.
As an independent ministry, they have had numerous opportunities to perform for other Christian groups, including the Christian Booksellers Association, the National Association of Religious Broadcasters, the Protestant Health and Welfare Association, the Greater Pittsburgh Charismatic Conference and the Baptist World Alliance. They also continue to perform for meetings scheduled by the Adventist church.
The quartet appears regularly on "Praise the Lord" on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and on "It Is Written." Additionally, they have continued to sing for patients and their families in hospitals and witness to inmates with their prison ministry.
In 2003, they reclaimed The King's Heralds name when the VOP failed to renew its copyright in a timely way. It was a controversial move, yet one that prevailed in spite of a challenge from the VOP.
The Heralds, now again the King's Heralds, have continued to receive Angel Awards for their work. Over the years, the quartet has earned a total of twenty-three Silver Angel Awards for "Excellence in Media," including six for "Best Male Vocal Group," and fourteen for "Best Album." The group received a "Gold" Angel Award in 1992 for being the oldest continuous Gospel Quartet in America.
Today the King's Heralds maintain an active concert schedule doing five-week tours and performing 40 weekends a year. In a typical year they give over 175 concerts.
Including the Heralds years, twenty-nine men have sung in the quartet since its founding 80 years ago. They have recorded over 100 albums in thirty different languages in a variety of musical styles, making them a favorite with audiences of all ages and social strata.
The tradition in blend, harmony, and balance in the quartet's a cappella singing style, a distinctive sound since 1949, has been enjoyed by millions in the United States and over 50 countries, including the islands of the Caribbean, all of Latin America, the South Pacific, Australia, Asia, and Africa. They have sung for heads of state, governors, ambassadors and other dignitaries, as well as for those in the humblest walks of life.
As they celebrate their 80th year of ministry and look to the future, they are anxious to continue and build on the rich heritage in Christian witness they have inherited from past members of the quartet.
Sources: Robert E. Edwards, H.M.S. Richards, 1998, Review and Herald Association; King's Heralds Website; interviews/conversations with Wayne Hooper, 10, 14 February 2005; Jerry Patton, Jim Teel, and Jim Ayars, February 2005.