Mercy here today, and I am so excited to share this next interview with you featuring KC Armstrong!
First, let me tell you a little bit about KC and then we'll get started.
"My first professional singing job was in the summer of 1996 with Glenn Draper and The Lake Junaluska Singers at the Methodist Conference and Retreat Center in North Carolina (summers of 1996-1998). From there, I have also sung and traveled the world with The Glenn Draper Singers based out of Chattanooga, Tennessee (1996-present). The next professional group I was fortunate to be a part of was Crosswind, led by Jim Brogan out of Knoxville, Tennessee (1997-1999). Jim and Dee Dee Brogan were also the ones responsible for introducing me to my wife, Chara! Thanks guys! Fast forward a few years, I joined up with my friend Pat Vaughn and started an incredible sacred men's ensemble, called Brethren, while working in the Washington, DC area (2005-present). The most recent group I have been blessed to travel and sing with is called The PromisedLand Quartet out of Edinburg, Virginia (2014-present). Gene Hamman and Joey Wilson, original founding members, started up this dynamic Southern Gospel Quartet 16 years ago. Although choral music was what first gave me an opportunity to sing, it was definitly quartet music that has inspired me to find my "big boy" voice and put in me the desire to minister through performing. At the age of 19, I know I was called by God to the music ministry while at a gospel singing in Asheville, North Carolina. I am thrilled to finally come full circle back to a quartet, my first love, where we have plenty of opportunities to lift the name of Jesus, share Jesus with unbelievers, and encourage fellow believers! In addition to the great leaders of the groups I have sung with, I also want to thank all the incredible pianists/accompanists that helped take all these groups to the next level. They are: Kim Cargile & Mark Stamper-The Lake Junaluska Singers and The Glenn Draper Singers, Kevin Eubanks-Crosswind, Justin Dean-Brethren and Aaron Fields-The PromisedLand Quartet. Thank you all!"
And now for the interview.
Mercy: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
KC: I am a husband to my best friend Chara (sounds like Kara). I am a father to three crazy kids (Adaline 12, Brogan 10 and Calvin 7). I am and active duty soldier musician (Sergeant First Class) in The US Army Chorus which is a part of The US Army Band. I am the Bass Vocalist for PromisedLand Quartet January 2014-present. I am a Bass Vocalist in a part-time sacred men's ensemble called Brethren September 2005-present. I am an occasional Solo Artist who performs and records.
Mercy: When did you get saved?
Mercy: How have you drawn from your military singing experience to benefit your southern gospel experience?
KC: My military singing experience has made it easier to sing, speak and entertain to large audiences. It has also made me more flexible and adaptable when things may not go as planned. But on the flip side, ministering to people on the weekends with PromisedLand or Brethren has made it easier to be a musical soothing balm between the front line soldiers and the American public as a member of The US Army Chorus.
Mercy: What is one of your favorite memories from being on the road?
KC: When I was with The USAF Singing Sergeants of DC, we went on a three week tour in the spring of 2002 to the southeast and performed in my home county in NC, Gaston County. I was the vocal soloist for that concert and it was the first time many of my family and friends ever heard me sing! It was an emotional set of spiritual with The USAF Concert Band, I Got Plenty Of Nothing, Steal Away and Ol' Man River.
Mercy: What started your interest in singing?
KC: I grew up singing rather bashful in church children's and youth groups, but focussed mostly on my trumpet playing through grade school. In high school I dated a girl who gave me my first Cathedrals CD, my first Gold City CD and my first Cappella CD. Listening to and singing along with those groups taught me that I could sing bass and not to be ashamed to sing as a man. Later, when I went to college I joined the vocal ensembles and was encouraged to study voice, so I did!
Mercy: What song do you turn on when you need a pick me up?
KC: "Dear Refuge Of My Weary Soul". It is an old hymn text that a group called Indelible Grace from Belmont University recorded almost 20 years ago. I ended up recording it on my first CD in 2011. Here is the first verse: "Dear refuge of my weary soul, On Thee, when sorrows rise, On Thee, when waves of trouble roll, My fainting hope relies. To Thee I tell each rising grief, For Thou alone canst heal; Thy Word can bring a sweet relief For every pain I feel."
Mercy: Who is your Biblical hero?
KC: James: "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance...Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him."
Mercy: How long have you been in the military?
KC: 18 1/2 years
Mercy: Where is your favorite place to eat?
KC: Home, with my wife and kids!
Mercy: What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has happened to you on stage?
KC: The funniest may have been fairly recent? This past Christmas, I played Upright Bass in a Santa costume on an army holiday concert. It was a surprise to many involved in the program. The most embarassing was probably when I had to sing "The Trumpet Shall Sound" from Handel's Messiah in front of a 2,000 plus audience and me, the trumpet player and the organist got off track and none of us were in sync but kept on going. According to the trumpet player, it was my fault and I believe him.
Mercy: Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
KC: I'm doing a solo concert trip to Alabama and back on May 11-13!
KC, thank you so much for doing this! Readers, make sure to check out KC's solo concerts on May 11- 13th as well his other concert dates. If you'd like head on over and give KC's Facebook page a like!
Thanks for reading!