Saturday, May 26, 2018

Backstage with Liberty Quartet

 Hey, y'all!

Modesty here today, this time with a group interview for you all to enjoy.   This is our first interview with an entire group, so you'll have to let us know what you think!

Royce Mitchell, Bass
-(Modesty): Tell us a little about Liberty Quartet.
-(Royce Mitchell, Bass):  "Liberty Quartet was uniquely established in the Northwest and more specifically hails from Meridian, Idaho. Royce Mitchell, one of the founders, who has managed Liberty through 22 + years, has made Psalm 104:33 a foundational verse of Scripture for the group, “ I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live. I will sing praise to My God while I have my being”. We love to sing. We love to deliver the message of God’s love through Gospel music. We travel primarily in the west, but have sung in 40 of the 50 States as well as four Provinces of Canada, and Mexico. It is exciting to push the envelope stylistically, and include humor to emphasize the joy found while serving the Lord. The group has had 14 members through the years, and the current quartet totals 42 years of Liberty between the 4 men."

Paul Ellis, Lead
 -(Modesty): Would you share your salvation testimony with us?
-(Paul Ellis, Lead):  "I grew up in a pastor's home, Nazarene denomination, and therefore was around the Gospel all of my life. It was at a revival in one of those small churches when I was about 8 years old that I remember going forward and asking Christ into my heart. Another milestone in my journey came when I knelt and prayed at an altar during the first revival service of my Christian college experience. There I remember making a conscious decision that I not only wanted to know that my sins were forgiven, but I wanted Christ to be Lord of my life—Lord of my past, present and future, Lord of my decisions, Lord of my thought life, Lord of all. There have been many other milestones along my journey with my Savior, but one more that I must share is that day when His love swept over me like a cool refreshing Nebraska thunderstorm at the end of a 100 degree day. In my office studying for my ordination as a pastor His grace became so real to me and I finally understood that I could stop trying to earn my way into His kingdom, because He had already paid the price. Believe it or not that was the day in my journey when I finally had the feeling of freedom in Christ. I'm still on a journey with Christ and His salvation is even more real today in my life then it was when I was 8. I'm having the time of my life serving Him, and can't imagine trying to live this life without Him."

-(Modesty):  How did you get started singing SGM?
Philip Batton, Tenor
-(Royce):  "My daddy was from Texas where Southern Gospel was prevalent. He passed it down to each member of the family. I was in my first gospel quartet at the age of 13 singing lead and later involved in a Barbershop quartet. As far as the rest of the group, we all have roots from the South and Midwest where the idiom of Southern Gospel began. None of the 14 members were born in Idaho, but have found Idaho to be a wonderful place to live and raise a family. There is a salting of southerners throughout the west and the group enjoys the appreciation of folks who love having a group that sings that traditional, 4-part harmony!"

-(Modesty): What is your favorite Bible verse, and why?
-(Philip Batton, Tenor):  "My favorite verses currently are Galatians 6:14 and Galatians 2:20. God has done so much for me and shown grace and mercy to me. I owe my all to Him. A life of surrender has proven to be a fulfilling and abundant life, and He is daily teaching me to depend on Him. What a journey!"

Derek Simonis, Baritone
-(Modesty): What is a current favorite song you sing, and why?
-(Derek Simonis, Baritone): "I actually have two favorites that we sing. The first is our current, radio single, "Til Mercy Sang." I love the picture it paints of God's mercy and grace in musical terms. It is truly powerful! The other favorite is "He's Been There, Too." It resonates with me on a deep, personal level because the Lord has brought me through some dark valleys in life. One of Satan's attacks is to make us as followers of Christ feel isolated, and in this battle we often question and doubt there is anyone who understands our pain and struggle. As the title of the song and Isaiah 53 tells us, Jesus walked the road before us, and he has been "there" too."

-(Modesty): Who has been one of (or some of) your biggest influences in your SGM singing?
-(Royce): "Cathedrals, Speer Family, Gatlin Brothers, Ink Spots, Sons Of The Pioneers, and many more!"
-(Paul): "Cathedrals, Talley's, Nelons, Gaither Vocal Band - specifically Guy Penrod and David Phelps."
-(Philip): "Cathedrals, the Couriers, and the Happy Goodmans."
-(Derek): "Cathedrals, Gaither Vocal Band, Gold City, the Happy Goodmans, the Wilburns, and a litany of others!"

-(Modesty): What keeps you busy when you're at home?
-(Paul):  "For these past few years the thing that has kept me the most busy has been keeping the Ellis fleet of cars on the road. All of my married life my wife, Kim, and I have tried to save money by driving old cars. As our children have grown we decided that while we didn't have the means to buy them incredible gifts, we would at least try to provide them with their own old, but somewhat reliable car. I'm almost embarrassed to say this but at one point this past year we had seven cars parked outside of our home (and it wasn't because we were hosting the small group meeting that week). There is usually not a week that goes by when I'm not underneath a vehicle changing the oil, putting on new brakes or swapping out an alternator or similar part. As it stands now our fleet consists of 5 vehicles, 4 of which are 20 years old or older and 3 of which have over 250,000 miles on them. The van that I drive is getting ready to turn over 300,000 miles. I think I have a disease."
-(Modesty): What is something most people do not know about you?
-(Derek): "I love to eat ice cream! Ok, actually everyone knows that. Actually, I tried out for America's Got Talent when I was much younger. I was very excited and nervous. I got in front of the preliminary panel and promptly forgot the words to the song. Needless to say, I did not get selected to proceed!"

 -(Modesty): What is a funny story from your time on the road?
-(Philip): "The funniest thing that has happened during a concert was in Lake Almanor, CA. A black cat strolled in and proceeded to walk down the middle aisle towards us while we were singing “Victory in Jesus”. Of course someone grabbed him and carried him out the back and about 10 seconds later the cat came running back in again. Needless to say, we did not make it through the song because I could not hold back my laughter."

-(Modesty): What is one of the most challenging aspects of doing what you do?
-(Paul): "I think with any job / ministry one of the most challenging aspects is to keep your personal, family, work and ministry all in balance and in proper priority. I might be biased but I think it's even more so when your job / ministry requires you to travel and be away from your family. Fortunately for us in Liberty, we have a leader in Royce Mitchell who has made it his personal mission to give the group members opportunity to do so. He adjusts the schedule from time to time and has hired a singer when needed so that we have opportunity to attend important, once in a lifetime family events."

-(Modesty): Do you have anything else you'd like to add for our readers?
-(Derek):  "One of the very unique aspects of Liberty is that it is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. In the beginning of the ministry, the Lord gave wisdom to the men who founded it to set it up this way. There is a board of directors who love the Lord and the ministry, and they are dedicated to the mission of spreading the gospel through song. Also, through the years, there have been "Friends of Liberty" who have stepped forward to donate to the ministry on a monthly basis. This allows the group freedom to minister in many different settings where there may not be monetary income such as prisons, nursing homes, etc. We are incredibly thankful for our supporters who carry this ministry financially and in prayer! The primary goal of this ministry is about lifting up Jesus. This is not just a cliche' but its the personal goal of each member. May Christ be lifted up to draw all men unto himself!"

Liberty, thank you all so much for taking a few minutes out of your day to spend with us here.  Readers, I hope you enjoyed!  Be sure to visit the Liberty Quartet website, and Like their page on Facebook.  Do keep an eye out, because we'll also be sharing a Liberty Quartet CD review here shortly!

-Modesty + Mercy

1 comment:

  1. Loved this article. My cousin, Paul Ellis, is an incredible man and God has given him an incredible gift. He has taken this God given gift and used it to spread the Good News. I am thankful for Paul and for Liberty Quartet. They are a wonderful ministry to every ear that hears them and every heart they reach and turn to our Lord.