What a difference a year makes! 2016 was a very busy year for the Masters Men, with more singings than we have had in the last few years. We were everywhere from Pancake Suppers at First United Methodist in Woodville, to the County Fair in Newton, to the 80th Anniversary of Calvary Baptist in Port Acres, to the 90th Anniversary of Rosedale Baptist in Beaumont, to the 100 year Anniversary of Wiley Mae Pentecostal Church (hmmm…seems like they call old guys to celebrate old events!) We were asked to participate at Christmas Parties for Calvary Baptist and Westgate Baptist in Beaumont and Stringer-Griffith Funeral Homes at Rayburn Country. Everywhere we went we praised the Lord and presented the plan of salvation through song and testimony.
We kicked off the year with our first concert at Genesis Baptist Church in Buna, Texas on January 16th. Our 9th Annual Winter Celebration on February 27th was a great night of singing and praising the Lord at Silsbee High School Auditorium with 11th Hour, The Perrys and the Booth Brothers. In April we traveled to the northern area of Louisiana, where our senior tenor, Jimmy Norwood, grew up. We sang in Rocky Branch Baptist Church in Farmerville and at Boeuf River Baptist in Rayville. This year we sang in Tenaha, Timpson and Blair…if we can just find a church to sing at in Bobo, we can say we’ve been everywhere (for our younger viewers, it’s a reference to an old country & western song by Hank Snow…look it up.) Our 16th Annual Gospel Reunion in August featured the Ball Brothers, the Jim Brady Trio and Jeff & Sheri Easter and was awesome! This year we were blessed to sing in several different denominations, including Assembly of God, Baptist, United Methodist, Church of the Nazarene and Pentecostal, demonstrating that the message of Jesus Christ is universal and people everywhere like good ol’ Southern Gospel Music.
New developments included Kent and Keith both changing jobs, Rick joining the ranks of the happily retired, the Masters Men becoming their own independent 501C3 non-profit religious organization and Kent and Iva becoming Hardin County residents (Wildwood) on Dec. 29th. There were some sad times as well in 2016, as Rick had to say goodbye to both his father and brother, and Rusty bid farewell to his father. Neither of them lost anything, because they know their loved ones are now at home with Jesus and one day they will have a great homecoming celebration.
The Masters Men are eagerly anticipating and looking forward to 2017, starting with the 10th Annual Winter Celebration coming February 28th at the Silsbee High School Auditorium with Joseph Habedank, former lead singer for The Perrys, Greater Vision and Triumphant Quartet. Tickets are available online at mastersmensilsbee.org. There will also be a new project coming next year and we are excited about that. May you all have a spirit-led Happy New Year!