Kenny Bishop - Invincible and Bulletproof
Kenny Bishop reflects on his mistakes:
"When you feel invincible and bulletproof, you'll walk through a hail of
bullets. Feeling bulletproof and being bulletproof are two entirely different
things. I allowed myself to make some really foolish and remarkably dumb
decisions that caused me to lose the work, the ministry and the business that we
worked hard to achieve. It really spurred me and led me into a life of
rebellion." April 23rd, 2007
It is rather odd for a Catholic Deacon to greet Easter Sunday, with the
refrain from a Bill Gaither song going on inside of his head and heart. After
all isn't that an evangelical Protestant hymn? However, that is precisely what
happens to me on Easter Sunday. I find myself singing, "in my heart" the refrain
of this popular evangelical Protestant song.
Perhaps it is because of all my years of working with so many dear evangelical
Protestant friends in pro-life work. I have long considered myself to be an
"Evangelical Catholic", using the phrase almost two decades ago in my first
book, back when it was considered controversial. Whatever the cause, I welcome
the experience of this song coming to life within me on this great Day of Days,
because it is used by the Holy Spirit each year to awaken faith within me.
The verses of this song provide a backdrop for some Resurrection reflections
which I offer to you.
Tributes to Roger Bennett (Update II) The Singing News "Trade Review" email newsletter
presents a series of tributes to Roger. I presume this is all somewhere on the
website, but right now I can't find it. Here are a few excerpts:
When I think about Roger, I think about the fact that he and I were two boys
from Arkansas who loved Gospel music more than life itself. I think about a
picture that my mom gave me that was of Roger and me on stage in Strawberry, AR,
at his first homecoming concert. He was afraid no one would show up and the gym
was packed to capacity. We were both in our early 20's then, and upon getting
our jobs with the Cathedrals, thought we had "died and gone to the good place"
one old man said.
Back then, Roger was single and LaResa and I had just been married a couple of
years. We lived next door to each other twice during our years there. I remember
one year in particular Roger came home from summer vacation and talked about
this "girl" he wanted us to meet. Her name was Debra. The way he talked about
her I knew that he was "smitten" by her. It wasn't long until the engagement
ring and then the wedding and then she moved to Lorwood Drive in Stow, OH, with
the rest of us. To this day, she is the only sane part of Roger Bennett's life.
Later, we bought houses next to each other. Started having families. His fence
was my fence. He couldn't crank a lawnmower and I couldn't turn on a computer,
so we made real good neighbors as well as working partners.
- Mark Trammell
I was first exposed to quartet music when I was 15 years old, when I attended
my first Gospel concert--the Cathedrals. That night, I met the pianist who would
make a big impact in my desire to play Gospel music. After hearing Roger Bennett
play, I was hooked.
When the concert was over, I went to the product table and introduced myself.
Roger had never heard of me or ever heard me play, but he gave me his full
attention. That made a great impression on a fifteen-year-old redheaded pianist.
He gave me his "Heavenly Highway Hymns" solo CD, and the Cathedrals "Radio Days"
CD. I took them home and tried my best to pattern my playing after his. I wanted
to be just like Roger Bennett.
Soon after, I made my own CD in which I recorded several of his piano solo
arrangements. Then I mailed a copy to him. A few days later, I received a call
from my hero! I can't put into words how that made me feel.
- Stewart Varnado
Roger was an encourager. He encouraged audiences by his very presence,
especially in his latter years. He was always supportive of other groups and
other forms of ministry. Looking back over my interview transcripts from the
past quarter-century, it seems Roger seldom failed – as part of an interview –
to encourage us in our work through the broadcast.
Back in 1999, he and Scott Fowler even allowed my program to be the catalyst for
finding a new name for their new quartet through an on-air contest, and they
visited my studio when the time came to telephone the listener who sent in the
Roger was insightful. He once told me (on mike during an interview, with Shelia
in the room), "Paul's a nice guy, talented, but without Shelia, The Gospel
Greats would be just another radio program." March 20th, 2007
Tributes to Roger Bennett
The above is taken from an email bulletin from Greater Vision.
Debbie pays tribute at Roger's
Midnight Meditations blog, where he wrote -
often so movingly - about his long struggle:
evident a few days ago that the only earthly way out of this situation for Roger
was going to be a miracle. By yesterday evening, it was evident that the way out
for him was going to be a Heavenly miracle. I can only imagine what lies in
store for him there! How must it feel to hear those words spoken by the Father:
"Well done, my good and faithful servant!"
In the following days and weeks, I plan to share with you all some of the "God
things" that have happened these last few days.
Avery Fineline (Doug Harrison), who, in his writing, so often gets it just
I didn’t know him, only exchanged a few brief emails with him a couple of
times, and have nothing by way of eulogy that won’t seem to be trying too hard
to make myself a part of the grief that many others much closer to him than I
have more right to. Instead, let me reprint the last thing I wrote about Bennett
while he was alive, from October of last year.
I always thought Bennett was one of the most tasteful piano players in
Southern Gospel. He knew how to add just the right amount of flash to a song to
make it stand out. He had a good sense of flow. At NQC's Pianorama one year
(when Anthony Burger was still the featured host), all the other players were
wowing the crowd with flashy runs and bombastic tracks, Bennett went up when it
was his turn and played a calm hymn.
The only time I ever had the opportunity to speak with Bennett briefly was at a
Cathedrals Reunion concert at Furman University in Greenville, SC during the
late 1990s. I bought his piano book and got him to autograph it. Come to think
of it, that's the last time I got an autograph from an artist. I still use the
piano book in church on a regular basis.
The chills are going up and down my spine and I cannot believe my eyes. A few
seconds ago, I opened an email from the Singing News which said that Roger
Bennett just passed away. I simply cannot believe that this has really happened.
When he joined the Cathedral Quartet as a young kid in 1979 or 1980, nobody
dreamed that he would be the first to join George and Glen in glory. But what a
homecoming they must be having right now…
In an email bulletin, Ernie Haase writes:
Roger Bennett along with myself, George Younce, Glen Payne and Scott Fowler
had the great blessing of traveling together for the last 10 years of the
Cathedral Quartet's career. Roger made those long miles very fun and enjoyable.
The sadness we all feel right now is not for Roger ..... He's healthy and whole
... free at last from the body of disease! Our grief is for His family and for
our own personal loss. Not having Roger around is what makes our hearts heavy.
I and all the Signature Sound family grieve today along with all the Gospel
The Hoppers - "I Still See Our Best Years on the Horizon"
I wasn't aware of the writings of
Randall Franks. His syndicated "Southern Style" column regularly
features Southern Gospel artists. (I get lots of SG news via the Google Alert
service, but it seems this doesn't include Randall's column.)
“This is an exciting time in our history, and we are all so grateful,” said
Dean Hopper. “Even after a half-century, I still see our best years on the
horizon. We are still growing and stretching as artists and musicians. Most
importantly, we remain committed to this ministry, and to reaching out to others
with the good news of Christ.” March 12th, 2007
Seeking the Scoop on Signature Sound
Over the past couple of days I've been getting a flood of new visitors to this
site - mainly via Google - seeking information on Ernie Haase and Signature
Sound Quartet. What's going on? Can it just be related to
their appearance on the Focus on the Family
radio program? March 9th, 2007
Quote of the Day
Get Underground "Creative Resistance Designed
for the Emancipation of the Human Spirit" website - an article titled "Why I am
Not a Christian Artist":
I'm talking about Michael English instead of Sandi Patty or Amy Grant or
anyone else from the apparently syphilitic Christian Music industry because
after the scandal English made remarks to the effect that he first went into
Christian music because he couldn't break into secular music. I guess because he
wasn't good enough for secular music. Which is what I want to talk about today.
March 3rd, 2007
Who Can They Be Talking About? Unfortunately, the Star-Telegram does not name names
reviews the clothing of some of the performers
at Friday's Homecoming concert in Dallas:
The music was almost universally excellent, but a few of the acts could
really use a fashion consultant. Just little things like don't wear a polka-dot
tie with a checked shirt and coat. February 19th, 2007
Chonda Pierce - Not Funny
It's been a while since we had one of Chonda Pierce's Roadkill Reports. Now we
It all started just before Christmas when I had minor surgery and was given
some pain medicine to use for the next few days. Three days later I had fallen
into the depths of despair - a darker and more desperate bout than my first
struggle almost three years ago. I have been in and out of the hospital,
changing and tweaking a regimen of medicine and am spending some time with
wonderful counsellors and prayer warriors.
I will honestly tell you that at times when my faith was weak and my spiritual
eyes were covered over by the dark clouds looming over my head - it was the
faith and trust that you prayed over me that has seen me through. It's been a
slow recovery this time - but I can finally say I am beginning to climb out of
that dark hole. February 12th, 2007
His Song - Broken-Down Bus
I've received the following email:
While touring, the gospel group "His
Song" have had a major setback. Wed. Feb 7 their bus broke down & the
transmission needs replacing. This is a major cost and we are asking other
gospel groups that do the same type ministry to please try to help by sending a
love offering or contact Joe or Lynda Palmer at 706-342-0660 or cell
706-318-6394 for more info. Also please call Dennis Humphreys singer with "His
Song" at 423-883-2101 for any help or information...Please pray for them, as of
right now they are using the truck/trailer that our pastor Wayne Powers loaned
so they could go on to Florida to sing. God Bless You all. February 10th, 2007
Every year the Grammy Award nominations deliver some intriguing surprises
that make industry folks scratch their heads and ask, "What?" February 9th, 2007
had a couple of emails advising me of interesting recordings:
Ministries have informed me of Kristen Roller's CD, "Beautiful Day".
Lots of detail is at the website, and you can listen to some of the tracks.
There is also information about the Pillar Music Group and the Women of Pillar
Marty Raybon and Parrish Nichols have a CD "Their Blood on Our Hands". You can
read about it at
their website, and also, by clicking through
the site, you can listen to lots of their music. February 7th, 2007
Win a Beach Bag
If you hurry you might still be able to win a
Weekend beach bag from the St Petersburg
Gospel singers Bill and Gloria Gaither bring the Bill Gaither Homecoming to
Tampa Saturday. In 1970, Mrs. Gaither composed a song after the birth of their
son that is now a widespread favorite hymn. To enter the random drawing for a
Weekend beach bag, tell us the name of that song. January 26th, 2007
Well, yes, it is the middle of summer here in Melbourne, and, in between dodging
sharks, we're enduring a serious drought that
means we can't wash our cars (suits me) and can water our gardens just twice a
But I've also been busy with "real" work. My
investment book is selling well, and as a
result I've been
asked to write for the Money supplement of the
Sydney Morning Herald.
And, as I have
written previously, I started Southern Gospel
Beat as a kind of experiment, to see if it were possible to make money from a
website, via some advertising and affiliate links to ChristianBook.com.
I do make something ($60 a month average during 2006), but it is some other
sites that I established that have proven far more lucrative. My
Personal Health Monitor Blog made an
astonishing (to me) $1,200 in December 2006, thanks to booming Christmas
and I'm now devoting a lot more of my limited time to that.
And I must confess that I have an unfortunate tendency to become passionate
about something or other, throw myself into it, and then move on. For many
years I was crazy about world music, and I still have a collection of a couple
of hundred CDs.
Then I discovered Southern Gospel, and accumulated lots of the Gaither DVDs. For
a while last year I was watching them almost every night, and listening to
online SG radio during the day.
But for several months now I've found myself, for some reason, with a renewed interest in
classical music and art, and I'm not listening to so much SG. I guess
that gets reflected in this website.
But now I know that people notice, and care, I suppose I'll just have to try
harder. January 25th,