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Warren Bell, Author - September 8, 2017 - Blog Post
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Haunting Melodies From The Past


A couple of weeks ago, I received a pleasant surprise from my older brother, Tom.  While reading the online version of our hometown newspaper, he had come across a "blast from the past" photograph of the boy's gospel quartet in which I sang over sixty years ago. As I viewed those youthful faces, memories of the time we four fledgling musicians spent together flooded my mind. We had quite a ride for a group of early teenagers.

We were still in the eighth grade at Southside Elementary School in El Dorado, Arkansas, when my friend, Johnny McCleskey, approached me about joining the quartet he and Glenn Daniels were putting together. My voice had changed early, and I had been singing bass in our church choir for over a year. The quartet sounded like fun, so I signed up. That would be my only gig in the entertainment business until I became an indie author decades later.

I soon learned that the quartet had been Glenn's idea. His grandmother was a lover of gospel music, and she had passed that love on to him. He became our lead (melody) singer. Johnny, who was a piano prodigy, would be our first tenor. His voice had not yet changed, so he could soar to high notes the rest of us could not even imagine. Our friend, Bill Bruton, was our second tenor. I sang bass. Being able to belt out notes below the bass cleft surprised many listeners. All four of us had music training. Not much rehearsal was needed before we really clicked and started blending well. At first, Johnny both played the piano and sang, but Virginia Adams, a talented pianist a little older, soon joined us as our accompanist. Johnny's and Virginia's fathers became our transportation and informal managers.
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