♦ WHAT WAS THE REASON YOU STARTED COMMON BOND QUARTET? / HOW LONG HAS THE GROUP BEEN TOGETHER?
Common Bond Quartet was started in 2009 when Rick Melton (owner/lead) and Kevin Willis (the group’s original tenor) were singing in a quartet in their local church in Mt. Sterling, KY. Early in 2009 they lost a couple of their members due to job and family obligations. Rick contacted a long-time friend of his, Bryan Stevenson (bass) who had also been singing in a group in his home church in a nearby town (Winchester, KY) and that group, coincidentally, had also recently lost members . Rick and Bryan discussed merging the remnants of the two groups: including Rick, Kevin, Bryan and Mike Bradshaw (baritone,) and that was the beginning of Common Bond.
The original plan for the Common Bond was that it would be a regional group singing mainly in each of their home churches, and occasionally in and around Lexington, KY. But in that very first meeting, the group began praying for God to direct the ministry, and open doors for them to walk through. Little could they have imagined at that time that before long God would open doors in what now is a ministry that has spanned from Canada to Florida and from Missouri to Virginia…and in most of the states in between!
♦ OUT OF ALL THE DATES YOU HAVE SUNG THROUGH THE YEARS, IS THERE ONE THAT STANDS OUT? TELL US ABOUT IT, AND WHY.
So, there are two incidents that immediately come to mind when thinking back on our times together:
ONE: We were singing at a church in Tennessee one Sunday evening. Just the previous week, in our area (Lexington, KY) there had been two girls, three days apart, who had committed suicide. Rick was setting up a song that was written by one of the guys in the group. The song: ‘A Blessing’s On The Way’ talks about not giving up, even when you get discouraged, because often a blessing is just around the corner. Rick spoke about the hopelessness that is abundant in our society and how we, as Christians, can have hope in Christ. At the conclusion of the song, a lady got up and shared that she was not even going to come to the service that evening, but for some reason she felt led to come. She said that she felt like she was feeling the same as those two girls before coming to the service; but, that after hearing the song, and hearing what Rick had shared, she realized that she does have a hope and that a blessing may be just around the corner for her, too. She testified that she felt she was on a new path, and that her life had been changed!
TWO: Another time Rick was making a point about how we need to forgive. He made the statement that oftentimes it is more difficult to forgive someone in your own family, or someone that you are close to than it is to forgive someone that you don’t know. He went on to say that in order for us to be Christ Like, we need to forgive everybody—even those who are hard to forgive.
At the end of the service, two families in the church ‘crossed the aisle’ and asked for forgiveness from each other. The pastor later told Rick that the church had been on the verge of a split because of the bitterness in these two families, and he believed that what we witnessed that night very well may have prevented a church split.
♦ TELL US ABOUT SOMETHING YOU ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2018
In 2018, we look forward:
…to being given more opportunities to share with people about the hope, love, forgiveness and joy that can be found in Christ.
…to being better stewards of the time and abilities that we have been given.
…to seeking wisdom in the repertoire that we select so that it speaks truth to the hearts and minds of those who hear it.
♦ INTRODUCE US TO THE GROUP – INCLUDING WHAT PART EACH PERSON SINGS.
Rick Melton is the owner and lead singer for the group. Rick has been singing since his sister convinced him to sing in her wedding over 40 years ago. Since college, he has sung in several different trios and quartets. While Rick has a smooth solo voice, what really sets him apart is the ease with which he communicates with an audience. No two concerts with CBQ are ever the same because of Rick’s ability to sense the Spirit’s leading as to the direction the service should take. Rick often uses stories and humor to challenge the listener to think about things differently, rise to a challenge, or make a life-changing decision.
Bryan Stevenson is a ‘Preacher’s Kid’ and has been in church and singing for the Lord most of his life. As bass for the group, with nearly perfect pitch, Bryan’s smooth and full voice forms a solid foundation for the groups signature sound. As a soloist, Bryan’s deep and rich delivery provides an unforgettable and clear message, every time.
Mike Bradshaw is everything you want in a Baritone. He solidly balances the chords between the melody and the bass lines—not always an easy job! In true baritone fashion, he’ll not always be ‘out there’, but if he weren’t there, you’d certainly miss him! As a soloist, Mike delivers a passionate lyric that is always a joy to listen to.
Lee McCarren is the newest member of the group, joining us in January 2018. We’re excited about having Lee join the group as not only tenor; but he also has many years’ experience as a drummer. We’re looking forward to working with him, and getting out on the road with him.
Karen Tate Melton is the alto, back-up tenor, pianist, publicist and booking agent for the group. In other words, if it needs to be done, and there is no one else to do it…she takes care of it!
♦ IF SOMEONE WANTED TO BOOK THE GROUP, HOW COULD THEY DO THAT?
Common Bond is currently booking for 2018 and 2019. Our schedule is available on our website: www.commonbondquartet/schedule. Additionally, through the website, you may complete the Booking Request Form to request us on a certain date. And, of course, you are always welcome to contact us by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Karen at 541-974-5002.
Common Bond Quartet currently has 5 CDs available for purchase on our website. Several projects are also available on Amazon and other music sites. Two more projects (1) a compilation of classic southern gospel favorites and (2) a collection of hymns are scheduled for release in 2018.
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