More Perrys Memories

The Perrys current lineup: Tracy Stuffle, Joseph Habedank, Libbi Perry Stuffle, Jared Stuffle, and Bryan Walker. Photos Courtesy of The Perrys
The Perrys current lineup: Tracy Stuffle, Joseph Habedank, Libbi Perry
Stuffle, Jared Stuffle, and Bryan Walker. Photos Courtesy of The Perrys

From SGNScoops Magazine November 2010. By Dee Ann Bailey

“I Know What I’m Singing About”
is a cut off The Perrys new project
Blue Skies that is due out in late
November. In 1970, their song be-
gan but it was born from sorrow. In
the midst of that sorrow, they gath-
ered around a piano and began to
sing. And sing they did!

Perrys Blue SkiesThe talent roster that has passed
through The Perrys as they have
made this incredible journey is im-
pressive. Of course, originally it
was the Perrys themselves Randy,
Debra and Libbi, “God’s little peo-
ple.” Then as God began to move
the family members in other direc-
tions and toward other ministries,
Libbi Perry Stuffle and her husband
Tracy continued to carry the banner.
Nicole Watts Jenkins, Mike Bowling,
David Hill, Loren Harris, Justin Ellis,
Nick Trammell, Matt Holt, and more
recently Troy Peach and Bryan Elliot
are some of the talented individuals
that have helped make this group a
fan favorite year after year.

But at the core, at 4’8” is a dynam-
ic alto that has been here since the
beginning, Libbi Perry Stuffle. As
Tracy often says ‘What she is lack-
ing in height God made up in vocal
chords.” Consistently nominated as
fan favorite alto of the year, Libbi is
still amazed when she is awarded
that title.

SGNScoops Magazine 2010
SGNScoops Magazine November 2010

“I don’t deserve this but I’m so
thankful.” In 2009, Libbi stated at
the awards that she often feels like
the problem child when it comes
to the group and sound. “Having
about 20% hearing means that I
must have sound in my ear buds
and when there are problems with
the sound, I’m in trouble. At times
it seems too difficult and I feel like
giving up but then someone shares
a song touched them or the fans
bestow an award that lets me know
they appreciate the message I’m
trying to give. It affirms that I’m
where God wants me to be.”

The road hasn’t been easy and
there have been times when it the
valleys were too dark. In Novem-
ber 2003, The Perrys lost their #1
supporter as their dad left us to go 15
listen to the heavenly choir sing. He was a man loved not only by his family but by group members, past and present and the fans. His race was run and he was now on the other side cheering them on. Still they carried on.

Then on August 11, 2010 a time came that neither of them were really prepared for. Tracy was experiencing
pain and once the doctors saw him, things began to move really fast. In addition to having multiple block-
ages Tracy learned he was a diabetic and also there was a small heart aneurysm. After determining that
would this not be a problem, Tracy’s surgery was set for August 13th.

What the hospital wasn’t prepared for and what Tracy and Libbi didn’t fully understand, was how much they
were loved! The hospital switchboard was overwhelmed and the waiting rooms were overflowing. The love this
couple had inspired was now surrounding them as gentle prayers was being whispered for them not only across the country but around the world.

PerrysThis outpouring of love caused the hospital to ask them to begin a Caring Bridge website to keep everyone updates as their lines could not handle
the influx of calls. As he made it through the surgery and Libbi and Jared were allowed to see him, a collective sigh of relief was heard in many homes that had been praying for

“We didn’t know that Tracy was diabetic and we thought the pain he was experiencing was from a hienal hernia, we had no clue he had anything wrong with his heart. But the doctors said that many folks in his shape, by the time they have a clue is already too late. The good news is he was here and able to get better. The bad news, he had to get in better shape because the doctors were not giving us options if he didn’t.”

PerrysOver the next few days Tracy continued to improve and as happens in the southern gospel world, the
‘show’ must go on. Troy’s wife Katy stepped in to filling for Libbi and the group traveled as a trio consisting of Troy and Katy Peach, and Joseph Habadank. They filled the dates so Libbi could be where she belonged,
by Tracy’s side.

“Our vows said ‘for better or worse, in sickness and in health’ but I thought that would be later in life, when we were old and grey, I didn’t expect it to be now. But she has not left my side, she encourages me and has been with me every step of the way,” says Tracy.

“When they were wheeling him away from me, there were so many ‘what ifs’ that came to mind but there was no time, they said we have to do this now. All I could do was put him in God’s hands” Libbi adds.

“God’s been good to us, we have felt the prayers and words can’t express
how much that means to us. Tracy is doing good and losing weight, his insulin keeps being reduced and we believe before long we can begin to control his sugar with just diet. His blood pressure is still giving us a few problems but the doctors are pleased with his progress.”

Tracy was able to join the group at NQC and although he didn’t sing the full sets each night he was there every
night Monday – Friday.

“At times we have to chuckle at what folks say to us. We asked that folks be encouraging and give Tracy support.

Sure enough before long we were hearing horror stories of what
some folks had been through. But
God was there with us through the
good times and the bad; He hasn’t
failed, and we know He isn’t going

Just as with anything in our lives,
change happens, and as they finish
out this year and look forward to
2011, there are changes with The
Perrys. They will not have a full
time pianist, at least for a while.

On select dates Matt Holt will come
back and play with the group, but
his full time job at Bethel University
keeps him on the road a quite a bit
as it is.

“I hope to do a few dates a month
with The Perrys, but I’m also travelling with the Renaissance program
at Bethel so my travel time is some-
what limited,” Matt explains.

Libbi Perry Stuffle of the Perrys
Libbi Perry Stuffle of the Perrys

One possible upside from the time
Matt is available to travel with The
Perrys, other than the fact that he
is a phenomenal pianist, is he and
Joseph Habadank may have the
chance to pen a few more good
songs. “Matt’s my best friend and
I’m always excited when he is able
to travel with us.”

Also, with the departure of Troy
Peach, The Perrys have added a
young man who is no stranger to
SGM or many other Americans for
that matter. Bryan Walker, former-
ly with the Dixie Melody Boys and
American Idol contestant is their
new baritone. Bryan was the Sing-
ing Cop on American Idol, and while
he did not make it to the final 24,
he did make it to Hollywood week
and his vocal ability was praised
by judges Randy Jackson and Kara

“I’m very excited about this oppor-
tunity,” Bryan says. “I’ve spent time
talking with Tracy and Libbi and I’m
thankful that God is allowing me to
be a part of this group. Pray for
us as we are doing what God has
called us to do. I know that gospel
music is where I belong; it’s where
my heart is.”

The song and the singers will still
carry on. They know what they are
singing about and that message
resonates with those listening: It’s
not about being perfect, it’s about
allowing Him to perfect us.