The Cathedral Quartet, often known as simply The Cathedrals (or briefly for one album Bobby Clark and the Cathedral Quartet), was an American southern gospel quartet that lasted from 1964 until their disbandment at the end of 1999. The tenor and baritone position changed often during the Cathedrals' long career, but the four most stable versions had George Younce and Glen Payne teamed with Roy Tremble (tenor), and George Amon Webster (baritone) from 1974-1979; Kirk Talley (tenor), and Mark Trammell (baritone) from 1980-1983; Danny Funderburk (tenor), and Mark Trammell (baritone) from 1983-1990; and Ernie Haase (tenor), and Scott Fowler (baritone) from 1990-1999. The Cathedrals were thought by many quartet fans to be the epitome of class during their peak of popularity from the 1980's until their retirement in 1999.
The Cathedrals began in 1963 as a trio consisting of Glen Payne (former lead singer for The Weatherford Quartet), tenor Bobby Clark, and baritone Danny Koker. They were hired by evangelist Rex Humbard to be the house gospel group of The Cathedral of Tomorrow, taking the name 'The Cathedral Trio'. Within a year, they had become popular enough that Humbard wanted to expand the trio into a quartet. He enlisted bass singer George Younce, then singing with the Blue Ridge Quartet. The newly formed quartet became even more popular with the addition of George's smooth bass. Although performing at the Cathedral of Tomorrow was considered a dream job for a quartet, having a permanent base of operation and steady income, it would not last. Due to the demanding nature of the Humbard ministry, and his desire for the singers to also do counselling, George and Glen decided in 1969 that they should go out on their own instead because they felt they would damage the ministry by doing things outside of their calling. It was a risky move (especially since Koker and Clark had gone on to other interests, while their replacements made the group not yet to the level of the original group). Also, they would now have to travel extensively, while not being guaranteed a steady paycheck. Their lack of name recognition, and the fact that many considered them a "church quartet" instead of a professional one, made it difficult for them to gain an audience base to start with. There were a lot of lean times in those first few years on their own.
Their being on the Canaan label and Marvin Norcross being willing to keep them on it even when their sales were not great, as well as Florida Boys lead singer, Les Beasley, giving them time on the Gospel Singing Jubilee TV show helped give them time to develop their sound and a following. They still struggled and tried about everything they knew such as dressing in styles of the day (but not as dramatically as groups like the Oak Ridge Boys or the Imperials. They had more personnel changes along the way.
Another big "break" eventually came when they made an appearance at Bill Gaither's Praise Gathering in Indianapolis, IN, and shortly afterward, they were inundated with requests for appearances. Gaither also wanted to produce their future albums for Word.
They were popular with crowds due to their superior singing and they also owed much of their popularity to George and Glen's stage presence. George was a wonderful emcee, with a humble demeanor and a terrific sense of humor. Glen was usually the butt of George's jokes. In later years, George often made fun of Glen's age (Glen was two years older than George), calling him 'The Old Man' and using his catch phrase, "I love old people!"
When they thought things couldn't be much better, disaster struck in mid-1979. The three young guys (tenor Roy Tremble, baritone and bass player George Amon Webster, and pianist Lorne Matthews formed their own group after being convinced by a promoter that they were being held back by the "old men." To make matters worse, Glen heard a rumor about it before being told by the three guys, and found it to be true when he checked. It was tough, but many promoters told Glen and George to get a pianist and come anyhow. Soon they got Kirk Talley (from the Hoppers) to sing tenor and Steve Lee to sing baritone and play piano, doing double duty as baritones such as Danny Koker and George Amon Webster had done for them in the past.
Steve and Kirk heard a great piano player playing for a local group who was opening for the Cathedrals. They urged George and Glen to get off of the bus and come listen to him and hire him. After much pleading, they came. They too were blown away by the talents of Roger Bennett and did indeed hire him. This was fortunate for them because not too much later, Steve Lee decided life on the road was not for him, and quit the group. Former tenor, Roger Horne, sang baritone with them until they found a new baritone. They hired Mark Trammell, bass guitarist and sometime vocalist from the Kingsmen to sing and eventually play bass guitar for them. This combination lasted for a while and became a very successful group with songs like "Step Into The Water", "Moving Up To Gloryland", "I Know A Man Who Can" etc. They eventually left Canaan (Word) and went to Riversong (Benson). They then first recorded Glen's signature song, "We Shall See Jesus."
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