Masterful performance

Published 10:48 am Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Danny White, Chuck Riley and Eddie Smith performed Saturday, Sept. 22 as part of the Master's Men Quartet.

Terry Massey has faced a lot of storms since he began singing gospel music more than 50 years ago. He performed as part of the Master’s Men Quartet at Bethel United Methodist Church Saturday, Sept. 22 to an audience of more than 50 people.

One of the highlights of the program was when Terry dedicated a song to his long-time friend and one of the group’s biggest supporters Alvin Owens.

“We’ve got through these storms,” Massey said. “We go through them every day. Some storms are actually good.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

After nearly an entire lifetime of singing gospel, Massey said it is time for him to take a break.

“It’s time to step aside and let someone younger fill in,” Massey said, before adding some humor to what could have been a heavy moment. “I doubt if he’ll be good-looking,” he quipped.

Following Massey’s number, Owens came to the stage and sang a tune of his own.

“I couldn’t have done what I did tonight if it wasn’t for them,” Owens said after the show. “They’re not just ordinary folks. They’re the best friends.”

The group started performing 18 years ago, but still manages to attract new members as about four in the audience were hearing them for the first time.

For all the long-time fans, they dusted off the old tunes without much rehearsal, playing such favorites as “I’m Free Again,” “The Eastern Gates,” “It’s Still True,” and “This World is Not My Home.” “I’m Feeling Fine” managed to bring several audience members to their feet with applause.

The group formed at Woodbine United Methodist Church in Pace, Fla. In the beginning, the group has twelve members. At this point, the group calls Milton, Fla. home and includes Chuck Riley as lead, Eddie Smith as baritone and sound guy, Danny White as bass, and Terry Massey as first tenor. The group brought twelve members the first time they performed at Mount Bethel.

They estimated they’ve played at least fourteen times at the church. Audience members adamantly denied it.

“It’s gotta’ be more than that!” they yelled.

Owens still remembers the first performance.

“I was at the first concert that they did at Bethel and that was 18 years ago,” Owens said. “I’ve been with them on trips. We’ve been to North Carolina. I’ve been with them in Florida.”

The group was dressed in familiar suits of tan with black khaki pants, white dress shirts and alternating ties of black and gold. The group lightened the mood with jokes about the age and thriftiness of the suits. The group once had a touring bus, so they had to save money in other areas with the suits being one such area. Owens acted like a personal mechanic for them.

“When they had the bus, I worked on it like it was mine,” Owens said.

The current quartet will finish out the calendar year before three of them take a break to be with family and tend to other things. Group member Eddie Smith plans to continue performing, but said the group will live on because they’re all true friends. Owens said that is what makes them such a special group: their friendship with each other and the visible chemistry. The group certainly gave a performance to remember for their legion of local fans.