Black History Month Honoring God, brotherhood through music

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 13, 2019

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


For more than 20 years, a group of men has sung and entertained through music.

Salem United Methodist Men’s Choir is an experience to enjoy when they perform.

“We sing mostly hymnals,” Ron Kindle said. “We are more of a quartet, but we do some contemporary as well.”

Whatever style they choose to sing, it is guaranteed to bring smiles, and make feet start tapping.

“It was almost a miracle on how we started,” Willie Perry said.

“A man was trying to get one together,” Michael Williams said. “He since passed, but his sister did get us started and was our first musician.”

The group has had many musicians as part of the group over the years. One such musician helped make their soundtracks so they could perform without a musician if needed.

“There was a guy who could play,” Willie Perry said. “He was coming up from Mt.  Calvary and said, ‘I can play that music.’ We gave him the songs we did and he made the soundtracks. From there, it started growing.”

With the soundtracks, now numbered over 50, the choir will use it during travel performances.

The group has been traveled as far as Mississippi to sing.

With a group which once numbered 12, there are six members still bring joy to others through their musical voices.

“Some moved,” Kindle said. “Others have since passed.”

But it is the memories and the brotherhood which keeps them singing.

“We have many fond memories,” Perry said. “We are just like brothers and have fun just like family.”

Perry recalls a concert in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

“They had musicians and we had a CD with soundtracks,” Perry said with a laugh. “They had guitars and everything.”

“We have met a lot of people over the years, recording stars,” Ron Kindle said.

When one member, Bennie Smith, was asked what song was his favorite to sing, the others quickly chimed in ‘Just My Salvation.’

“It depends on what is needed at the time,” Smith answered the question.

“He always calls out for ‘Just My Salvation’,” Kindle said.

“It is like the Temptations, “Just my Imagination”,” Perry explained.

Salem United Methodist Men’s Choir are also recording artists in their own rights. The singing sensation recorded a Christmas CD in 2009 with four songs on it. The music was produced and arranged by Donald Jenkins for BoBo’s Music Productions.

Salem United Methodist Church, located at 402 West John Ave. in Orange, recently welcomed new Pastor Develous Alfred Bright.

“I did some research before coming here and through the grapevine, the first thing I heard about was the men’s choir,” Bright said. “I was told they have a men’s choir which was famous, well known and travels. They were right. We enjoy having them here.”

“Pastor can sing too,” Kindle said. “We are waiting for him to join us.”

And traveling the group will do as they already have dates lined up for Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. at Morning Star Baptist Church and 6 p.m. on March 9 in Redbank, Texas.

To hear them closer to home, the choir performs at their home church, Salem United Methodist Church, on the third Sunday of each month.