Voice of Praise – History
VOICE OF PRAISE is an acappella Mennonite male quartet based in Gladys, Virginia. Founded by David Gingerich, the quartet began singing together in 1987.
Dave had a vision for being involved in a group that loved the Lord and loved singing, and who would be willing to donate time and energy in a part-time music ministry. He began pursuing this vision in the mid 80’s by singing with a few young men on a regular basis. Over the next couple of years several of these young men grew to love men’s music and singing as much as Dave did, and in the fall of 1987 Kelvin Good (2nd tenor), Jon Zehr (baritone), Bruce Ramer (bass), and Dave (1st tenor) formed Voice of Praise.
For the first several years the group only gave a few local programs, mainly singing at revival meetings and church homecomings. But over time, the group felt called to share the Gospel through song on a wider scale, and they began going on occasional tours and making studio recordings. Because Voice Of Praise is a part-time ministry and every member holds a “normal” job, tours have been limited primarily to several weekend tours throughout the year in addition to the regular local programs.
In the spring of 1997, after almost ten years and five recordings, two of the members elected to resign. Bruce had moved to northern VA, and Dave had moved to northwestern PA. Four new members joined: Joshua B. Good (baritone), Glen Zehr (baritone), Ben Miller (bass), and Paul Good (bass); and Kelvin moved up to 1st tenor while Jon moved up to 2nd tenor. In August of 1998 Voice Of Praise became a five member group with the resignation of Paul Good.
The year of 2001 brought more changes. Kelvin was ordained to the ministry in the Spring, and he felt it would be best for all involved if a replacement could be found for him. Instead of adding only one replacement, however, two new voices were added: Lyndon Yoder and Josh N. Good (not to be confused with Joshua B. Good), who both took over the 1st tenor slot. In the meantime, Joshua B. had moved to southern Indiana, which moved him into the inactive status.
Lyndon elected to resign in September of 2004, feeling the need to spend more time at home with his growing family. This brought the group back to a quartet after over seven years of being a five or six voice group.
Ben’s resignation was the next change. He also was feeling the need to put more time and energy into other things, and asked the group to find a replacement. Fortunately, he was quite patient, and sang for nearly a year longer than he intended while the group searched for a new bass. Joe Miller eventually agreed to join, and Ben left the group the end of December, 2008.
The most recent personnel change came in August, 2012, when Josh and Joe joined the list of former VOP singers. Josh had been ordained to the ministry in the fall of 2011, and Joe had moved several hours away. They both felt like it was time for them to step away from Voice Of Praise. Stanley Sensenig joined as the group’s new 1st tenor, Nathan Yoder joined as the new baritone, and Glen moved down the scale and took over the bass part.
Despite the personnel changes over the years, the group’s desire to praise God and to be useful in building His kingdom remains strong.
Nathan performs administrative duties in the office at Long Island Lumber, a local sawmill that manufactures matting for heavy machinery. He tries to keep up with an assortment of small hobbies, and delights in learning new things.
Music has always been a big part of Stanley’s life. As a very young child, he can remember the joy of singing along with records and tapes. He enjoyed listening to many different groups, but always had a strong preference for male voice groups.
Jon is the only original Voice Of Praise member still singing in the group. In his early teen years he experimented with some extremely low-tech attempts at capturing himself on tape, singing all four parts, but not at the same time.
Glen was born and raised on a farm in the southern hills of VA, and is now rearing his own version of “the family” on this same farm. He has a lovely wife, Rachel, without which he would be “totally lost”. They are the proud (most of the time) parents of two girls and three boys.