SPRING HILL — Endeavoring to offer a "sacrifice of praise" is the reason the Triumphant Quartet sings, according to a press release for the group.
The phrase, taken from a verse in the book of Hebrews, sums up their mission: "to spread the Word of God through song and share the good news of Christ with other believers."
Bass singer Eric Bennett says that is indeed what the group is all about.
"We're about sharing God's word through music and through song and do it in an up tempo, encouraging, entertaining type of way," Bennett said. "That's what we love to do."
Sunday, the group will perform at the 10:50 a.m. service of the Spring Hill Baptist Church.
Triumphant Quartet, formed in 2003, began by performing at the Louise Mandrell Theater in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. In addition to a full-time schedule at the theater, the group also performed throughout the country.
This year, the quartet, ages 26 to 49, will travel full time with its music ministry.
The group has a combined 80-plus years of singing experience. Lead singer Clayton Inman performed as a teenager with his family's singing group, the Inmans. In 1983, he was a member of the Singing Americans and performed at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge until the mid 1990s.
He helped form Won by One, a group that recorded the No. 1 hit King Jesus in 1999 and received gospel music's Horizon Award for Best Group.
Scott Inman, Clayton's son and baritone for the group, is the third generation of gospel music singers in his family. He began singing with Poet Voices in 2001 and won gospel's Horizon Favorite Newcomer award. In 2007, he was voted the Young Artist of the Year by the Singing News Fan Awards.
Tenor David Sutton began playing drums with the Watchman Quartet when he was only 10. At 15, he was invited to sing with the Kingsmen Quartet during one of its performances. He decided that was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
After high school, he joined the Anchorman Quartet and the Singing Americans and spent eight years performing at Dollywood.
Bennett grew up on a farm in Battle Ground, Ala. He sang in area churches and went to hear groups such as the Kingsmen and the Cathedrals.
He decided that was what he wanted to do with his life.
Bennett had a series of careers, including pastoring at a Baptist church, but felt God calling him to resign. Two weeks later, he received a singing offer and sang for 12 years at the Pigeon Forge theme park before joining the quartet.
Jeff Stice, pianist for the quartet, began playing the piano when he was 8, and at age 15 provided accompaniment for his father's gospel quartet.
He began playing for the Nelons in 1990 and went on to help found and manage Perfect Heart. He played piano for the group for the next 10 years and then became a pianist for a gospel show at Dollywood.
Stice has won Singing News magazine's Horizon Award for Favorite Newcomer and Favorite Pianist. In 2007, he won the Southern Music Guild award for Stage Musician of the Year.
Bennett said he is pleased that Stice recently won the 2008 Singing News Musician of the Year fan award.
"He does a fantastic job," Bennett said. "He's a phenomenal musician. He can play the piano and several other instruments and play any style. He's had classical training, so he's pretty talented."
The group will perform both old standards and newer, contemporary songs at the concert.
"I think a lot of times contemporary music is more about praising God and worshiping, and you're singing to him," Bennett said. "In Southern gospel music, most of the lyrics are telling about him. So you're uplifting everybody and telling them what he's done for them."
Even though Triumphant Quartet does some bluegrass and contemporary songs, it is the group's Southern gospel harmony that attracts people, Bennett said.
"With us, it's all about the harmony," he said. "You've got four-part harmony most of the time — sometimes a fifth part thrown in there. I think we have a good blend. That's what people enjoy about a quartet. Of course, they like to see how low the bass can go and how high the tenor can go."
Bennett said he hopes the concert in Spring Hill will be uplifting.
"We want to see people laugh. Right now, with everything going on — the economy and the news in the Middle East — we hope that people would just be entertained and encouraged," he said. " We feel like God wants us to enjoy life, and we try to take their mind off of everything around them for about an hour. We want to let them know that God's fun and that he cares about them."
Gail Hollenbeck may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.