I've had the chance to see them multiple times when singing at Silver Dollar City's Southern Gospel Picnic and most recently when they made their way to Hot Springs, Ark. They are a great group of guys that have a heart for their ministry and seeing people drawn to Christ. Get to know Spoken 4!
Question: When did you become interested in singing Southern Gospel music? What are some of your earliest memories of Southern Gospel?
Jon Charles Taggart - Spoken 4: When I was growing up in my hometown of West Point, Miss., my family attended First Baptist Church, and I always loved hearing the FBC men's quartet sing. I love their harmonies and seeing them work together. While I was attending college at Mississippi College in Clinton, I started following the Gaither Vocal Band because I loved hearing Guy Penrod singing with them. He had the perfect blend of style to me, because I grew up listening to country music as well, and he embodied the best style blend of Gospel, country and humbleness to me. So when I got asked to join a quartet with some friends of mine that I met at church while attending college, I jumped at the opportunity!
Some of my earliest memories of Southern Gospel include watching the Cathedrals, the Stamps and of course the Gaither Vocal Band.
Q: How did you get started as the Spoken 4?
Jon Charles: I met Cecil Stringer while working at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo. We both sang with their "in-house" Gospel group for four years when we got news that they no longer wanted to have a full time in-house group, We along with our friend who sang baritone at the City, asked a tenor singer from the Presley's show here in town if he wanted to join forces during the down season here in Branson and do some concerts. He said sure, and we had no idea how God would move and bless this group, but that's how we started out.
Q: How did you come up with the name the Spoken 4?
Jon Charles: After several bad name ideas from us all, I was traveling with my wife home to Mississippi when she had a thought. She asked me what I thought we all had in common, I started naming a wide variety of things from faith to sports, and she said well you are all "spoken for" by Christ so you could try SPOKEN 4. I thought at that moment, That's it! So I called Cecil and Jeremy (baritone singer) to see how they felt about the name possibility, and they liked it. And that's how God helped us figure out our name.
Q: Do you have a favorite song that you sing? And what song from another group has ministered to you?
Jon Charles: I have a bunch of songs that I love and connect with very strongly, but since you want me to pick just one, I think it would have to be "We Believe." The words are so ministering to my soul every time we sing it, that I get fired up and excited to proclaim it like its the first time that we have ever done it.
I love the song "The Promise" by the Martins and "Why Me Lord," the Guy Penrod/Gaither version.
Q: What artists have been your biggest influence musically and/or personally?
Jon Charles: Lots of answers here! I love a wide variety of music, but the artists in our field( besides the guys I sing with)that I have had the privilege to meet and work with,and whom I genuinely respect and have been influenced by:
- Jeff Stice
- Danny Brown studio engineer)
- Tim Riley
- Danny Funderburk
- Mike Bowling and Family
- JD Miller
- Jerry Trammel
- Brian Arnold
- Roger Fortner
- Bill Gaither
- Mike Pillow
- Jeff Steele
- Guy Penrod
- Larry Gatlin
Q: What has been your favorite memory so far in your ministry? Do you have a particular concert that stands out?
Jon Charles: Seeing God move by saving people's souls, and rededication's or people just being moved to serve Him more.....has been the best parts of our ministry! Just knowing that because we chose to make our talents and time available for God to use in a mighty way for His glory to reach His children is so humbling and rewarding! One that sticks out in my mind is when we sang in a town called Houlka, Miss., and a very respected coach from the community who had just been diagnosed with a very serious cancer came forward and gave his heart to Jesus after he heard our witness and music. He took the time afterwards to share that said he saw God in us, and knew that Jesus was speaking directly to him through us. All I can say is Wow, what a real and mighty God, full of grace, we serve!!!
Q: What new things are coming up for the Spoken 4?
Jon Charles: We have just completed a new and what we believe to be very anointed project with Jeff Stice who arranged, played and produced it all. He was a complete hard working professional who brings the best out of people! And he is such a genuine, God Loving, good man. Can't express how awesome it was to work with him, Danny Brown, and all the musicians that played their hearts out! And we are so excited to share these songs with everyone very soon!!! We expect this next year to be incredible for us all, and we can't wait to see how God is going to work! It's all about Jesus, and without Him there would be no hope for any of us, but when you believe in Him, serve Him, and seek His will, Nothing that the devil throws at you can bring you down!
For more on Spoken 4, visit their website - http://www.spoken4quartet.com