(BEDFORD) - Nearly 40 years after The southern gospel singing quartet The Sonshiners are calling it quits after nearly 40 years of performing.
Their last local performance will be on New Year's Eve from 7 to 10 p.m. at Dive Christian Church. Lead singer Mike Atchison said the group wants to spend more time with their families.
Atchison is recovering from heart bypass surgery. He said the pros associated with giving up life on the road outweigh the cons and it's just time to stop.
The demanding schedule was also cutting into family time for fellow members which inlcudes manager and tenor singer Tim Chastain, of Campbellsburg; bass singer Terry Tichenor, from Shoals and baritone singer Josh Sharber, from Elwood.
As a quartet, the Sonshiners began 38 years ago with founding members James Allen, his brother David Allen, the late Larry Eastridge, Novy Newkirk, Curt Byrd and Wes Smith. The Sonshiners website makes reference to what the group was "empowered and commissioned to do" and that was to "lift up high the name of Jesus." The website further reads, "Thus, the name Sonshiners Quartet was given."
The group's website reports on the ways the remaining quartet members are looking to spend their time. Sharber plans to take some time off and then look at doing some solo dates. Tichenor also will take some family time but hopes to sing again at some point. Chastain, after some rest, plans to pursue worship-leading opportunities.
The website stresses, "There are no issues, disagreements or animosity between the current members to come to this conclusive end. We will continue to be a part of one another's lives. ... God has blessed this ministry for many years. Each member has prayerfully and earnestly considered all options given, but it was agreed by the members the timing is right to begin the next phases in our lives."
The group's final performance will take place Jan. 7 at Lincoln Trail College in Robinson, Ill.
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