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Last updated November 24.

March 8, 2010 issue

Virginia quartet led move into radio

Book remembers Crusader musical journey 60 years ago

By Rachel Bowman Harrisonburg Daily News-Record

It was the perfect vehicle for spreading the Word of God, and the quartet felt the Lord directing each step of the way, he said. Souder, who wrote an appendix for He Keeps Me Singing, said he feels “unusually blessed” to have been part of a vital ministry.

“We weren’t getting much studying done, because the mission took up so much time,” he said.

In 1951, the men graduated from EMC and, by late summer, the Crusader Men’s Quartet ended. They each left with their wives for new mission fields. Aaron and Betty King went to Cuba. Paul and Bertha Swarr and the Kreiders all served in Israel. Souder, with his wife, Alice, went on to serve with The Mennonite Hour and later became a pastor.

But they still recall the prayer-based bond they shared, and the four men remain close.

The lessons Kreider learned traveling with the Crusader Men’s Quartet have served him all his life, including the beauty and effectiveness of “mutual dependence” on others, he said.

“When people get together and share, new insights and answers will come,” Kreider said. “There is a richness that transcends denominations.”

He Keeps Me Singing is available with a CD of 11 songs reproduced from six 78 rpm records recorded by the Crusader Men’s Quartet in 1949 and 1951.

It can be ordered by sending $10 plus $3 for postage and handling to Eugene K. Souder, 13241 Port Republic Road, Grottoes, VA 24441.

Article republished with permission from the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record.

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