Doc Horsley, Jon Lam, Rich Sanders & Paul Lowe are current members of the gospel quartet
FORTRESS – Illinois’ most distinctive gospel quartet.
1988 thru 1997 Doc has had many outstanding singers who have sung in FORTRESS beginning in August of 1988 he called three friends–first Jeff Dunford, then Jerry Piper & Joey Rhodes to form a new spiritual endeavor. Duane Jackson replaced Jeff as tenor and Jerry left to direct a church choir. Duane, Joey, and Doc worked as a team for several years even though the baritone changed from Tom Pigford to Terry Sprague. With Terry FORTRESS recorded with Sonlite Music of Nashville, and with Mark V Music of Nashville. Doc continued as bass and manager through those years until Duane’s job moved him in late 1997. Terry wanted to travel as a soloist, & Joey traveled as a solo ministry.
1998 thru 2000 FORTRESS reorganized with new members–Garry Roach & Paul Lowe. Even though the baritone slot changed, Doc, Paul and Garry were the heart of this edition of FORTRESS until 2001. Those members recorded four times with Garry Jones Music of Nashville producing and arranging. But when, Garry moved, and Paul joined the Shilohs, another edition of FORTRESS began.
2001 thru 2005 Doc was manager and bass, Roger Crews–tenor, David Null- lead & Adam Cannon-baritone. We celebrated an anniversary in 2003 with GOLD CITY in the newly rebuilt Marion Civic Center. While Deon Baker and John Nimmo filled in a few months at lead, Fortress’ released several CDs with Garry Jones Music. Fortress’single from one CD was My Savior’s Face written by Marilyn Horsley. Since 2005 Bill Schell produced all of our CDs. For a few months in 2006-three young guys Elijah, Josh and Jay filled in to continue the great quartet harmony but were unrecorded.
2008 to 2014 First Joey Rhodes, Greg Flanigan & Jerry Tomlinson joined Doc for two great years of traveling. Their 1st CD-entitled Gospel Blend and 2nd in 2010-entitled All we Need were produced/released by Bill Schell. For one year Jay Arview & Randy Patton travelled with Doc & released Return Engagement in 2011. In 2012 Jim Beatty and Carl Sanders joined us and recorded Revival a great CD then John Nimmo and Jon Lam filled in perfectly in 2013
2014 to forever Rich Sanders, songwriter, is top lead vocalist has one grown daugher Sabrina, Jon Lam is baritone and resident crazy with two grown children and grandchildren, Paul Lowe returns as top tenor with three children and grandchildren and manager/ owner/bass Doc Horsley has four grown children and three grandchildren .
What a super gospel tour for Fortress in these 27 years. As manager & owner of FORTRESS, I confess that I have been more blessed to have traveled and sung with men of such great musical talent than they. We have enjoyed great events/concerts including singing for the Illinois governor, for the Illinois State Fair, Illinois Soil/Water Agency Meetings, Illinois Farm Bureau, Trinity Broadcasting, dozens of county fairs and festivals, opening for nearly every national quartet in the USA including the Isaacs, Easters, Gold City, Cathedrals, Kingdom Heirs, JD & Stamps, Statesmen, Steeles, Down East, Florida Boys, Blackwoods, Kingsmen, & many others. TV 6 in Paducah KY has used FORTRESS on its telethon of stars several times. Every member has had real dedication to the work while they traveled with FORTRESS but some drove major miles to travel and practice – especially Duane, Tom, Joey, Greg, Paul, Jerry & Mylon. That adds another dimension to one’s dedication to sing for the Lord. Traveling thousands of miles late into the night and early in the mornings requires members who have a sense of humor and a cooperative spirit. The real “crazies” were Jeff, Duane, Jon & Terry who gave every ounce of their being to make the sound and stage program the very best in order that my MC work looked good. What a loss we all felt when Terry Sprague was killed in a motorcycle accident in 2007. But, thanks also for the long lasting friendships among members which will never be lost just because members had to move on to other venues. Thanks especially for God given & natural talent among the superior voices of past members. So after all these years of traveling from Dallas to Detroit to Des Moines and everywhere in between, FORTRESS continues its ministry of carrying gospel music to the lost and wounded in this world. Our travels and concerts would be of no value without the loving and wonderful support of our wives. To Marilyn Horsley, Lori Lam, Iris Sanders, Cindy Lowe,Penny Dunford, Lonnie Piper, Dawn Roach, Shara Sprague, Anita Jackson, Darlene Crews, & to all of the short term guys’ wives– we say thanks. Today’s singing members are highly skilled, fully dedicated men who want to proclaim His music for the wounded souls not yet in His fold. Our friends of years past will be truly blessed to hear the new members along with DOC on low bass as they carry the message to the world. . Fortress is now in its 27th year..WOW thanks all.
SO WHERE ARE THEY TODAY:: 1989-2015((# indicates recordings with Fortress))
TERRY SPRAGUE–baritone in 1990s & fill in many times–died tragically on April 22, 2007 in
…………a motorcycle accident. Singer Extraordinaire ((4))
ROGER CREWS–tenor extraordinaire with new Quartet Final Journey ((3))
ADAM CANNON-baritone 2001-2006-full time music minister in Florida. Two babies May 09 ((3))
DUANE JACKSON–tenor in 1990s–lives in Murfreesboro TN/manages industrial engineering ………….sings in church choir–two children– boy & girl ((6))
JERRY PIPER–original baritone–1989– songwriter/ teacher of music & art in Oklahoma City(1)
JEFF DUNFORD–original tenor–1989–mgr of QM Bearings supplier & enjoys grown sons.((1))
PAUL LOWE— tenor 1998-2000- a US postmaster with 3 young adults & families-((3))
GARY ROACH–lead 1998-2000-a construction company owner & new f GRAND DAD-YEH((3))
DAVID NULL–lead vocals in Final Journey and does a video/tape ministry;lives in Marion((3))
GREG FLANIGAN–thanks Greg for two great years Gods blessing and good health(2)
JERRY TOMLINSON–living in Sikeston singing in trio Thanks for the great work ((2) )
JAY ARVIEW–lives in West Frankfort growing boy Little JAY, Sings fulltime-Southern Salvation(1)
JIM BEATTY–lives in Mt Vernon and sings with the Victory Boys(1) JOEY RHODES-retired in 2105
……….SHORT TERM SINGERS……….
RANDY PATTON–baritone from Kentucky in 2011(1)
CARL SANDERS–lead in 2012 Thanks for great tour (1)
TOM PIGFORD–living in Sparta IL baritone 1993 (1)
MYLON HULSEY–three sons. He will be a great father(2)
CHRIS SPRAGUE–fill in at lead in fall of 2007
DEON BAKER–fill in at lead in 2005. Gods blessing brother
ELIJAH BARNFIELD–spring 2007 lead & wed in 08, father in 09
JOSH MADDOX–talented tenor in 2007