1st Annual Southern Gospel NY Picnic To Be Held On August 4

The Torchmen will with some wonderful music as they sing of their Love for the Lord.
The Torchmen will with some wonderful music as they sing of their Love for the Lord.

By Joyce Spamer

 That’s right… We are having our 1st (and hopefully not our last) Annual Picnic.

Are you looking to have a great time of fellowship with other friends and family members? Well this is for sure going to be a great time.

There will be some Blue Grass music by Starky and Friends followed by Canada’s most loved group – The Torchmen and Rochester own Final Harvest.

The picnic will be held August 4, 2018 and will start at 4:00 PM.  We will be at The Clarkson Recreation Center located at 8000 Ridge Road Clarkson, New York 14420.

We will be starting out with some Blue Grass music at 4:00 PM and food will be served at 5:00 PM. After we eat and relax in the sun (or indoors) The Torchmen will bless us with some wonderful music as they sing of their Love for the Lord.

We have been blessed to have them here in Rochester a number of times and they have become loved by many people here in the area.  If you have never had the chance to meet The Torchmen, here is a little about them:

In 1969 four men including Walt Andres met at Fairview Mennonite Brethren Church in St. Catharines, Ontario and embarked on a journey only a creative and sovereign God could imagine. Just a few months after the journey began, a young Mike Moran joined the group after being part of the Hisey Brothers quartet. Many faces have been part of the Torchmen over the years, with Sandy, Jeff and Jon being part of the lineup at different times. Each of these men have many years of experience behind them, and are looking forward to new experiences God has planned for them.

Mike Moran – Lead: Mike was born in Cambridge Ontario, or as he remembers, Hespeler, Ontario and joined the Torchmen back when it began. He and his wife Roberta now live in St. Catharines where they raised three children who are now grown with families of their own.

Mike, who was an accomplished water skier in his youth, started out singing “rock and roll” as a teenager, but when he found the Lord he traded his “doo-waps” for praises, singing with many groups before joining the Torchmen. For many years he hosted “Gospel North” a radio program in the Niagara region playing both current and “Golden Oldies” of southern gospel music. The CGMA showed their appreciation to Mike when he was awarded a “Lifetime Achievement” award. Now that the children have left the nest, Mike and Roberta enjoy travelling. He used to enjoy finding new jokes, but gave that up a few years ago.

Sandy MacGregor – Tenor: Born and raised in Kitchener, Ontario, Sandy has been married to his lovely wife Heidi for 35 years, they have two children. Their oldest, Tim, and his wife Allison pastor a church, and their youngest Christine and her husband Jason pastor a church in Mississippi. Sandy and Heidi have four grandchildren, Robbie, Ethan, Pearl, and Cade. At the age of 17, after a few years of turmoil as a youth and experiencing a broken family, Sandy rededicated his life to Christ influenced by his Godly mother. He began singing southern gospel music at age 17 first joining “The Watchmen Quartet.” At age 22 his music ministry continued with “The Chapelaires” a country gospel mixed quartet, where he sang lead for 4 years. Sandy also sang baritone for both “The Chrystalaires” and “The Royal City Quartet.” He sang lead for “The Singing Canadians” for two years. Sandy also sang with both his son and daughter in a Christian outreach band called “Damascus” which he formed, sang lead and wrote many of the songs. Sandy is probably best known for singing with “The Torchmen Quartet” where he sang lead in the 1980’s for 3 years and then tenor in the 1990’s for 4 years and now has been singing tenor since 2006. Sandy’s tenor voice has been compared to “Rosie Rozell” of “The Statesmen Quartet.” In their spare time, Sandy and Heidi spend time on their boat or travelling to visit their grandchildren.

Jeff Tritton – Baritone: Jeff grew up in a family who loved music and who strived to do what God intended. His parents were a part of a family singing group called “The Brothers and Sisters.” All through his formative years he travelled with family ministering across Ontario. At one point he even had a ventrioloquist dummy he named “Elfred” who assisted him in ministry to kids, and who now “fends off tresspassers” Jeff’s first experience with the Torchmen was back about 1992 when Mike called him on a Wednesday night, to see if he could sing on Friday night with 2 other guys he had never met before. Since then Jeff has been cautious when Mike calls, but it has lead to several great recordings such as “Payday is Coming”, “Timeless”, and “Here There or In The Air.” Jeff is married to Carol, who, according to Jeff “is a rock, a solid person who shows me grace and strength” in spite of how crazy he gets. Jeff and Carol share 5 children, and are nana and papa to two grandchildren.

Jon Hisey – Bass: Jon has known, and been known by the Torchmen since they began back in the late sixties. Growing up in St. Catharines literally around the corner from Mike Moran, it was not uncommon to have Mike at the house, whether he was singing with his dad, and uncles, or just getting notes on how to keep a car clean. Jon officially started singing with the Torchmen in 1983 just after his uncle John had left the group. Since then he has been a vital part of many recordings, and concert promotions. Jon has been married to Joyce since 1989, and they have 2 daughters who are either finished or almost finished their studies at Queens. Jon owns Yake Engineered Multimedia Systems designing, installing and servicing sound and video systems for churches all across Ontario.

Then we are very excited about having Rochester’s own Final Harvest. 3 Beautiful Ladies proclaiming God’s last call for his final harvest. The Group consist of Pam Warren, Pam Sandberg, and Lacy Burdick.

Pam Warren: Pam was raised in Rochester, NY, and comes from a musical Christian family. Pam is founder and administrator of Final Harvest. She plays the guitar, composes songs and music, and intricate harmonies. She is also writing a book: “God’s Last Call For His Final Harvest” The message will pierce the heart of the Church body to its very core. Pam also has a gift for sharing the spoken Word.

Pam Sandberg: Pam was raised in musical Christian home in Michigan where she sang a with the Wesleyan Singers on a local television station for 15 years. She also sang with a group called Channel III. In 1993, Pam moved to Rochester, NY where she and Pamela Warren began to sing together, became prayer partners and of course, best friends. Pam usually sings alto and her outgoing, fun-loving personality shines brightly at every concert.

Lacy Burdick:Lacy, Pamela Sandberg’s daughter, was born in Michigan, but grew up in Rochester, NY. She joined the group close to its inception. She brings to the group what she calls the “musher” or fill-in part. Her part can sometimes be the most intricate because she has to sing what no one else is singing. A seriously committed Christian like the others, she adds a youthful flair to the group.

Their love for God and all with whom they come in contact cannot be denied. The message of God’s last call for His final harvest, rather than the music, is of utmost importance and the reason why they sing.

The cost for this great time, which will include music by all these groups and a great meal catered by Paradise Catering is only $30 per person. Children 6-12 are $15 and any child 5 and under is Free. Tickets may be purchased by sending a check or money order along with a return stamped self-addressed envelope to: SGNY 3250 Big Ridge Road Spencerport, NY 14559 or by calling 585-329-3840.

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