They’ve traveled throughout Kansas and surrounding states all the way to Carnegie Hall and recorded four CDs. But now, after 20 years sharing their ministry through music, gospel chorus Crossroads is preparing for a final vespers concert.
The decision to bring the group to an end was not an easy one, said Lee Fisher, who, along with his brother Lynn and mother, Kay, are the remaining original members of the group.
“There’s no right or wrong to it all,” Lee said. “It just feel like after 20 years, we’ve had our time, we’ve had our season.
“We want to go out on a good note and not disintegrate and fall apart,” he said.
Lee estimates approximately 40 to 50 people have sung in the chorus during the last two decades, with about 18 in the current lineup.
“We were probably lucky when we started if we had two people on a part,” Lee said. “Now if everyone shows up, we have at least four to a part and some parts we have five.”
That’s made it easier on group members who might have a conflict with a performance, he said.
People’s lives and priorities change, though, Lee said, and the group talked about the idea of disbanding for a few weeks before coming to a decision a few months ago.
“There’s always been these moving pieces,” Lynn Fisher said. “Someone moved away, but we were always able to find someone to fill that spot.”
Crossroads’ beginnings go back to a group that sang together at Christ Lutheran Church in Ellis, Lynn said.
“We just pieced together a couple people for each part, and we were going to various church group activities. From there, you start piecing other people into the group,” Lynn said.
“We thought it would be fund to have a group in places other than just church,” Lee said, and Crossroads was born.
At the time, Lynn was just starting medical school, so he was a part-time member of the group.
“You have to have things to give your life balance, and for me, music is one of those things,” he said.
Through the years, Crossroads has become more than just a chorus, though. It’s almost become a family, the brothers said.
“Everybody has different things they bring to the group besides vocal talent,” Lynn said.
“The musicians have added a lot,” he said. “I think that helps add other dimensions to our sound.”
Through the years, Kay has played piano and now keeps time on the tambourine or plays a drum kit. Sandy Shupe plays a bass ukulele.
Hannah Barrett started as a singer, but stepped into the role of the group’s piano accompanist.
“We knew she also had piano talents. She felt like that was her calling, her niche for the group was to step in and fill that need,” he said.
She and Melody Barton also have found much of the music the group performs, creating a Crossroads “sound,” he said.
Primary among that family feeling, though, is the fellowship the group has for each other, the brothers said. They have had Super Bowl parties together, and emails regularly fly among the members with everything from prayer requests to fundraisers for other organizations.
The brothers credit Elton Beougher with creating fellowship as well. He joined the group approximately 10 years ago.
“Elton is like our spiritual leader,” Lee said.
At every practice and before every performance, Bougher leads the group in prayer.
“He is a special guy,” Lee said. “He just has a gift for being able to spontaneously break into prayer.”
“They’re always so heartfelt,” Lynn agreed.
“I just say what comes to mind,” Beougher said, admitting he was not always one to open up about his faith.
Reading to children at church for story time helped change that, he said, as has Crossroads.
“They’re very supportive. They take me for what I am,” he said of his fellow chorus members.
The group’s members hope they will continue to find that fellowship even after the group disbands next month.
The Fisher brothers expect there will be a spinoff group or two from Crossroads that will continue the musical ministry. They and their mother sing in a trio for the UMC at times, and the brothers sing with other small groups, too.
“There are musical outlets I’ll still have. It’ll just look a little different a little bit,” Lee said.
“I think the Lord will open something up,” Beougher said.
He expects after the first of the year, some members will get together to discuss future musical ministries.
But above all, they hope the fellowship they’ve found with Crossroads won’t end.
“What will be the toughest thing is these people will always be my friends, but not getting to see them as often and knowing we always have a good time and are always laughing,” Lynn said.
“I think that will be the thing I miss most.”