Forty years ago today, a fifteen year old boy stepped out on a stage for the first time as a professional singer.  From that moment forward the course of his life was set.  He couldn’t drive yet, but that didn’t deter him.  He lived in North Little Rock, Arkansas and that job was in Memphis, Tennessee – that posed a problem, but nothing that a Continental Trailways bus couldn’t overcome.  He was still in High School, but with the blessing of his father he was determined to work hard at both responsibilities.  He was a lead singer.  It was 1974 and this teenager was making $25 a day.  His name was Mark Trammell…

trailwaysbusToday is August 17, 2014 and Mark is still singing in a professional Gospel quartet, only now, he is the one responsible for teaching the young men gathered around him the craft he began to perfect forty years ago.  No one in the genre can boast of such a resume’ as Mark Trammell…  He’s been recorded on 81 projects that span the most popular quartets and trios in the industry.  (It’s worthy to note that those recordings include the sounds of the prestigious London Philharmonic Orchestra, Johnny Cash and Pat Boone.)  He’s sung on the South Lawn of the White House, the Grand Ole’ Opry and the National Quartet Convention.  He has received numerous Dove Awards for producing and has appeared on the cover of the Singing News Magazine more than any other Gospel singer.  He’s been on 48 cruises, including destinations such as Alaska, Mexico, the Bahama’s and Dr. Charles Stanley’s Journeys of Paul to the Mediterranean.  He’s traveled more miles than we can count and has witnessed over 500 people accept the Lord as their personal Savior in the last 12 years since he has launched his own ministry.  The list goes on and on…

Yet, when Mark was presented with a special Lifetime Achievement Award at the MTQ _DSC7539Homecoming this year by his son, Nick Trammell, he explained to the audience what means the most to him among the wall of awards in his office.  “I cherish those things,” he said, “I cherish the fact that God has allowed me to do something so effective in the lives of people that my family saw it and was willing to subscribe to what I was doing with my life.  A lot of great accomplishments, I’ve been privileged to record 81 albums in 40 years, that’s a lot of music.  But what you would see in all of that (speaking of the awards) was a picture of me standing next to a preacher in a golf outfit…that picture was made July 13, 1988.  I had just gotten up from off my knees when that picture was taken; giving my heart to Jesus.  Of all the things that have passed before my face in the last 40 years, the thing that means the most to me is what had been in here all that time (and he pointed to his head) had moved to here (then moved his hand to his heart).”

In June I witnessed one of the results of what happened in July of 88’.  I was at the Memphis Quartet Show and one night MTQ was there.  I had a question I wanted to ask Mark but every time a couple would walk away, another would greet him and begin talking before I could reach him…so I stood off to the side and watched.  From the time he walked in the building, to when he had to go sing their set, and from the time he came off stage until intermission, I watched person after person go up to him and talk.  The minute one would walk away, another came.  The man had no break all evening!  By the time all the people had come and gone it was the end of intermission, suddenly, an opening appeared…by then I had a new question.  “How do you do that?” I asked, “Talk to person after person and treat them like you’re happy to see them and want to listen to everything they have to say?  How do you do that?”  He put his arm around my shoulders and whispered in my ear, “By simply, being happy.”  After a pause he added, “And hoping it overflows into someone else’s life and lifts their spirit.”  A simplistic, genuine answer.  It was so simple; I felt a little stupid for asking such a question, but therein lay the key to this man’s longevity in his career.  Happiness.  A person will not stick to something for long if they’re not happy doing it and if it does not give satisfaction beyond the mere achievement of having a successful career.

On the other hand, I believe true happiness comes from knowing what God has called you to do and following after that work.  Obviously, Mark is called to sing.  I can remember the first time I heard one of the Mark Trammell Trio songs on the radio – I fell in love immediately!  It was one of those big ballads where Mark is featured on the verses and the music just builds and builds!  Though, what I didn’t know until just a few years ago…is that Mark is also called to preach.

It was my first time to go to the Mark Trammell Quartet Homecoming in Anniston, Alabama.  I was in the middle of packing for the trip when my sister asked me, “Do you want to go to their church on Sunday morning?”  As I was thinking about my reply (actually, I was thinking more of what I would wear to church than the actual church service itself!) she added, “It says Mark will be preaching too.”  “Sure, that sounds interesting,” I said.  Then my mind began to mull over that…I had heard singers give long introductions to songs that some fans consider “preaching” but never a full-length, three-point sermon.  Intrigued?  Most definitely!  So on Sunday morning we walked into the sanctuary and slipped in a pew, listened to the choir, then the quartet until Mark took up his Bible with the standard 8×10 computer paper tucked in, yet, peeking out and flopping around.  Notes, I thought, just like a real preacher.  Though, unlike most preachers, Mr. Trammell didn’t need them, or shall I say, hardly referenced them at all.  His topic?  Peace.  To be honest, now when we go places and I know Mark will be speaking, I almost look forward to that more than the singing!  He is a gifted speaker and when he opens the Word of God, it is because he has something to say…and it’s worth listening to.

quote_mark2I could go on, and after 40 years (even though I wasn’t here for half of it) there’s a lot to talk about!  But I’m going to leave you all with this: this man has had an immense impact on my life.  Not only have the lyrics he’s been faithful to sing helped shape my worldview, but the example he has set forth has as well.  He’s helped to change my outlook on some things (for the better!), has always been available to answer any questions and his example has taught me many things.


Congratulations Mark on 40 years!  We love you!

Now, that’s a little bit of how he’s impacted my life, now it’s your turn!  Take a moment to comment on this post and tell me how he’s impacted yours…

Author: lynnschronicles

2 Responses to "Nothing A Bus Can’t Overcome"

  1. J E Butler Posted on August 22, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Your words are well written. Over recent years when I’ve seen Mark Trammell, he has a constant look on his face that says, thank you Lord for putting me where you did. It is inspiring and uplifting. I have never heard Mark preach, but will certainly put in on my bucket list. I know this – and have known it for many decades, he can out-sing 99.9% of the people in SG. There is a recording with George Younce from a few years ago with Daniel Mount where he spoke so highly of Mark and his abilities.

    Thanks for your article and website. I hope Mark has an opportunity to read what you wrote.

    • lynnschronicles Posted on September 1, 2014 at 12:34 am

      You are very kind J E! I share you’re opinion of Mark as well, he is the “real deal” and very genuine about his calling. I’m glad he’s still singing! Thanks for stopping by!

      God Bless,

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