There was no church service Sunday night at Macedonia Baptist Church, but the Lord was worshiped and the gospel was presented anyway.

Covenant Quartet sang the gospel — Southern style.

“We love to sing. We enjoy each other, and we love to sing for friends and make new ones,” said lead singer Greg Gabel afterwards.

Gabel, of Newburg, along with Mike Freeman, Waynesville, the tenor, and Bill Anderson, Nixa, the bass, founded the quartet 16 years ago along with baritone Terry Keys.

Keys, who passed away a couple of years ago, had to retire from the group about five years ago due to illness, and Bob Moore, Lebanon, succeeded him.

The Southern gospel quartet has “seven or eight” recordings, Gabel said. On some of them, Keys plays piano and Neal Walters, of Rolla, plays drums. Those two musicians, along with Gabel on the bass, used to provide the accompaniment at their concerts.

On the later recordings, all the instruments are played by Gabel who records the instrumental tracks separately and then adds the vocals. Those instrumental tracks are used now in their concerts.

“We can make our own arrangements,” Gabel said.

Recordings are made at Gabel’s home recording studio.

The four founding singers knew one another from concerts they had sung or heard involving other groups.

“I’m part of the Davis clan, and was with the Singing Disciples for 12 years and before that, The Kinsmen,” Gabel said. “We all knew each other from singing in different churches.”

When the Covenant Quartet began to build, members contacted Gabel to see if he’d at least fill in for awhile.

“I’m still filling in,” he said, laughing.

Their singing schedule “varies from year to year,” Gabel said. “We try to do two a month, mostly in churches, but sometimes with other groups.”

On Friday, May 10, the Covenant Quartet, along with the Singing Disciples, Heartbeat and the Heritage Boys, will perform at Lifeline Baptist Church, Becky Lercher, a professional soloist who is married to Covenant’s sound man, Layne Lercher, is also on the program.

Covenant Quartet and Becky Lercher will also sing this Sunday at 6 p.m. at Rolla Church of the Nazarene.