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Gospel music great credits career to university prof

BOLIVAR, Mo. (BP)–He is one of gospel music’s most beloved artists. He has been Tenor of the Year four consecutive years at the Singing News Fan Awards. His television appearances include NBC’s “Today Show” and “Prime Time Country.” He has sung at Billy Graham crusades and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Now, after 10 years with one of gospel music’s most legendary groups, Ernie Haase has launched a solo career.

Haase moved into the hearts of fans as tenor for the Cathedrals. But his life might have taken a far different turn, if not for the encouragement of a Southwest Baptist University professor.

Haase, who was an SBU student in the mid-1980s, was studying music when the opportunity of a lifetime arose. “I knew that I wanted to be a gospel music artist,” Haase recalled. “I told my voice teacher, Ted Harris, this very thing when I auditioned for him.

“Later, I had a choice to make — stay in school or follow my dream. Dr. Harris is the only who told me to go for it. He said if it did not work, I could always come back.

“Well, that was 15 years ago, and I still have not been back.” Harris, retired associate professor of voice, said he doesn’t regret advising Haase to pursue his dream.

“It wasn’t difficult to see he had greatness in that voice,” Harris said.

“The first two or three notes I heard him sing, I thought, ‘Wow, this voice is going to do something someday.'”

Haase first sang professionally with a group called Redeemed, headed by Squire Parsons, before joining the Cathedrals in 1990.

“My 10 years with the Cathedrals were the best years of my life,” Haase said. “The Lord gave me a wonderful opportunity to serve with veterans who knew how to follow the Lord’s leading with class and dignity. “They also taught me how to handle decisions in a musical market without using Madison Avenue thinking. They always sought the Lord and His promptings. I will carry this with me the rest of my career.”

Ernie’s solo career includes appearances in churches and concert halls. “One thing I learned from George Younce [former Cathedrals bass] and Glen Payne [the late lead singer for the Cathedrals] was never to try to open a door that is shut in your face,” Haase said. “Follow the Lord’s leading by going through the door that is before you. That is what I did with the solo decision.

“As the Cathedrals slowed down these last five years, I started getting invites from all different churches and concert promoters. So, I just walked through the open doors.”

The open door to his solo career led to his first post-Cathedrals recording, Never Alone.

In addition to his solo career, Haase is joining a quartet comprising Jake Hess, George Younce and Wesley Pritchard to produce a new CD and schedule some concert dates.

Haase’s concert plans also include some duet appearances with his father-in-law, George Younce. He has been married to Younce’s daughter, Lisa, for nine years.

“Lisa and I have no children, although she feels like she is still trying to raise me to full maturity,” he said. “So I have no children, and Lisa has one child — me.”

Children are at the heart of a new ministry to which Haase is dedicating time. Along with Haase’s church, Stow Alliance Fellowship, and three other churches in the Stow area, Haase is hosting a basketball camp this summer for young people in grades 4-12. Former NBA all-star Mark Price is conducting the camp.

“His name is bringing in kids who know nothing about me and my music or about Christianity,” Haase said. “We will present a world class camp with the simple gospel. I thank my Lord that after traveling all over this country ministering in song, that I will get to minister in my own backyard.”

Haase knows children can understand the gospel. “I was 5 years old when I came to know the Lord,” he said. “It was simple and non-eventful. I prayed and asked Jesus to come into my heart, and He did.”

While life is looking good for Ernie Haase, he doesn’t forget his roots in Indiana or his time in Missouri at SBU.

“My SBU days opened my eyes to other people and their life experiences. I started writing songs when I attended SBU. I really believe the Lord sent me there to open up my way of thinking on how ministry and people connect.”

Connecting with people is another thing Haase does well. He has an e-mail list he calls the “E-Team.” Friends and fans can keep up with Ernie from his personal e-mails. He also has a website: www.erniehaase.com.

    About the Author

  • Stacey Hamby