PASCAGOULA, Miss. (BP)–They came. They sang. They got a standing ovation.
That pretty much sums up the one-of-a-kind performance of the “Singing Senators” at the regular morning worship service Aug. 3 of First Baptist Church, Pascagoula, Miss.
“We’re just happy when we can begin and end on the same note,” said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, a member of the Pascagoula church and leader of the quartet of U.S. senators who were in town to perform the next day at a local Republican Party event.
In addition to Lott, who sings bass, members of the quartet are Larry Craig of Idaho, a United Methodist; John Ashcroft of Missouri, son of an Assemblies of God pastor; and James Jeffords of Vermont, a Congregationalist.
The quartet performed a set of gospel songs during the service, including a moving rendition of “God Bless America.” They received a standing ovation from the overflow crowd in the church’s 1,400-seat sanctuary.
Lott explained the quartet was formed after an impromptu musical session on the floor of the U.S. Senate revealed their vocal aptitudes.
That session led to a performance at the 1996 Republican Convention in San Diego, which in turn led to invitations to perform on a couple of television network early morning news shows.
The group has received scores of invitations from around the country, but Lott said the hectic U.S. Senate schedule has limited the Singing Senators to just a few performances in their respective home states.
However, Lott added an invitation to perform at the Grand Ole Opry is tempting.
Although the four men continually made jokes about their singing ability, they appeared well-rehearsed and on-key as they performed with taped accompaniment.
After the sermon by First Baptist pastor Rex Yancey, immediate past president of the Mississippi Baptist Convention, the Singing Senators closed out the service with a second harmonized performance of “God Bless America” — this time a cappella — and again received an extended round of applause as they exited the church’s sanctuary.