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In 1981, Jan Coe was planning a mother-daughter banquet for the University Drive Church Of Christ.   She asked Dwight and Sonny if they would put together a quartet to entertain. Because Mike Corder was one of the song leaders, they asked him to join them. A lead singer was needed, and Mike remembered his childhood friend, Mark Dillard, from the Sylvan Lake congregation. The guys got together and practiced a few times and then sang for the ladies.
A few weeks later we were asked to sing at a kickoff banquet for an evangelistic campaign the University Drive Church of Christ was hosting in Pontiac. That summer we were asked to sing at a fund-raiser for Michigan Christian College in Dixie Williamson’s back yard. In September, Emmet Clark asked us to come and sing at the Waterford Church Of Christ’s Homecoming Day for a Sunday afternoon concert.  By fall we had concluded that the Lord was blessing our efforts and we felt the calling to serve in this way. And thus the Messengers Quartet was born with Sonny Girdley singing bass and acting as our emcee, Dwight Coe singing baritone, Mike Corder singing tenor, and Mark Dillard as the lead.
In November of 1981, Calvin Sumner from University Drive loaned us $1200 to buy our first PA system with the agreement that we would each pay him back at the rate of $20 per month.
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By the spring of 1982 we decided to produce a tape of our music. We recorded it in Mike’s living room using his Teac 2340 four-track reel-to-reel recorder. We mixed it to a stereo cassette and Jan and Diane took it to Southfield, Michigan to Ron Rose Productions to have it duplicated. We refer to it as the “home-brew” tape and while it wasn’t the best quality, it served us well. We made enough money from the sale of the tape to help pay off the PA system and accumulate some toward the recording of the next project.
One of the first trips we made was to sing at Shults-Lewis Childrens Home in Valparaiso Indiana. In the early days of the quartet, each family had to pay their own gas, meals, and lodging. It was tough sometimes. Eventually, record and tape sales would grow to cover the cost of our trips including gas and meals. We always tried to maintain the policy that any family member who wanted to go was able to come with us on a trip.
In 1983 we recorded our first “professional” project at Crusade Studios in Flora Illinois.  It cost about $2200 up front to make a record at Crusade.  To come up with part of the money we asked twenty different families (including our parents!) to donate $50 in advance. In return we would give them this album along with any others we might eventually record.  This “record club” raised $1000 dollars.  A list of those that helped us get started is posted in the Photo Gallery. We had some money from the proceeds of the “Home Brew” tape, and we loaned the quartet the balance needed.

In 1985, Jan Coe started mixing our concert sound. In 1986, JD Cash from the VanDyke Church of Christ asked us to sing the theme song for a new TV program they were producing called “Search The Scriptures”. This led to our recording “music videos” of many of our songs to be used as break midway through each program. Mike and Diane became involved in the production of the program and the Messengers were closely associated with it in the Detroit area. In 1987, because of the advances in home recording studio technology, we were able to begin recording our own albums rather than going to Crusade Studios. In 1990 we recorded what we believe to be the brotherhood’s first “live in concert” album.
In the spring of 1991, ten years after we began, Sonny decided that he would like to “retire” from the quartet. David Brackney joined the group in July 1991 singing baritone and Dwight Coe moved to bass
Although it was hard losing Sonny, the quartet continued to enjoy good success. David took over teasing Mike, Mark and Dwight about their baldness, and Dwight became the “old guy” of the group. We continued to maintain our schedule of traveling about two weekends each month. We limited our traveling to the midwest, singing mostly in Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, and Michigan. We usually traveled in cars, vans and mini-vans, choosing to never own a bus. We had been advised that the expense of owning and operating a bus forced you to sing more dates just to support the bus. Although it was less convenient traveling in vans, we were able to manage our schedule to what was comfortable for our families and congregational obligations.

 About the time we recorded “Home Free” in June 1994, we began to feel it was time to end our ministry. Dwight was an Elder at Rochester, Mike now owned and managed the TV sales & service company he had always worked for, and Mark was feeling the need to slow down, and David decided to form a new group called Headin’ Home that sang for a few years before disbanding.
In addition to the out-of-town trips and local performances, we practiced every Thursday night from 7pm until 10pm. Now that we have been away from it for a while, we don’t know how we ever found time to be in the quartet.
Note: There is additional history and trivia contained within the pages of the Discography.