Music leads to lifetime of experiences

By Homer Tankersley: Guest columnist

This is part of a week-long series in celebration of “Music in Our Schools Week” at Clovis Municipal Schools.

I was born into a musical family and sang in a quartet with my dad and brothers, Jack and Gorden.

My elementary music teacher was a tremendous influence in my music. I was always singing at school assemblies.

Years later, while teaching voice in California, my dad called and said the Imperial Quartet wanted me to audition as lead singer.

I did and the job lasted for some 16 years.

As recording artists, The Imperials traveled coast-to-coast performing with many gospel groups. We were on the “Texas Quality Network” weekly in Dallas and a Friday night television show with Pat Boone in Fort Worth, Texas.

Eventually we became known as The Commodores, singing popular music with a hit record “Riding On a Train.” We were guests several times on the CBS “Arthur Godfrey Show” in New York.

While in New York, I resigned from The Commodores and moved my family to Clovis, where I became program director for KCLV and later KICA radio stations. I started working with Norman Petty, recording under the name “Ken Pepper” (my radio name). Ken James and I sang with the Norman Petty trio and worked many recording sessions as backup singers.

In 1961, we opened Town and Country Men’s Shop, which is now Tankersley’s.

We became members of Central Baptist Church in 1958. My wife, Doris, played the piano there for 32 years and I was music minister for 30 years.

During these years, God led me into music evangelism, where I worked with many well-known evangelists. I have recorded many gospel albums, one with the London Symphony, and one with my family, sons Paul and Phil, and granddaughters Tracee and Doris.

Gov. Bruce King requested I sing for three of his inaugurations. I have also had the privilege of singing with Norvil Howell and the Community Band many times.

In October 1990 we joined First Baptist Church where Doris became pianist and two years later I became music minister.

God has given me a wide choice of great hymns, anthems and gospel music. Every time I stand to sing his praises, I feel so honored and blessed.

Homer Tankersley is a clothing store owner and the music director at First Baptist Church in Clovis.