Red Bay Quartet to perform at FFA Convention
Melissa Dozier-Cason FCT Staff Writer
The Red Bay High School National FFA Organization's Quartet will travel to Indianapolis, Ind. to perform before an audience of thousands at the National FFA Organization's Convention later this month.
This particular group of students, made up of one sophomore and three juniors, has performed at the national conference for the past three years, Herbert Trulove, Red Bay's chapter sponsor, said.
The quartet members are Melody Murrell, junior; Josh Murrell, sophomore; Sarah Lesley, junior; and Steven Turbfill, junior.
In addition to performing at the convention, the group has accepted an invitation to perform before a national football audience as they sing the National Anthem when the Indianapolis Colts host the Washington Redskins Sunday, Oct. 22
The group is very excited about the invitation, and look forward singing at the game. Even their sponsor, who has been a Colts' fan since the team was in Baltimore, is excited about this invitation.
"I am a Colts' fan," Turbfill said. "Go Peyton!"
Accepting the invitation means that the group will have to drive to Indianapolis Saturday, Oct. 21 instead of the planned departure day. They have rented a van to drive the quartet to the game, but they will ride back on the chartered bus that they planned to share with Montevallo High School, Trulove said.
The new travel plans have unexpectedly added $2,000 to the cost of the trip, and the quartet is currently seeking donations from area businesses and the community. Yearly, the group has several fundraisers including magazine sales, fruit sales, and ham and turkey sales, Trulove said.
"We've had real good community support," Trulove said.
FFA Quartets mainly serves as a form of entertainment during FFA conventions. In addition to singing at State and National Conventions, the groups perform for the community. They recently performed at Red Bay's Founder's Fest, and, on average, perform for public audiences once a month.
"When I first started [singing], I got nervous but now I am used to it," Melody Murrell, junior, said.
Although the group will be singing a cappella for the Colt's Game, the group usually performs with accompaniment of pianist Joy Berry. The group usually practices twice a week to perfect their show, Trulove said.
"They have to be prepared to give a 30 minute show wherever they go," Trulove said.
However, Red Bay's Quartet brought new life to their chapter 18 years ago. After a couple of year's at Red Bay, Trulove saw other schools' quartets and decided that Red Bay need a quartet to help it grow, Trulove said.
"The Quartet was something that could pump some energy into our FFA," Trulove said.
The quartet has drawn more students into Red Bay's FFA Chapter. Membership has grown from 79 members during the 1970s to this year's 150 members, Trulove said.
Trulove has been employed at Red Bay High School for 20 years and the quartet has performed at the National Convention for 17 years. He teaches eighth through twelfth grades, including Agri-Science Exploration, horticulture and forestry.
Students are elegitible to join the FFA by taking one of Trulove's classes. However, once a student has taken one class, the student can remain active in the FFA, but has to meet FFA requirements to do so, Trulove said.
"Everyone needs these classes because everyone will hopefully be a homeowner one day," Trulove said.