Michael English and Mark Lowry to leave the Gaither Vocal Band

Last week, news circulated that Mark Lowry was leaving the Gaither Vocal Band. Lowry confirmed the news in a video posted yesterday morning. Lowry indicated that a press release would be forthcoming. What Lowry didn’t add was that Michael English has also decided to leave the Gaither Vocal Band.

In the official announcement, Bill Gaither commented:

I am grateful that we have had five bonus years with these incredibly talented artists. Thank you, thank you to Michael and Mark.  For those of you who have followed the Vocal Band for the past 25 years, you know that I have worked with some of the most talented male vocalists in our field, and I promise you we are not going to let that standard down in this transition. I am sad to see Michael and Mark leaving, yet I am so excited about the new possibilities we are considering.  So stay tuned for an exciting voyage in 2014!  We will update you when we have made final decisions.

While Lowry will fill all remaining 2013 dates, English’s departure is effective immediately. English’s departure comes as a surprise, and not just to the fans; in the Gaither tour’s concert schedule, posted last week, notes on each Gaither Vocal Band 2014 concert indicated that the 2014 dates would be filled by a four-man lineup of Wes Hampton, David Phelps, Michael English, and Bill Gaither.

While the replacement vocalist(s) have not yet been announced, there are evidently finalists in mind; the Gaither organization announced yesterday that there would be no open auditions.

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