HISTORY OF THE BREWSTERAIRES*
In the year of 1951, in the small town of Johnston, South Carolina, A group of young men got together and decided to form a gospel quartet. The group of men were: Leonard Andrews, James Edwards, Van Paine, George Paine, and Thurmond Nicholson.
Now that the group was together the men now needed a name. It took a long time to find just the right name for the new quartet group. Then one day on her return trip from Tennessee; Mrs. Mary Nicholson, wife of Thurmond Nicholson came across a name that she happened to like. She told the young men about it and they all agreed that it was, in fact, the right name for them. So the Brewsteraries were born.
Through the years members of the group changed. New members such as, Freddie Bussey, J. B. Valentine, James Jones, and Wyman Johnston were all a part of the Brewsteraries. These were just a few of the people that came and went.
The Brewsteraries continued to change and grow for approximately three years. The Brewsteraries then decided to get more so involved into their works and really make a difference. By this time, the members were: Leonard Andrews, Cefus Price, James Edwards, James (Jake) Gomeleon, Oscar Moore and Ernest Edwards.
After a few years, Cefus Price the guitar player for the group moved to Washington, D. C. and the group recruited John Thomas Calliham as their new guitar player. He played with the group for about a year and in that time brought in his cousin Wallace Lee.
As always in doing the Lord's work, the group prospered. And in 1959, the Brewsteraries were doing so well, that WJBF Channel 6, in Augusta, invited them to come to the television station to join the program know as "The Parade of Quartets.”
The group decided that they then needed a Bass guitar player and recruited Charlie Jackson. A while later, Earnest Edwards, the group lead singer, left the group and moved to another location.
The group was then in need of another lead singer, so they recruited an eager young man by the name of Joe Walker. He sang with the group for a while, but both he and other members knew he was still too young to meet the responsibilities that were required of him. So he left the group for a while. Other lead singers such as, Hewyard Griffin, L. H. Washington, Herman Allen and Tom Dukes were all part of the Brewsteraires at one time during that period.
Meanwhile, Wallace Lee, the groups guitar player decided it was time that he too left the group and so George Jones was recruited to replace him. Everything was going well until tragedy struck. James Edwards, one of the original five members passed. The passing of Mr. Edwards was deeply felt and the group struggled for a while.
Once over the hard times, the group began to start recruiting again. At that time Joe Walker rejoined the group. After a few years, Joe got George Mathis and later Floyd Washington to join.
There was still a need for new members as the years went by, so the group recruited Curtis Price and George Marshall for their musical skills on both lead and bass guitar. Soon, James Burton joined the group to be followed later by his son Calvin Burton. The Brewsteraries had a number of people come and go, men like Johnny Mathis, Charles Cumming and Mason Cumming, Bud Dawkins.
Many people were impressed by the group work. They drew a lot of fans. One very important fan was Steve Mandison from Parade of Quartet, channel 6. Mr. Mandison was willing to give the Brewsteraries a chance on National Television. The group did well doing that time. Mr. Mandison left television and was preceded by the Howard Family, who was headed by Henry Howard. The group was often joined on Sunday Morning by Brother Nathan White. Brother White enjoyed the group so much that he often would take part in their performance. People like these did a great deal to support and help the group to further their career in the gospel music industry.
There were many people through the years that the Brewsteraires were pleased to have worked with. People such as the Mighty clouds of Joy, The Caravans and Mr. personality himself, the God Father of Soul, Mr. James Brown. They considered it a privilege to have worked with so many talent musicians.
Today, the Brewsteraries are still going strong. New members have joined the group and have each contributed a special talent to enhance the musical qualities of the Brewsteraries.
*Taken from the November 7, 1998, souvenir booklet of the 48th Anniversary of the Brewsteraires