“Springs of Living Water” is one of the Rev. Ed Terui’s favorite gospel songs.
“I was in a barren land of sin and shame but God came in and filled me with his water of life.”
Those words speak to him because that’s what he said God did for him.
“It’s a lively song and really expresses my heart,” he said.
“I was a young person at the time I became a Christian, but when I reflect on my life, my life was filled with shame for things I had done or said that hurt people. Through his living water, he washed away that sin and I have a sense of tremendous relief,” the 70-year-old retired pastor said.
It’s also a song he along with three other singers and a pianist will be performing in a series of concerts on Kauai, the first weekend in August.
The Crusaders Quartet, formed in Fort Wayne, Ind., in 1957, when the Rev. Don Rohrs, then president of the National Missionary Youth fellowship in Fort Wayne, called five students together to form a quartet that would represent the youth department at the Missionary Church Association.
Terui, was one of those students. Paul Brennan from Ohio, Paul Robbins of Tennessee and T.A. Strader from Michigan formed the quartet, along with Ken Mays of Indiana who served as the quartet’s pianist.
During their college years, the group performed across the continental United States and in the summer of 1958 the Crusaders performed in churches on Oahu and Kauai during a three-week tour.
They all graduated in 1960, but throughout the years they came together again to perform at class reunions and in 2013, they came back to Hawaii where they performed in both churches and at senior centers.
From a young age, Terui said he was drawn to the music they sang at his church and as a youth at Koloa Missionary Church, he performed in a choir, which is where he learned to sing in parts, but he said he wasn’t the best.
“The leader of our quartet had perfect pitch he would say raise it up a bit from bass I had to learn second tenor but that was a real stretch,” he said and at 79, their voices aren’t the best, so Terui tries to practice for a half an hour each day.
Music is an impression of our hearts and soul, the words of the songs are an expression of thanks to God, he said.
“In a sense through music we’re worshiping God, expressing our appreciation and thanks to God, sharing what’s in our hearts to other people in the audience,” he said.
Though members of the group live apart from one another, Terui said the bonds they formed while performing in college have lasted a lifetime. In some ways, their bond is thicker than blood, he said.
“The kinship and brotherhood we share is solid. Whenever we come together, it’s like we’re in college again. There’s a closeness, we have supported each other through thick and thin throughout the years,” he said.
Now that he’s older, Terui said another song that touches him is called, “It’s not an easy road.” It wasn’t as significant to him when they sang it in college, but now that he is older and life isn’t as easy, the song’s message brings comfort.
“Life is not easy to live through, but God has been with us all the way through and helped us,” he said.
The song became the group’s signature song, said quartet member Paul Brennan, who now lives on Oahu.
“The lyrics of the song are something that I would think would fit in most any culture, most religion, we all aspire to go to heaven whatever or wherever that may be we all aspire to find a paradise, we all hope that we have some divine assistance,” he said.
“As we’re walking this trail and we can sing, my savior walks beside me and brightens the journey and lightens every load.”
Being in the quartet helped him throughout his life because they experienced circumstances that demanded flexibility.
“We learned what our strengths were and where we might have weaknesses and how we can overcome them,” Brennan said.
During college, the quartet performed every weekend and for the most part, Brennan said the students were by themselves, including when they came to Hawaii.
“We were just five teenagers who got aboard a plane who came out here when we arrived here we were assisted, we were given an itinerary a schedule, we were told where we were going but we had to fly by the seat of our pants that was a wonderful experience for me it was that added dimension that when I graduated from college I realized OK, I can do some things, I can take what I have learned from all of this I can apply it, I wasn’t afraid to go onto higher levels of education,” he said.
Brennan earned his Ph.D. in descriptive linguistics and would eventually become a missionary to Papua New Guinea.
The concerts will be Aug. 4 at Kapaa Seventh-day Adventist Church at 11 a.m., two concerts on Aug. 5, the first will be at Kapaa Missionary Church at 9 a.m., while the second one will be at Kalaheo Missionary Church at 4 p.m. and then at Regency at Puakea on Aug. 6 at 10 a.m.
Bethany Freudenthal, courts, crime and county reporter, can be reached at 652-7891 or firstname.lastname@example.org.