Jack Wesley Veazey
Jack Veazey, now retired and living in Simi Valley, California, sang in the Voice of Prophecy King's Heralds quartet for twenty years. When the quartet was discontinued by the VOP in 1982, he continued to sing in the group, which became an independent entity renamed the Heralds, for fifteen more years, until his retirement in 1997.
Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Jack moved with his family at age twelve to Collegedale, Tennessee. He completed his last two years of grade school there, graduated from Collegedale Academy, and attended Southern Missionary College, now Southern Adventist University, for three years.
His mother started him and his older brother, Jon, singing even before they could barely talk. While they had been living in Birmingham, the King's Heralds quartet had sung in their church, an experience that mesmerized the young boy. His mother noted his attentiveness and asked him if he was enjoying it. "Are you kidding?" was his quick response. He was totally taken with the harmony.
While at the academy, he sang in several quartets. When John Thurber came to Collegedale to live with his brother, Wayne, a music teacher at SMC, John and Jack joined with two others to form the Adelphian quartet.
The group became very popular on campus and was used from 1950 to 1952 by the college to recruit students in the area it served. The quartet's members were given full-tuition scholarships for their assistance in promoting the school, which meant an average of twenty performances a month.
By this time, Veazey would spend his Friday nights and weekends listening to nothing but the KH's albums. Being a member of the group became his ultimate dream. While at SMC, he studied voice with Harold A. Miller, Adrian Lauritzen, and Dorothy Ackerman.
In 1951-52 he formed a friendship with students who had transferred to SMC from the West Coast. He became irritated over their continually talking about how great life in California was and decided he needed to visit and check it out for himself. He discovered his new-found friends were right, and fell in love with the Southern California climate.
While there, he visited the VOP broadcast headquarters, having become acquainted with the quartet when it had visited in the South. Jerry Dill invited him to hear a live broadcast and offered to pick him up the following Sunday. Veazey later described the experience:
We got there about thirty minutes before the broadcast which was at 6 a.m. Once we were there, I saw the quartet huddle together just before the broadcast, talking and glancing my way with smiles. Wayne Hooper came over to me and said, "We've been talking about you and wonder if you would like to sing with the King's Heralds live on radio this morning. We know you have the capability. I was dumbfounded and blurted out, "Are you kidding me?" He said "No." They all encouraged me to join them.
We ran over the song one time. I'll never forget the song as long as I live. It was Go and Inquire and had a solo part for me. When it came time to sing, my knees were shaking like crazy. That first performance was recorded, to be also used in a later broadcast, so I dialed around the rest of the day and heard myself singing with the group three times.
They gave me a studio disc recording that a friend back in Tennessee transferred to a 78 RPM record so I could play it for myself and my friends. We even played it over the dormitory sound system. I was on cloud nine as I played it over and over for my friends. As far as I know, I was the only non-member of the quartet to sing live on radio with them.
Veazey transferred to La Sierra College as another school year started, to continue his studies. From 1952 to 1954 he served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict. In 1957, he married Helen Kiehm, a registered nurse.
While golfing one day, he met Gordon MacRae, a noted singer of that era. When he asked MacRae whom he would recommend as a voice teacher, he told him Mario Chamblee, a former Metropolitan Opera tenor. Veazey followed up on the suggestion and took lessons from the noted teacher.
Now permanently in California, he often went to hear the quartet record. When Hooper and Dill retired in 1962, Veazey and Jim McClintock, both of whom had sung with John Thurber in quartets at SMC, were invited to join as baritone and bass with Thurber, who had joined the quartet a year earlier as a tenor. For Veazey it was a dream come true, the realization of a lifetime ambition.
For the next twenty years, he traveled thousands of miles with the quartet and H.M.S. Richards. He found working with Richards to be an absolutely inspiring and life-changing experience:
There was no greater joy in this world than to hear that man speak. As we traveled the many miles together on our tours, he would be studying the Bible or history. He had the uncanny ability to share what he knew in the most inspiring way. I learned a lot about the Bible and world history just listening to him share his thinking over those many miles about the relationship between those two areas of study. He had a profound effect on my spiritual experience.
He also enjoyed working with Wayne Hooper, who, Veazey feels, was as called to his unique ministry at the VOP as was Richards':
Wayne was such a talented man. In those days a quartet's ability to sing a cappella was an ultimate measure of its worth. He had this remarkable ability to create these gorgeous arrangements that we loved to sing. Working with him was an experience I'll never forget.
Following retirement Veazey continued to sing, working with Ken Cox in evangelism in Zambia for about a month. He also sang in a male chorus and participated in the several VOP reunion concerts held across the country.
Sources: Interview, 2005; Record Liner, Chapel Records S5169; 1940 U.S. Federal Census Records.