Jim Allen Ripley
Jim Ripley sang baritone in the television program Faith for Today quartet for three years, from 1963 to 1966. He was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, growing up in a home where singing was an important part of life. His mother was a member of the church choir who always took her son to choir practice, and Jim began singing alto in the church choir at an early age.
He attended Dallas Junior Academy through the ninth grade and then Southwestern Junior College, where he graduated from the academy in 1957. While attending SWJC, he sang in a quartet with Don Siebenlist, who would later sing with him in the FFT quartet. Both singers also sang in the choir and were inspired by Robert McManaman, choir director during part of their time at the college.
While attending SWJC, he met and dated Marguerite Holley, a talented singer. They often sang duets together and were members of the touring choir directed by Harold Lickey, who had succeeded McManaman. They enrolled at Emmanuel Missionary College, now Andrews University, in 1957, married two years later, and eventually had three daughters.
Marguerite continued to sing, and when their three daughters were older, sang quartet arrangements with them in different settings for several years. She and Jim would also continue to sing in duets and choirs together.
Siebenlist also enrolled at EMC in 1957. He and Ripley then joined with Larry Fillingham and another student to form a quartet. All three studied voice and sang in the choirs under the direction of Minnie Iverson Wood. Ripley graduated from EMC in 1963 with a degree in theology and started study at the seminary that autumn, sponsored by the Texas Conference.
Shortly after school started, the FFT quartet came out to sing for a week of prayer. Hohensee, the baritone, had made a decision to leave the quartet, and while they were there Ripley was invited to join the quartet, which included Fillingham, who had joined in 1961, and Siebenlist, who had joined in 1962. Ripley recently talked about first appearance as a member of the quartet:
We were at the beginning of a swing through California, and our first appointment was at the Glendale Sanitarium church. Sitting in the audience were all the members of the then current King’s Heralds quartet, Del Delker, Wayne Hooper, H.M.S. Richards, Sr., and H.M.S. Richards, Jr. I was nearly petrified. We sang and they were all very gracious. It all led to a very pleasant working relationship and friendship with the VOP quartet members. It also led to the recording of a record album that included both quartets singing together, entitled "We’ll All Praise God Together".
In 1966 both Ripley and Siebenlist indicated their interest in leaving the quartet to William Fagal, FFT program director. Since financial pressures because of dramatically increasing production costs for the telecast were also a problem, the decision was made to disband the quartet after we had left.
Ripley and his family moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he interned at the Beverly Road church. He later pastored at Jasper, Tennessee; Babylon, New York; Blue Mountain Academy, where he served as chaplain and pastor for four years; Cleburne, Texas, for four years; New England Memorial Church for eleven years in Stoneham, Massachusetts, and finally at the Camino, California, church.
The Ripleys have always enjoyed traveling. When they retired, they sold their home in California and moved into an RV to facilitate an enjoyable nomadic life style, traveling around the U.S.
Sources: Interview with Jim Ripley, 25 October 2007; Ripley’s response to a proposed article, “Music at Faith For Today” that was then printed in the International Adventist Musicians Association ‘s Summer/Autumn 2007 issue of Notes.