Common Bond Quartet
RICK MELTON: Growing up in Middletown, Ohio, Rick loved music from the time he was small. However, he never sang before an audience until he was twenty years old and was asked to sing for his sister’s wedding. As a result of that performance, he was approached to join a trio at his home church—forming his first Southern Gospel Quartet. Rick attended Anderson University where he joined a trio and began touring on weekends. After college, his job and family obligations moved him to Mt. Sterling, Kentucky and Rick stopped touring, but devoted his time learning to play guitar and writing songs. Then about 20 years ago, he began singing with a trio in his home church in Mt. Sterling. The trio eventually (with a few additions and subtractions) morphed into the One Bond Quartet and the men sang together for several years. In 2009, through a series of God-ordained events, Rick and Kevin, who’d been singing together in a quartet, and Mike and Bryan, who’d been singing together in a different quartet, came together to form the current Common Bond Quartet.
MIKE BRADSHAW (Baritone) was born and raised in central Illinois (Decatur). He was not raised in a Christian home, but from an early age, his grandparents and several aunts and uncles were instrumental in helping him develop his walk with Christ. One aunt and uncle (his dad's sister) in particular, took him to church regularly, as both were ordained pastors in the Foursquare Gospel church. It was there where Mike first began singing—in a middle school youth choir. Many of his family members were musically talented, so it seemed singing was always a part of family events.
In 1974, after graduating from high school, Mike moved to Kentucky, where one of those aunts (his dad's other sister) lived. Married in 1976 to Kim, the couple have two children: Bryan (26) and Kayla (24), and just recently (May 2012) welcomed two grandbabies, Emma and Caroline, to the family. I don't think there is a more proud "Popaw" to be found! Don't get him started, as he will start with the stories and pull out the picture album (on his phone, of course, so it is always with him). LOL
BRYAN STEVENSON was born in Mt. Sterling, KY and lived there until the 4th grade. At that time, his father went into full time pastoral ministry and his family moved to Hamilton, OH where he attended the Millville Avenue Church of God. A year and a half later, they family moved back to KY where Bryan’s father, Bush, was an Associate Pastor at the First Church of God in Winchester. They stayed there until Bryan was a sophomore in high school then moved to Ashland, KY (Grandview COG). Bryan attended DeVry Institute and graduated with a BS in Electronic Engineering. Soon thereafter, he moved back to Winchester, KY and started working at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, where he continues to work today.
“I’ve been singing all my life with music being a major part of my family. I started singing seriously as a senior in High school where I joined the chorus and was selected to all-state chorus. I've sung in several quartets—mostly just singing in my local church until becoming a part of The Common Bond Quartet.”
KEVIN WILLIS grew up in Dixon, Illinois, the oldest son in very musical family. His mom and dad were the choir director and pianist at their local church. Kevin “grew up on Southern Gospel Quartet music.” His mother tells the story of him being pushed (still in an infant seat) under the front pew of the church during Saturday night singing—as they were both a part of a quartet in the early 60’s. At age ten, his family began to travel and sing regionally. They continued this until he graduated high school in 1982.
“Music has always been a part of my life. I have been part of a choir since 5th grade, be it in school or church. I play piano and bass guitar. From sixth grade I have always felt a call to use the gift God has given to me to give back to Him in singing about His love and grace.”
Kevin attended Olivet Nazarene University in Kankakee, Illinois and graduated with a BA in Church Music / Christian Education. While at Olivet he traveled with a regional group, The Good Shepherd’s, from northwest Indiana. In 1989, he went into full-time church music ministry. Over the past 21 years, God has led him to churches in Michigan, Wisconsin and Kentucky, where he has been for the past 11 years. “It was here that I rekindled my passion for quartet style music. There is nothing more uplifting for me than to hear four men lift their voices in praise and testimony of God’s love for us. I sing with Common Bond because I get to share the story with everyone we sing for. I believe God has opened some great opportunities for this group and really put this group together. My vision for this group is to use every chance we get to tell, through music, of God’s saving grace and love. If we can be a blessing to those we sing to then God is glorified.”