Meet Your Neighbors: KHS grad recalls world tour with Christian singing group

During the 1970s, numerous television ads proclaimed, "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony" as the opening song line for the group Up with People.

April Williams was in elementary school at the time.

But music would become an important part of her life and she got the chance to make a contribution similar to that of Up with People soon after graduating from Kingman High School in 1989.

She toured between September and December of that year with The Continental Singers, a contemporary Christian music group that formed in 1967.

The group is based in Murrieta Hot Springs, Calif.

"They go through most every city in the United States, giving concerts," Williams said.

"They do quick auditions and if you sound good they send a video and you record a couple of song styles and send it back to them."

Williams did a mini-audition in May 1989 when The Continental Singers performed at the Kingman Alliance Church, where her father, Dennis Colvig, is pastor.

She later received a video and put two songs on it.

One was titled "In Heaven's Eyes." Her other song was a long Sandi Pattie rendition of "Amazing Grace."

Before the year ended, she would be part of the group.

"Four months before meeting in Murrieta Hot Springs I got the music we would perform on tour and went to a 10-day rehearsal camp," Williams said.

"A woman choreographed it as we put steps and our hands to the music and we put together a two-hour program in 10 days."

Williams had sung the national anthem at KHS sporting events during her senior year of 1988-89.

She said she also sang it in 1990 at a Phoenix Cardinals football game.

But going on tour with The Continental Singers was a dream come true for her.

The Continental Singers have 15 groups of 25-32 people each that tour in the spring and summer, Williams said.

They pare down to four groups during the fall and winter months.

All members must be between 16 and 29 years of age, she said.

The tour Williams went on was titled "Let the Whole World Sing." It began in the United States at schools, colleges, military bases and in front of church groups.

Bus rides were 8-9 hours between cities for a two-hour show at each stop seven nights a week.

During the latter part of the four-month tour, The Continental Singers went to the Orient.

Shows were done in Tokyo, Malaysia and Singapore.

"When overseas we went to run down areas of Malaysia and Singapore," she said.

"There always seemed to be word-of-mouth advertising about us and we'd get audiences of 5,000 to 6,000 walking for miles and cramming into old buildings to see and hear us."

The most memorable stop on tour for Williams was 20 miles deep in a jungle in Malaysia with a bus transporting the group along a bumpy dirt road.

"We saw houses on 9-foot high bamboo stilts and people lined the street watching us come in," she said.

"It was so humid water dripped down our faces as we sang.

But when we were done everyone had a gift for us."

"It might be Chrysanthemum tea, bracelets made of twigs, warm Pepsi, kids with buttons or placemats made of napkins.

But we all were moved."

Williams was born in Phoenix.

Her family moved to Kingman from Phoenix in 1979 when her father became pastor of Kingman Alliance Church.

Williams' singing now is limited to the worship team in church.

She enjoys bicycle riding, gym workouts and spending time with her family that includes husband, Karl Williams, and a brother, Dean Colvig, who teaches at the Kingman Academy of Learning.

"I also have four turtles," Williams said.

"Until God gives me children, they're my kids."

Neighbors is a feature that appears Monday in the Kingman Daily Miner.

If you have an interesting story you'd like to share, contact Terry Organ at 753-6397 ext.