It has often been said that there is nothing sweeter than family harmony. Southern Gospel Music has proven this theory time and again. The history of Southern Gospel reads like a who's who of great family groups, featuring dynamic singers and a straight forward delivery that reaches directly into the soul. Through the years, names like the Speer Family, the Happy Goodmans, the Hoppers, and more recently, the Crabb Family, have introduced Gospel Music fans to some of its most memorable songs.
This music's influence would make its way to the small farming community of Manchester, Illinois and into the hearts of a wonderful family of singers, the Rueters, or as they have become known to Gospel Music fans across the country, The Chosen Ones.
Mike Rueter began singing Gospel Music in the late 1960s with his family, the Singing R's. His love for this exciting form of ministry would serve as a driving force in his life. In 1974, he would join with Mark and Blythe Ann Cooper along with Mark's sister, Melanie, to form the original Chosen Ones. Blythe would leave the group in 1979 and would later be replaced by Randy and Tracy Cooper, continuing the family tradition.
Mike's strong lead vocals were a perfect combination with Melanie's rich alto voice and soon they would discover that they shared more than just a love for Gospel Music. In 1978 they would marry and soon find themselves sharing their music throughout the Midwest in a variety of venues. They are equally at home in a church service or a civic function but one thing has remained constant, their desire to share the uncompromised Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Melanie's Brother, Tracy, would leave the group to go to college in 1983 and Randy would bring his new bride Becky into the group continuing as a mixed quartet. Randy was also involved in a very successful puppet ministry called Ralphie and Friends. For several years, the group would travel and sing as well as perform the puppet ministry, opening new doors for both ministries.
In 1982, Mike and Melanie would begin their family adding daughter Mariah. Mariah would join the family music ministry at age 2 1/2 and her strong soprano voice has become a favorite among Southern Gospel Music fans. In 2005, she would marry Scott Lomelino, who would join the ministry as a sound technician as well as taking care of the group's graphic work. Mariah and Scott continue to live in Manchester along with his daughter Ashlea and their son Gracen.
In 1986, a son would come along. Brady Rueter would join the music ministry in 1988 and develop into a natural communicator with the group's fan base. His easy going emcee style and contagious sense of humor has endeared him to Gospel Music lovers, not to mention that everyone loves a good bass singer. Brady also has taken on the roll of office manager for the group and is currently building a new recording studio where he will serve as head engineer.
In 1994, the family would be blessed with the addition of another daughter, Tressa. She began singing with the group in 1996. Tressa is very popular with the group's younger audience, introducing many of them to Southern Gospel for the first time.
2005 would mark a major change in The Chosen Ones as Melanie's brother, Randy along with wife Becky and children, Abby, Blake and Jordan would leave the group, pursuing other avenues of ministry. This change would allow Mike and Melanie to team full time with their children. In recent years, they have partnered with producer Tim Parton to produce several recording projects which have caught the attention of national industry leaders. One of their latest recordings, More Than a Story, received a 4-star review by the national Southern Gospel website sogospelnews.com. The Chosen Ones appear annually at the National Quartet Convention in Louisville, KY as a participant in the Featured Artist Showcase.
The family performs over 160 concerts a year and travels thousands of miles across the United States sharing its unique style of Progressive Southern Gospel at churches, revival meetings, city homecomings and fairs, and the family has been featured on Gospel Music Television. They have also partnered with Compassion International, an international ministry that sponsors children in third world countries, helping to feed, clothe and most importantly, introduce them to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Chosen Ones are the host of one of Illinois' most popular Southern Gospel concert events, the Manchester Music Festival, an annual outdoor event in the middle of August. They have also been a vital part of Magnify Ministries and have recently joined the performing roster of the Mid America Gospel Music Association.
Mike and Melanie Rueter have instilled in their family a burning desire to serve Jesus through the medium of Gospel Music. A concert by The Chosen Ones is a worship experience, uplifting the church and pointing people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The Chosen Ones continue the tradition of great Gospel Music families. You will not regret your decision to attend a concert by The Chosen Ones.