Singers from across the southeastern part of the U.S. are gathering for song and praise at the Cailloux Theater next week.

The CenturyMen is a nonprofit all-men’s choir group celebrating its 50th anniversary. The group has Baptist roots, as it was started by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1969. It has been its own organization since 1986.

“It’s unique that we’ve never lost the initial vision to be not only an outstanding and strong musical group, but also a group that travels and gets to share the Gospel with music,” said current president Todd Wilson, who has been with the group for 30 years. “The integrity of the music has been maintained through all of these years.”

To audition to be a part of the group, singers must either serve as a professional musician in a Baptist church or teach at a college or post-graduate institution, said Larry Danks, Kerrville resident and former president of the CenturyMen.

“I love being on the other side of the conductors stand,” Danks said. “I’m a church musician — I lead choirs all the time. I love being in a choir. The requirement for me to memorize the music and perform the music is absolutely unique for me.”

The group has performed in China twice, as well as in Eastern Europe, Brazil and Cuba. One member — although he may not be present at the Kerrville concert — works for Broadway, Danks said. This year, the CenturyMen are touring Texas partly because Wilson lives in Abilene.

“For us to get the opportunity to sing in a venue that’s not a church — the Cailloux — is exciting for me, because it expands our reach a little bit,” Wilson said. “Honestly, there are some people that will come hear the CenturyMen at a theater like that who probably wouldn’t come to hear us if we sang at a church.”

Danks added that touring Texas also offers the opportunity to sing at some conferences he finds exciting.

“We sing for church folks all the time and they love us and the message is good,” Danks said. “But the folks we’ll sing for at (the conferences) can hear the paint dry. They know exactly what you’re doing, if you’re fluff or if you really have it. So it’s a unique challenge for us to be able to sing in those kind of places.”

The concert will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Cailloux Theater, 910 Main St. Tickets are free, but they must be obtained at the box office before the show.

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