History

In New Year's day in 1934, in Broadalbin, New York, Thurlow Spurr was born; he was the second of three children. Musical ability is second nature with the Spurr family and Spurr credits his parents for a tremendous inheritance both spiritually and musically. At four, Thurlow made the decision to follow Christ. This choice proved to have an effect on not only his life, but literally the lives of millions in the decades to come.

His parents served as missionaries to unchurched children in the rural areas of New York, and it was common for him to go along to help hold meetings. At the age of three, Spurr had already learned to harmonize. His parents taught him to play the ukulele and banjo, and put him on the platform. As a young boy he also studied clarinet, drums and then finally the trumpet.

Often athletics surpassed his interest in music, but he and his brother Theron still continued to pursue their music ministry with their duo called "The Two-Tone Spurr Brothers." (One time they were introduced as the "The Two-Tune Spurr Brothers"!) Audiences had to be prepared for anything in those days as Thurlow was already carrying a full set of drums in their 1940 panel truck. However, the requests kept coming as everyone sensed that the Spurr Brothers were devoted to telling people about Jesus Christ.

After high school Thurlow entered Wheaton College in Illinois as a Phys Ed major. But after being hit three times in the mouth that first semester in basketball, he decided that an athletic career wasn't for him. God was dealing with him about his life's work and he yielded one night to whatever the Lord wanted him to do. He and his brother Theron then attended Bob Jones University until their finances ran out. It was then, with their sister, Donna Lou that the Spurrs set out on a new ministry. It was a ministry that followed their parent's example of evangelistic endeavor reaching out across all the United States, Canada and Mexico. With their dynamic presentation of the Gospel in music and the spoken message the "Spurr Trio" was born.

Thurlow led the music for several YFC programs on the local level and was the disc jockey for a radio program called "Sacred Music for Young America." The first program had 13 people in attendance, but quickly increased to more than 500 each Sunday evening.

It is at one of the YFC Rallies in the old Billy Sunday Tabernacle at Winona Lake, Indiana, that Spurr met one of his mentors Ralph Carmichael. Carmichael had flown in from California to serve as the musical director for the convention. The Spurrs were in a hurry to the next performance because they had a long drive ahead, but Thurlow stopped to say goodbye. As Carmichael tells it, "By chance I looked up and saw a young fellow with a flappy shock of dark hair standing in the doorway with a shy, crooked grin." It turned out to be a long goodbye as the two talked for half the night. Thurlow, just a teenager, asked questions about how to develop a total musical production from TV, to recording to live concerts and everything else associated with music. Carmichael knew as they pulled off in the over-packed car, that he had not seen the last of Thurlow Spurr.

In 1959 Thurlow was back at the Winona YFC Conference, only this time he was heading up the music program. That same year the Spurrlows began their ministry and the next year he was hired to lead the music department of Youth for Christ International.

From there came many more career accomplishments.

  • Produced and directed over 20,000 live shows in 50 years
  • Production of over 100 audio and video recordings
  • Command performances for four U.S. Presidents
  • Formed a world-class traveling group called The Spurrlows
  • Created dozens of other groups including: Common Ground, First Gear, Garden Party, Dust, Crimson Bridge, Earth Opera, Pilgrim 20, Pride of Man, Love's Distinction, Festival of Praise
  • First sacred singing group to be sponsored by a major secular company, a relationship that the Chrysler Corporation esteemed for six fruitful years in over 3,000 concert events
  • Influenced later notables such as Cam Floria's Continentals, Roger Breland's Truth, Derrick Johnson's Regeneration, and Richard Roberts' World Action Singers
  • Led musical tours in North Korea, South Korea, Russia, Japan, China, Finland, and several trips to Israel, which, included a citywide celebration for the Israeli Government
  • Founded the famed 300 voice Michigan/Ohio Concert Choir, now in its, which Spurr produces and directs, which continues to generate sold out crowds with their annual Christmas Concerts
  • Provides management for one of contemporary Christian music's most beloved singers Larnelle Harris
  • Past president of the Gospel Music Association and 8 year board member
  • Produced hundreds of award-winning television specials as well as daily television including the annual Dove Awards
  • Remains in constant demand for seminars, workshops and consulting
  • Creator and Producer of the classic series The Thurlow Spurr Collection featuring the Music of Life, a collection of hymns, love songs, Broadway hits and classical pieces, patriotic and Christmas music.
  • Creator and Producer of the I Want To Be A Star Search Christian talent contest.
  • Founder and President of Splendor Productions, a company that his daughter, Vicki, capably heads up today.

However, Spurr contends that his biggest accomplishment is personal....he married "the love of his life" that pretty little blonde girl from Common Ground.

Today Thurlow lives in Orlando, Florida and is happily married to Kathey, an accomplished vocalist, pianist and constant companion. They are blessed with an 12 year old daughter named Maddie Mae.