Meet the Soul Purpose Band...

Sarah Elizabeth, Lead Vocals - the sultry and captivating authority with which gospel artist Sarah Elizabeth sings not only commands the attention of the listener, but guarantees to inspire, empower, and encourage the ears that hear her voice.

Although born in Berkeley, she was raised in Richmond, California by her father. At eight years of age, Sarah found her passion for singing while listening to the radio and singing jingles from her favorite television commercials. Noticed for being exceptional with her vocal abilities, Sarah was asked to join and sing in a regional school choir at nine years old. In addition to singing with the choir, her passion for singing was heavily impacted by John Baker, her uncle, and vocal greats including: the Clark Sisters, Whitney Houston, Billie Holiday, and Pattie LaBelle.

Singing at her home church in Oakland, California and working with local producers opened doors for Sarah’s music industry career to expand to new heights, and as a result of her hard work and dedication Sarah was a featured voice on two music albums in the late 90s. In 1998, Sarah sang background for gospel rap group Christ-4-Life. Since singing on several Christ-4-Life projects, Sarah’s experience in the industry has grown to include being featured on other Christian artist projects and live background vocals for such mainstream artist/radio personality like K.D. Bowe.

Since relocating to Georgia, Sarah has become a Praise and Worship Leader at Berean Christian Church and ministered at events and conferences throughout the area. “I don’t sing to perform but I minister unto the Lord as a testimony of God’s goodness, grace, and mercy,” said Sarah. “My goal is to edify the body of Christ through songs that tell my testimony.” Her powerful testimony includes overcoming negative statistics associated with being raised in a single-parent home, God’s power to deliver from depression, and to restore marriage.

In addition to serving her church family as a Praise and Worship Leader, Sarah has sang with several national recording artists from Micah Stampleyand Derrick Starks to the legendary Dorinda Clark-Cole.

Mark Whitten, Lead Vocals - "Hard Hitting" Mark Whitten, a most powerful vocalist. Born in McRae, Ga. Mark's early musical influence was gospel. He moved to Arlington, Virgina, where he worked as a firefighter/paramedic with a Metro area Fire and Rescue Dept. While with the fire dept., Mark sang lead vocals in a cover band made up primarily of fellow firefighters. He also traveled the East coast singing at special fire service engagements, which included sharing the stage in 1989 with then President George Bush, at the annual Congressional Fire Caucus Banquet. There he gave a moving rendition of "America, The Beautiful". After relocating to the Atlanta area, Mark continued to sing in church. He soon joined, toured and recorded with a 'BLUES' band called "The Truetones". He is still a paramedic and still hitt'n hard when he sings the 'Classic Soul'with "The Soul Purpose Band".
Spencer Bean, Lead Guitar/Vocals - A native of Los Angeles, CA, Spencer was first introduced to Soul Purpose by his friend Melvin Jordan when Spencer filled in on lead guitar at a Life University concert in July 2004. Spencer had spent 21 years as the lead guitar player, back-up vocalist and band leader with Gladys Knight and The Pips. In addition to his long tenure with Gladys Knight, Spencer has also recorded, toured nationally and internationally, and performed in the bands of many other legends of music including Marvin Gaye, B.B. King, Barry White, Natalie Cole and Patti LaBelle, just to name a few.

Spencer’s music career of nearly 30 years began at California State University where he studied Jazz, Classical Guitar, Voice and Music Composition and Music Arrangement. Spencer now lives in Alpharetta, GA and became a full-time member of The Soul Purpose Band in March 2009, and we are blessed and honored to perform with him. For Spencer’s complete bio/story, please see

Pete Alvarez, Bass/Vocals - “Miami Pete” Alvarez began his musical career at the age of 10 in sunny Florida. His early musical influences were classical music, to which he was exposed at a very early age. Pete was enamored by the guitar sounds of Montoya and Segovia and began studying classical guitar with the great Spanish guitarist Espigul. Soon the sounds of Rock and Roll took over and he began playing bass guitar with local groups. Pete is a founding member of Soul Purpose.

Dave Penn, Keyboards/Business Manager - Dave is the founder of SOUL PURPOSE. A native of Thomaston, Georgia and a graduate of Georgia Tech, Dave began to play with various rock and R&B bands at the age of 14. The most successful of those early groups was an 8-piece/R&B/horn band known as Alfonzo and The Bootleggers. During the mid-to-late ‘60’s, The Bootleggers played many high schools, colleges, and night clubs in Georgia and the Southeast. They also performed in the Atlanta area for WQXI radio at such infamous teen “hot spots” as Misty Waters and Lake Spivey. During this time they were the back-up band or opening act for artists such as The Kingsmen, The Swingin’ Medallions, Rufus Thomas and Percy Sledge. After a hiatus from the music business, a reunion of The Bootleggers in 1987 rekindled Dave’s interest in live performance. In 1993, he began to put together today’s SOUL PURPOSE to revive the soul and beach music classics of the ‘50’s and ‘60’s.
Gary Smith, Keyboards - is an Atlanta native and attended Henderson High School in Dekalb County and the University of Georgia in Athens. Gary began playing piano at the age of 6. When he entered high school, he began to develop an interest in big band,jazz and popular piano standards, and studied under one of Atlanta's top instructors. He began using these fundamentals to develop his rhythmic style with several Atlanta area rock and R&B bands and was a regular at Alex Cooley's Electric Ballroom, where he jammed with Southern Rock headliners such as Wet Willie, Bonnie Rait and Elvin Bishop. After college, Gary reverted back to his love of the standards and played with local jazz artists. A twenty year career in the information and software industries that required extensive travel limited his playing time to impromptu performances at piano bars and resorts across the U.S., the United Kingdom and northern Europe. In 1997, the “bug” bit again and Gary put together a group to bring back the big, classic, sounds of rock and R&B. This rejuvenation of the musical spirit and desire to play with others that crave the “real” sound led to Gary's association with SOUL PURPOSE in July 2000.
Tom Schwarzer, Drums - has been a professional drummer for almost 30 years mostly in the Atlanta area and the southeast Georgia area . . . Savannah, Statesboro and other great little Georgia towns. Tom attended Georgia Southern College. Tom has performed with Jim Dawg and The Wolfpuppies and for a short stint with Poker Alice Band. Tom joined The Soul Purpose Band in June 2006.
Daniel Williams, Tenor Sax - is currently a professional saxophone and woodwind doubler in the Atlanta area. He also works as an arranger/composer and private teacher on piano and woodwind instruments. Daniel plays with many groups and various styles of music from R&B to Jazz and Worship.
Marion English, Trumpet/Flugelhorn - enjoys a versatile career as a freelance trumpet player and music educator. Having received both Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Music Education from the University of Georgia, where he was trumpet soloist and band captain of the famed UGA Redcoat Marching Band, Marion has since taught twenty-four years in the Georgia public schools and is in his eleventh year at North Gwinnett High School where he teaches Music Technology and directs the Jazz Ensemble. He currently performs with The Soul Purpose Band, The Lanier Brass Quintet and has extensive experience in solo performance for wedding ceremonies. Marion joined Soul Purpose in 2003 and is the primary music arranger for the horn section.
Fritz Siler, Trombone - is a retired band director and retired 1st Sergeant of the 151st Alabama Army National Guard Band. He was a member of the Auburn Knights Jazz Orchestra while attending Auburn University and currently performs with the Atlanta Seventeen, a not-for-profit charitable big band, in addition to Soul Purpose. Fritz has also performed with the Shrine Circus in Columbus (GA), Albany (GA) Symphony Orchestra, and the Columbus (GA) Symphony. He is actively involved in the Georgia Association of Jazz Educators as past president and is a “pit” musician for the Springer Opera House. Having performed with such notables as Barry White & the Love Orchestra, Warren Covington & the Pied Pipers, Guy Lombardo & the Royal Canadians, and The Bob Hope Show, Fritz is also a charter member of Soul Purpose, joining the band at its inception in 1974. He is married and proud of his three grown children.
Nat Michelson, Bari/Alto Sax
Nat Michelson played Baritone Sax with the Jacksonville Symphony and Savannah Symphony and the River City Band behind many of the Motown traveling acts such as The Temptations, The Platters, Della Reese, Ray Charles, The Four Tops and various Jazz artists such as Rosemary Clooney, Johnny Mathis, and Kurt Elling, He is an adept doubler on bassoon, clarinet, flute and all the saxes. He is often seen in the pit orchestras for traveling Broadway shows such as Porgy and Bess, Peter Pan, Cinderella, Grand Hotel, Chicago, and Annie. He holds a M.Ed. in music from Auburn University.