In 1957 Ruben Bean started playing guitar for the trio, and he and Peg married two years later. As their girls, Connie and Sheryl, were growing up they traveled with their mom, dad and aunts. Dora and Carol retired from the trio in 1971 so it was a natural move for Connie and Sheryl to fill their aunt’s shoes. “The girls had been singing special duets at our concerts so one day after Dora and Carol told us they were retiring, I heard the girls singing and I went in and added my part and I thought ‘Wow.’ So when Ruben came home we sang for him, started working on the music, and by the end of the year we were taking bookings. The group never stopped. We sold albums from the old group at first and we made our first album, with the new members, in 1972.”
In 1983 there was another change when Sheryl left to fulfill her obligations as a minister’s wife. Peg’s sister, Carol, returned to the group. In 1987 Roger Fortner was hired to play the guitar for the group. In 1999 Connie and Roger’s son, Eli came on stage with the group, quoting scripture and singing from time to time, and then in 2006 Eli joined the group on stage playing rhythm guitar. The group also uses digital tracks to enhance the value of their performance.
The McKameys play about 150 days a year, traveling all over North America from Southern California on up to British Columbia and over to the East Coast, north to New Brunswick and south to Florida. They have had 25 number one singles and in 1999 were honored by their record label, Horizon, for having the most number one hits in the history of Southern Gospel Music. The group has been awarded several different Singing News Fan Awards through the years with Peg being named Favorite Female Vocalist seven times. However, their fans say they believe the singers really are sincere about the message they present. “It’s the joy of the Lord and the strong message in the songs they hear,” Peg says. “We try to have fresh songs and new encounters with the Lord so we can pass them along to those in need of it.”