“Was that the real Ernie?”
“Was that the real Ernie?”
Sam, then six-years old, asked the question in disbelief, having only seen Ernie Haase on several Cathedral videos.
It was March 19th, 2006, and our very first Southern Gospel concert. Our family entered the high school auditorium in Eau Claire, WI, and were taken aback at the sight of Ernie Haase and Signature Sound Quartet standing behind their product table. We were shocked. It was unheard of! What professional music group actually talked and mingled with the fans? Multiple members of our family had attended popular Contemporary Christian concerts, and nothing of the sort had been observed.
Now having attended more Southern Gospel concerts since 2006, we have closely observed the “table manners” of a multitude of different groups, both national and regional. Let us share our observations…
There are many different table manners. For example, there are those artists who actually feel most comfortable away from the table. They wander among the people, saying “hello”, trying to look busy, and sometimes leaving the table unoccupied. These are most often the tenors, who, being social bugs and having short attention spans, cannot stay confined to one area. 🙂
Then we find the artists who take refuge behind the table, huddled together, staring out at the people with frightened eyes, only talking a few sentences to those who are brave enough to approach them at their table. These are most often groups or regional artists who are newer to the concert scene and rather shy.
Of course, there are the individuals who reply to your appreciation from their safety behind the table with a curt, “Oh, thanks”, and immediately turn away, signifying the conversation is over. These industry members come across as aloof and egotistical. We have also been disturbed by those artists standing behind the table waving fist-fulls of cash, yelling loudly, “I can help someone over here!”
The artists with the best table manners are those who are truly interested in what you have to say. They are not afraid to come out from the table, but also utilize the table in a good way for what it is meant, namely product sales. They encourage and edify. They laugh easily, are sympathetic and genuinely concerned about ministry to the people. They are real.
Yes, one of the things which has so attracted our family to this amazing genre is the behind-the-table experience at Southern Gospel concerts. The ability to interact with the people who sing our favorite music is a privilege we truly appreciate. It builds a personal connection which is not understood or experienced by those outside this genre. Good table manners help build a bridge to the Gospel – the reason for it all.
– Article submitted by Taylor for TGF (with opinions from everyone in the family!)