Horizon Group of the Year and the NQC Mainstage

My post on the LeFevre Quartet’s dissatisfaction with not being invited to appear on the main stage at last year’s National Quartet Convention sparked an interesting discussion. Several people have made interesting comments, but one in particular was thought-provoking enough that it deserves a post of its own. In answer to the assumption (inherent in David Staton’s argument) that Horizon Groups of the Year should get an NQC mainstage slot, “Clarence” observed:

The Horizon Award winning group has been left off the main stage before. Common Bond and the Florida Melody Boys won the award back in the ’90’s and never did get a mainstage slot that I recall.

He has a valid point. Let’s look at all the Horizon Groups of the Year since the award was instituted (as “Favorite Newcomer”) in 1984:

  • 2006: LeFevre Quartet (not mainstage)
  • 2005: Mercy’s Mark
  • 2004: Safe Harbor
  • 2003: Signature Sound Quartet
  • 2002: Carolina Boys
  • 2001: Old Time Gospel Hour Quartet
  • 2000: Legacy Five
  • 1999: Dove Brothers Quartet
  • 1998: Florida Melody Boys
  • 1997: Talley Trio
  • 1996: Common Bond
  • 1995: Won By One
  • 1994: Brian Free & Assurance
  • 1993: Kevin Spencer Family
  • 1992: Mullins
  • 1991: Perfect Heart
  • 1990: Down East Boys
  • 1989: Kingdom Heirs
  • 1988: Dixie Melody Boys
  • 1987: Gerald Wolfe
  • 1986: Mid South Boys
  • 1985: Bo Hinson
  • 1984: Talleys
  • 1983: Kingsboys

Of these twenty-four groups and individuals, over half did not appear on the NQC 2006 mainstage: LeFevre Quartet, Signature Sound Quartet, Carolina Boys (on a technicality), Florida Boys, Common Bond, Won by One, Kevin Spencer Family (I think), Mullins, Perfect Heart, Mid South Boys (I think), Bo Hinson, the Talleys, and the Kingsboys.

What I do not know is how many of these groups never appeared on the mainstage. Even 1/8 (which is what it would be with only Common Bond, the Florida Melody Boys, and the LeFevre Quartet) would be a sufficiently large fraction to show that this decision is not unprecedented.

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1 Letter to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. It’s always been my understanding that the Horizon Award is given to the group who’s made substantial progress in the previous year. In my opinion, just because a group has made progress doesn’t necessarily mean they’re to the point they deserve a spot on main stage. The Horizon award isn’t, and shouldn’t be, the determining factor on whom gets added to the line-up. Also, the Singing News Fan Awards and NQC are two different organizations, no matter how closely they operate. The fan awards have never really dictated who sings on main stage.