NQC 2008: Day 5
A note to readers: I’ve taken quite a few more video clips than I’ve had time to post. Be watching for a post early next week announcing when everything is up.
One of the evening’s earlier segments was Phil Cross and Friends, singing songs from Cross’s 25th Anniversary project. The Kingdom Heirs joined Cross for a rendition of “Wedding Music.” Kingdom Heirs bass singer Jeff Chapman later referred to that as a highlight of convention week.
Later in that set, the Greenes joined Cross for “Miracle in Me,” the Booth Brothers came up for “I Am Redeemed,” and the Hoppers reprised their Cross-penned classic “Yes I Am.” Even though there was a slight key issue at the start (it sounded though Dean Hopper and Phil Cross got different memos as to the starting key), that was quickly past and the song brought the audience to its feet.
The Isaacs’ set started with “Walk On” and ended with a hymns medley and an inspiring rendition of “It is Well With My Soul” that started with just two violins in accompaniment and ended acapella.
The Perrys sang four songs–the Rodney Griffin-penned convention song “Every Question Will Be Answered,” “The Potter Knows the Clay,” “I Rest My Case at the Cross,” and “I Wish I Coulda Been There.” Both of the last two songs received a standing ovation.
The Inspirations’ set included “Overwhelming Joy,” “If You Only Knew,” “I Have Not Forgotten,” and “The Rose.” I had the chance during these two sets to sit closer to the stage than I had before, and it was particularly heartwarming to see Melton Campbell enthusiastically cheering on the Perrys (at one point so much so that the roving camera panned to him) and Libbi Stuffle cheering on the Inspirations.
After an hour or so in the vendor’s hall, I came back in time to catch the Dixie Melody Boys. Janet Paschal was finishing her set as I found a seat; her last two songs were “It Won’t Rain Always” and “His Truth is Marching On.”
The Dixie Melody Boys sang classic Southern Gospel songs during their set; highlights were Ed O’Neal’s rendition of his signature song, “Peace in the Valley,” and Joe Kitson’s rendition of “God’s Still God.” Joe Kitson sings lead with the group; his brother Jacob sings tenor for Greater Vision, and Joe’s song demonstrated that good singing genes weren’t just a fluke with Jacob.
Greater Vision came on stage with “He’d Still Been God,” and followed that with “A Mighty Fortress,” “God Will Pass By,” “Little is Much,” and an audience singalong of “Sheltered In the Arms” / “I Love You Lord.” Jacob Kitson’s solo on “Little Is Much” was the high point of Greater Vision’s set; the audience just loved it, though the standing ovation was not as unanimous as on Monday since (returning to our ongoing standing ovations discussion for the week) practically every group turns in a performance that would merit a standing ovation out on the road and many NQC fans only stand for their favorite groups. Quite a few people in the audience were probably present primarily to hear Signature Sound and the Gaither Vocal Band.
Brian Free & Assurance’s set consisted of “First Day in Heaven,” “Jesus will Pick You Up” (featuring Jeremy Lile), “For God So Loved” (featuring Brian Free), and, of course, “Long as I Got King Jesus.” I thought it would have been a nice (and completely unexpected) flourish if Ernie Haase & Signature Sound had joined them for an encore of the song, but both Haase and Free probably knew that would take audience enthusiasm through the roof and Signature Sound would have difficulty getting their own set going.
Signature Sound’s set started with an acapella rendition of “Since Jesus Passed By” that featured bass Tim Duncan and a power tenor ending from Ernie Haase.
After singing “The Old Landmark” and their current radio single, “Reason Enough,” the group featured Haase on “Oh, What a Savior” before closing with “Get Away Jordan.” From my vantage point (actually, vantage points, since the place was so packed that even wherever I knelt on the concrete, it seemed I was in someone’s way), it looked like “Oh, What a Savior” roused the strongest reaction. Even though “Get Away Jordan” got the audience on its feet and kept them there for a while, “Savior” reminded the audience why they had gotten to love Haase in the first place. “Get Away Jordan” thrilled the younger audience members, but “Savior” thrilled just about everyone.
The Gaither Vocal Band sang “I’ll Tell it Wherever I Go,” “Jesus and John Wayne” (featuring Guy Penrod), “Always a Place at the Table” (featuring Wes Hampton), and “Sinner Saved By Grace.” By about halfway through their set, I headed for the vendor’s hall, since my knees had all they could handle of kneeling on concrete. Others present will probably needed to confirm or deny this, but it sounded from the live audio feed I could hear in Freedom Hall that Tim Duncan at least, and possibly the rest of Signature Sound, had joined the Gaither Vocal Band on mainstage for the big ending. The two groups did sing “Oh, What a Time” together.
What I heard of the Kingdom Heirs’ set over the live speakers sounded strong, particularly the big ending to the encore of “What We Needed.”
One more night to go! Coming Saturday night: Singing News Fan Awards, Pianorama, and more great singing from many of your favorite groups.