National Quartet Convention 2011, Day 6

Moment of the Day

Song of a Lifetime Showcase. The standout showcase of the week. Phil Cross knows how to pick the best songs; more on that below.

Showcase Highlights

Kingdom Heirs Chapel Service: The top half of the Kingdom Heirs worked through the early-morning challenges to tenor singers smoothly. The hour-long 9:15-10:15 set kept getting better and better as it built toward the end. Before the closing number, “We Will Stand Our Ground,” the Kingdom Heirs featured Jerry Martin on a double-header of his biggest hits with his two previous groups, “I Can Pray” and “Look for Me at Jesus’ Feet.”

Singing News Straw Poll: The straw poll winners were largely unsurprising. Kim Hopper was named Favorite Female Singer; Ronnie Booth, Favorite Male Singer; Rodney Griffin, Songwriter; Triumphant’s Love Came Calling, Album; Jeff Stice, Musician; Perrys’ “Celebrate Me Home,” Song; Booth Brothers, Artist. The Perrys was perhaps the least expected, though of course they did win in that category last year, so it’s not as much a surprise as it would have been for others. We can compare these with the final results in two weeks, but chances are a high enough percentage of Singing News’s audience is now online that there won’t be much difference.

By all accounts, the highlight of the showcase was a 20-30 minute segment devoted to the Dixie Melody Boys’ 50th Reunion. Ed O’Neal got a standing ovation at the start and close of the program, and Matt Felts got one with his delivery of the closing song, “The Call is Still the Same.” But the song where the atmosphere was simply electric was “Gonna Ride That Cloud Someday”; the audience stood by the end of the song, and through an encore or two. McCray Dove, who had the solo, gave it everything he had.

There was a live band; former pianist Eric Ollis led on piano. I couldn’t see the drummer from my seat. But what was particularly impressive was that, after the first song, Rodney Griffin stepped back into the band pit to play bass guitar. With all the members standing in the front of the stage, this meant that he essentially couldn’t be seen by most of the audience. Especially since Ernie Haase had already left for the week and couldn’t make it, he was easily the biggest name on the stage, and certainly winner of the most awards. His humility to quietly do what needed to be done was as impressive as anything else about the set.

Song of a Lifetime: An incredibly strong showcase, filled with steady standing ovations and a half-dozen moments which would have been the peak of any other showcase.

  • “Up On This Ridge” – Singer/Songwriter: Channing Eleton.
  • “One Holy Lamb” – Songwriter intro: Phil Cross. Singer: Tribute Quartet, featuring Riley Clark. First standing ovation of the showcase.
  • “That’s All I Need (He’s Everything I Need”) – Songwriter intro: Joseph Habedank. Singer: Kingsmen. Standing ovation; Joseph joined on encore.
  • “Hear My Heart” – Singer/Songwriter: Sheri Easter. Powerful moment.
  • “Preach the Word” – Songwriter intro: Jim Davis. Singer: Gold City. Dan Keeton won himself a standing ovation—and quite a few fans—with this performance. Incidentally, it was probably also Craig West’s final moment on stage with Gold City.
  • “Hands of Grace” – Songwriter intro: Tony Wood. Singer: Talley Trio
  • “When You Bow at Jesus’ Feet” – Songwriter intro: Jim Brady. Singer: Booth Brothers. An exceptionally strong mellow moment; a break between the uptempo songs and huge ballads.
  • “We Will Stand Our Ground” – Songwriter intro: Dianne Wilkinson. Singer: Kingdom Heirs. Standing ovation.
  • “Side Effects” – Songwriter intro: Roger Comber. Singer: Tim Lovelace. A funny comedy moment that had the writers, especially in stitches throughout.
  • “My Name is Jesus” – Songwriter intro: Mark Bishop. Singers: Mark Bishop, Lauren Talley, Bill Shivers, and Mitchel Jon. Standing ovation—electric atmosphere in the room. There just aren’t words to capture the energy in the room on this one.
  • “Fall On My Knees” – Singer/Songwriter: Matthew Browder.
  • “Another Child’s Coming Home” – Singer/Songwriter: Chris Allman, joined by studio musician Jeremy Medkiff on guitar. It was one of the strongest performances of the afternoon, and deserved a standing ovation.
  • “Almost Home” – Songwriter intro: Scotty Inman. Singer: Triumphant Quartet. Uptempo song, and another enthusiastic standing ovation.
  • “Do You Love Me?” – Songwriter intro: Phil Cross. Singer: Sisters. Standing ovation. Phil Cross said it was his personal favorite of all the songs he’s written, and he got quite emotional during Sister’s strong performance. As much because of the intro and his reaction as because of the song itself or the performance, the moment did receive a standing ovation.
  • Audience singalong: “Jesus Loves Me” (led by Rodney Griffin)
  • “No Longer Chained” – Songwriter intro: Rodney Griffin. Singer: Greater Vision.
  • “Redemption Draweth Nigh” – Songwriter intro: Gordon Jensen. Singer: Greater Vision. Gordon Jensen was a huge songwriter in Christian music in and around the 1970s, writing that song, “Tears are a Language,” “Bigger than Any Mountain,” “I Should Have Been Crucified,” and others. This was his first appearance at the songwriter showcase, and undoubtedly his first NQC appearance in a number of years. After an incredibly strong songwriter intro, Greater Vision blew the roof off in what will easily go down as one of the strongest performances of the week. The audience was on their feet by the second chorus, and there was a prolonged standing ovation afterwards. I don’t know if I have ever seen Gerald Wolfe get more into a song; he was so enthusiastic by the big ending that he held out his closing big note for a full measure after the track and other singer stopped, and well after the almost-deafening applause was under way.

Evening Concert

I was driving home all evening, so my siblings did the complete report for the evening.

Evening Highlights:

  • Looking for a Tenor, written by Gerald Wolfe and performed by John Rulapaugh (tenor), Arthur Rice (lead), Mark Trammell (baritone), and Gerald Wolfe (bass).
  • Brian Free’s rendition of Looking for a City—he took it up five times!
  • The Booth Brothers’ What About Now–Powerful delivery!

Set List:

  • We appreciated the NQC choice for Fan Cam host.  Last year we had to “close our eyes and ears” during some Fan Cam segments, but this year was more pleasant. 
  • The Saturday pre-show included performances from the Childress Family (In Christ Alone), Driven (Crucified With Christ), Tim Lovelace (Side Effects), Omega (Jesus’ Face I Shall See), and The Erwins (What Really Matters in Life).  Michael Booth and Susan Whisnant led the Congregational singing which included: God Is So Good / Oh How I Love Jesus, Victory In Jesus.
  • Dixie Echoes: I’ll Shake the Hand of the LordCrumbs From the TableJust a Little While, Hide Thou Me, Miracles Will Happen on that Day, How Great Thou Art (solo by Randy Sr.)
  • Pfeifers: The King is Coming.
  • Kingsmen Qt: Someday, Loving Shepherd Gracious God, God Saw a Cross, That’s All I Need (many fans were on their feet by the end), Stand Up (most everyone else stood up by this song).
  • Primitives: Give the World a Smile Medley (instrumental), He’s the Same God (acapella), My Lord Has RisenYou’ve Been So Gracious To Me, Walking in the Highway,
  • King’s Heralds Acapella selection
  • Dove Brothers: When King Jesus Comes Again (many reprises), He Made a Change in Me (testimony of McCray’s father’s life and salvation) Get Away Jordan.
  • Gerald Wolfe Quartet: Looking for a Tenor  Gerald Wolfe announced he is officially campaigning for Songwriter of the Year Award next year, for only one year.
  • Rambos: Things Will Be Better After Awhile. Our video streaming went down so we do not have a complete set list  They ended with He Looked Beyond My Fault.
  • Triumphant Quartet: Saved By GraceHe Gave Me Mercy, Old White Flag, I Can’t Wait (standing ovation).
  • Talleys: Jesus Saves (featuring Brian), That’s Enough, The Broken Ones, His Life For Mine (partial standing ovation) Testify.
  • Mark Trammell Quartet (joined by Gerald Wolfe on piano): God Knows How Much Mercy I Need, Boundless Love, Calvary Medley (partial standing ovation), I Want to Know (partial standing ovation again)
  • Jeff Stice: Piano Instrumental
  • Voices of Lee: Amazing Love/ I Honor You, Just a Little Talk (partial standing ovation), How Great Thou Art.
  • Mark Bishop: You Can’t Ask Too Much of My God. Listening for the Call, Go Reach the World, My Name is Jesus (joined by Lauren Talley Alvey, Bill Shivers, Mitch Kenitzer, the Nelons, and others)–this was a strong delivery receiving a standing ovation.
  • Brian Free & Assurance: First Day in Heaven, I Believe, Pray Daniel Pray, For God So Loved (standing ovation), Looking for a City (Brian took it up at least 5 times. The crowd went wild. There were references back to the Looking for a Tenor song earlier in the evening.)
  • Kingdom Heirs: Biblically CorrectHeaven Is My GoalIt’s RealWe Will Stand Our Ground (Standing Ovation).
  • Video highlights of week
  • Whisnants: Ready to Leave Medley, A Greater Yes, I’ll Pray For You, New Day Dawning (Booth Brothers joined for reprises. Michael played drums.  Gerald Wolfe then came and joined Eric Ollis playing the Piano. Eventually, Karen Peck Gooch joined also)–standing ovation
  • The Booth Brothers: Look For Me At Jesus Feet (Michael Booth began the song from the stool of the drum set then the group came up to join him.), He Saw It All (Ronnie dedicated the song to “anyone who never had a song dedicated to them.”)–standing ovation, Still Feeling Fine–crowd still standing (joined by Tribute Qt.’s bass Anthony Davis). The Booth brothers got quite silly “when Michael was catching his breath”. Michael proceeded to eventually turn the clock off!  Michael spoke about being in Christ and sang What About Now. The segued into the finale with Are You Washed in the Blood chorus joined by Karen Peck Gooch. The Booth Brothers ended three nights (Tuesday had a Christmas feature just after them)!  They didn’t have a complete set early at night.  Brian Free & Assurance closed two nights.  Daniel’s Siblings guess that this is a valiant attempt to keep people from leaving too early.
  • Finale: Reach Out and TouchDoxology

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14 Letters 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. I saw you on the Web Cast during the Straw Poll Showcase. 🙂

    • I was four rows from the front for both that and the Songwriter showcase, so I might have been in some audience shots for both.

      • Ahh.. Neat! I mentioned it to YGG, and she asked if you had the beard. :0)

      • Perhaps she hasn’t looked at the comments section here in a while! 🙂

  2. I guess with everyone piled in front of stage you couldn’t see or didn’t notice that Joe Lane walked over to piano and added the fire to Ride the Glory Cloud, on the encore. Simply Amazing!

    • Yes, I couldn’t see that. Thanks!

  3. The highlights of the day for me was seeing Dr Stanley in the morning and musically hearing Brian Free sing Looking For A City. I live in New England so this was my first time seeing most of these groups live.

  4. I came in right towards the end of Redemption Draweth Nigh and walked up to the side of the stage just in time to watch Gerald hit the last note. First of all, the sound was amazing and the atmosphere in there was incredible. Secondly, he was killing it. He’s enthusiastic about every song he sings, but you could tell he was really into it last night. The evidence was that last note.

    • Yes, he is normally enthusiastic, but that was certainly more than normal!

  5. Triumphant’s last song was “Almost Home.” It got a terrific crowd response each time they sang it this week.

  6. Oops – sorry not to catch this with the first comment – Triumphant’s second song was Mercy, Forgiveness & Grace.

    • Thanks for both clarifications. Our video feed kept dying so we may have missed more than one song.

  7. Thanks for telling us about Rodney playing bass. I had a great seat and didn’t see him do that. What a great guy and what a great showcase. Seeing Ed was wonderful and the tribute was well deserved!

  8. I thought Saturday nights concert was pure bliss. It was like all the artists wrapped up a Christmas gift and gave us all they had to give. Fan favs, lots of heart, lots of energy. Makes me wonder what heaven will be like, cause that was amazing!