NQC 2008: Wrapping up, Highlights, and Suggestions
I have finally finished getting up all my photo galleries and videos from NQC 2008. So to wrap up coverage, here are some highlights and suggestions.
- Wes Burke over at Burke’s Brainwork asks what NQC 2008’s breakout artist was. This year, I do not think it was a group as much as it was an individual: Jacob Kitson. All day on Monday and until Greater Vision’s set on Tuesday, it was easy to find time to talk with him. Quite a bit of the time, he was either standing at the booth or talking with one or two people. On Greater Vision’s Tuesday set, he was introduced via the song “Little is Much”; for the rest of the week, if you wanted to reach him, you had to wait in a line as long as the line to talk to Gerald Wolfe.
- Talking with artists. The artists do this week for the fans as much as anything else. They are happy to spend time talking with fans who come up. I had many great conversations with artists this week (and for whatever it’s worth, those who didn’t already know me were happy to talk with me long before I mentioned that I operate a Southern Gospel website).
- Lari Goss’s appearance at Pianorama, playing “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” has to go down as a highlight.
- Many sets this year felt a little too rushed, as groups tried to fit four songs in before the clock ran out. Let the headliners for each night sing more than 17 minutes; perhaps assign two to four artists as the headliners for each night, and give each of them a half-hour at the end of the concert. Don’t have any group be a headliner more than once, though the groups can still have briefer sets at other points in the week.
- Keep Gaither and Signature Sound. One of my co-workers, who spent more time at my magazine publisher’s booth than I did, had time to observe the audience and commented that on Thursday, with the Gaither team showed up, the enthusiasm level at the convention just came to a whole new level.
- Invite the Collingsworth Family to appear on main stage. Theirs was the biggest omission from this year’s program.
- If Singing News ever drops Fan Awards, instead do NQC Fan Awards, voted on the spot by ticketholders (and possibly exhibitors, artists, and media; that part is debatable). You’d probably be guaranteed of 4000-8000 votes.
- Set aside an hour or two each day before the main program begins to allow lesser known groups to sing on the main stage. This would be a level somewhere between showcase and a major mainstage appearance. There are so many deserving groups currently appearing in the showcases that deserve a mainstage slot, even if it is lower profile than the 6:00-12:00 program.
- During this time, set aside an hour or two before the main program on one of the big days (Thursday-Saturday) to put on the main stage all the classic groups that deserve to be there because of their heritage and what they have meant to past National Quartet Conventions. Groups like the Blackwood Brothers, Chuck Wagon Gang, Naomi and the Segos, and the Weatherfords deserve some recognition for past accomplishments, no matter if they currently keep a lower profile.