Letter to the Editor: A Fan Manifesto
An artist whom you all know and love asked if he could submit the following observations on NQC anonymously. While I don’t necessarily agree with every single point, this letter makes quite a few valid points. So between the valid points and my respect for this artist, I agreed to run it as a guest column.
I write this as a fan and an artist. I am concerned about the direction of the National Quartet Convention. I remember my first year in 1995. It was thrilling. Every booth was packed with groups from all over the country. There were legends around every corner, and the atmosphere was electric. I have been performing at the NQC for just a few years and have been saddened to see all of the changes that have been made.
Let me begin by saying that I am not a disgruntled singer who has not gotten what he feels he deserves from the higher ups. On the contrary I am overwhelmed just to be there. What I am is concerned for the future of this great event.
I have heard recently that the economy has hurt the NQC yet I see growth at Myrtle Beach, Winter Convention, and Lebanon, Missouri, and other venues that seem to say the contrary. I believe the major problem is that the fan has been taken out of the equation when making many of the decisions. I am sending this to as many people as will read it. I encourage any fan who agrees to send it to anyone and everyone you know including blogs, Facebook and stock holders. This is a list of changes that I believe will turn the tide of the NQC and bring it back to where it belongs.
BRING BACK QUARTET NIGHT! This one is simple. All male quartet night was one of the most popular nights of convention. This would allow for some quartets to be on who might not be considered otherwise. I would also suggest changing it up a little and doing some “scrap iron” quartet features throughout the night. Fans love it when singers who have never sung together do a classic that everyone knows.
Tuesday night would return to mixed group night under this change and I think fans would really love that. Again, this opens the door for family groups who may not have a main stage appearance otherwise.
NOT SO MUCH COMPASSION! I sponsor 2 children under Compassion and World Vision. I believe in their causes. What I do not believe in is interrupting the flow of a concert every night with emotional pitches to “save the children”! I would encourage a Compassion Showcase, where all of the arists interested could do a really bang up afternoon concert. Bring up children who have been changed by this wonderful program. Do whatever you want to do for 2 hours and then leave it alone! You are beginning to make the fans angry and that is the last thing you want to do.
BRING BACK THE FAN AWARD’S! Duh! I hear almost every night that someone has quit coming to NQC because of the removal of the fan awards. The straw poll was a waste of time. No one wants to spend 3 hours watching who might win something that they are not going to attend a month later. Bring back the classic feel of yester-year when it was THE event of the week. Everyone wore their best and the building had an electric feeling.
NO MORE VIDEOS IN BETWEEN ACTS! Talk about a waste of precious time. We don’t want to watch a little boy talk about his finger getting bitten by his brother Charlie. We want SINGING. We don’t want a bad comedian on the stage for 4 or 5 minutes. We want SINGING. We don’t want America’s pastor or anyone else’s pastor plugging his newest book and his appearance the next morning. We want SINGING! Get the point!!
ONE EMCEE FOR THE WEEK! Stop using artists who don’t know how to bring other artists on. My suggestion would be to bring back Dr. Buck, but I would also be very happy with someone like Duane Garren. He is an incredible emcee and would treat every group fairly. One emcee would help the flow of the event and give some familiarity to the people.
MORE LEGENDS! I understand that many of them can no longer sing like they used to, but truth be told we would not be here if it wasn’t for them. Any artist in that building would be more than happy to stand on stage with Ben Speer, Sue Dodge, Lily Weatherford, Jack Pittman, and Naomi Sego. The new artists could sing the classics with the legends. I guarantee it would be a hit at the convention.
LESS JEWELRY PLEASE! If you had not canned 25 groups from the convention we might not have to walk down flea market row in the exhibit hall. The booths used to be for singers. Let’s try that approach one more time.
LESTER’S IS MORE! I agreed completely with some of the groups who were removed from the main stage. Some I could not disagree more. To take off the Lester’s and the Dixie Melody Boys was as ignorant a move as I have ever seen. Talk about a disconnect with the fans. The 2 groups have a combined history of 130 years. The Lester’s are still at the top of their game, and as was evident at the “FAKE” fan awards the Dixie Melody Boys are still a crowd favorite. Rethink who you take off.
BRING BACK THE FUN! The celebrity roast, the let’s make a deal, and the classic quartet was some of the most popular showcases at convention. Now we have every local group on the planet paraded through like cattle in front of the 30 people who don’t like the big groups. BORING! Bring back some creativity to the afternoon showcases!
GOING TO THE CHAPEL! My favorite part of the week used to be the bible study. Now it is not worth getting up for. Move the Study back into the small room. Bring back an actual bible teacher, not a comedian who throws in scripture. Have it return all week long, and leave it alone!
LEAVE THE POLITICS TO FOX! This is my last request. If you have to bring in a key note speaker, make it Dave Ramsey, Steven Baldwin, Beth Moore, or some other Christian figure that is not wrapped up in politics. It is too divisive. It needs to stop!
Make this the year of the fan. Let us know that you still care and thank you for your time!
Concerned Artist and life-long fan