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

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147 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 guess there’s just one last things to say……..AMEN!

    • I second that Amen!

  2. Let me try that again…I guess there’s just one last THING to say…….AMEN!

    • And I would also say AMEN!!! There is not a single point I disagree with!

  3. Just for the record, by the way, I took the NQC photo several years ago, and included it for a quick visual reminder that we’re discussing NQC. There’s no connection to the artist at hand, so no need to be speculating about that! 🙂

  4. Quite a few good points. Hopefully the Board listens.

    • Do you all always agree with one another? Don’t you feel the need to differentiate like TGF, although maybe with “Sibling A” and “Sibling B”?

      Just kidding. 😀

      • 🙂

        This brought a smile to my face! I’ll leave it to them to answer how they see fit.

        I think they like doing it this way, so that I can’t blame an individual one of them for something. But I do know their writing styles well enough that I often have a pretty good idea of who was behind the comment. 🙂

      • That’s the reason we said “quite a few” instead of all. There may be a few points on which we do not have consensus, but because we comment together, we make a general remark!

        Does that help?

      • I was just joking. I just get this mental picture of identical people in different sizes sitting around the computer nodding their heads in unison, but I know some big families, and I’m sure that’s not the case! 🙂

  5. For the most part, I’m in agreement with this poster. I must say I’ve enjoyed the Fan Awards Show better since moving it to Dollywood, but if they could maintain the high quality production values they’ve established there, I’d be OK with a move back to NQC. I’d prefer, however, for it to be it’s own show there, too… Never liked it being tagged on as part of the evening concerts. Maybe have it the day before NQC starts, instead of the ‘bonus’ concert? Or even have NQC close out the week with a big gala event? (I know they tried it on Saturday that last year in Louisville, but I didn’t think it was well planned, or promoted.) All in all, though, I agree that NQC needs to rethink many of their recent decisions. I’d love to see it be our ‘premier’ event, once again.

  6. Who ever this person is, they are right on with all of there remarks. The problem as I see it, someone at NQC is doing their on thing and not in tune with the fan. My son and I could not believe how empty the group hall was and yes the last two or three rows did look like a flee market. I don’t understand why NQC has cut back on the number of groups each night and waste our time with jokes and videos that some make know sense. I have wrote emails to NQC and they either don’t answer or they think they are making improvements. Just not sure.

  7. Amen and amen, not too much I disagree with. Hope the board will listen, especially to the politics part. Even though it made Fox News this year, which was great, they need to keep politics out of NQC.

  8. As someone who attended faithfully for six years, and hasn’t gone for the last three or four, I totally agree. I’ll be back when these changes, or most of them, are implemented.

  9. Here, here! AMEN! Yes! WOW! Did I write that? I could’ve and wouldn’t have changed a thing! [EDIT] But GREAT JOB anyway!

  10. Yes I love the idea of putting the male quartet to Monday and mixed groups on Tuesday but please bring back the Nelons to mainstage. They travel full time and have had 5 singles released from “Besides Still Waters”.

  11. I will have to agree with that too!

  12. I agree with the entire post, although I highly doubt it will change things at NQC.

    Here’s hoping. . .

    • Sorry to get off topic, but I just had to ask this. Dan, aren’t you Clayton Plemmons father?

      • That would be me. . . 🙂

      • OK. I thought so. I know Amber, Clayton, and your wife from Pilgrim Camp, and Pilgrim Youth Camp. 🙂

  13. Several good points. However, I do trust the board and their decisions.

    I truly enjoy change and love the funny videos (I would prefer a few classic funny videos from Jim Hamill, Grady Nutt, Roger Bennett, Sam Goodman, George Younce, Wendy Bagwell, etc. even more than the ones we saw though).

    I would enjoy the return of the Fan Awards, but in a full-on afternoon session so we could enjoy all the great singing we missed on Fan Awards night in past.

    I agree with the keynote speaker comment and would love to hear any of the people mentioned. I don’t mind the political figures and like them being there, I would enjoy Beth Moore (or whoever) more.

    Also, I love, love, love the comedians. Swanberg’s showcase is so fun.

    I was in support of moving NQC to Indiana back when it was up for a vote. Change is good, sometimes.

    The classic singers are wonderful, but we need to mix in the new groups for the future of the industry. There are some amazing new talents out there that are our future.

    NQC is great any way you slice and dice it!

    • Change is good ONLY when it comes with improvement. These changes have not improved based on the majority of the comments I’m reading!

  14. Wow, I could have written this letter myself for the most part. I have no real preference for quartet night or mixed group night, but I do have a problem with the cost first. Why should I come to NQC and pay right at 1000 dollars or more for a four-day stay close to the venue, when I can go to any other event, such as Lebanon to the Brumley sing for the same number of days at 1/3 of the cost, from ticket price to food court at the venue to lodging. I totally agree that there needs to be an emcee, whether it’s Dr. Buck, or Duane Garren, or Brian Lester, or Danny Jones for that matter. These are four of the best. I also am in agreement that Compassion and politcs have no place at the NQC during a program for which I have paid to see. I give to missions at my church and can watch Fox News anytime I want. I know the needs are there. When I go to a concert I want to escape the reality of the cruel word we live in for a bit. Paying to be reminded of the sorry economy or starving children is not my idea of a good time. I agree wholeheartedly that Fan Awards should return to NQC, where the majority of fans gather and can experience them. Why have a straw poll? Just have the fan awards. From the schedule this past year, a friend and I took one night and added up all the time spent between Compassion, comedy, instrumentals, John Ashcroft, and the artists who only got one song, and it was something like an hour and 10 minutes that were basically either wasted or under-utilized. That could have been three more groups they could have featured. I certainly hope that there are sweeping changes to the NQC in the future, and hopefully some that will make me return, as I’ve not been there the past two years. Every year I hear that numbers for crowds are up, yet for years there have been changes made that lead me to beleive the contrary, because why would anyone who was having such a successful event with growing numbers feel the need to keep changing and tweeking it? If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. But now there are so many day events that it’s like NQC is competing against itself. I cannot imagine how exhausted the average fan has to be if they try to take in every event the NQC has, especially with the mean average of age among the attendees having to be close to at least 60. I realize that it’s a huge responsibility to undertake an event of this magnitide and I am not saying that I could do any better than the board, but I do think that sometimes the suggestions by fans who are paying customers fall on deaf ears. And I do think the NQC has lost it’s FAN perspective and is just another promotion attempted to make money for the promoters. And I agree there are certain groups who just need to be at NQC because of history and legend, such as DMB, Lesters, Naomi and Segos and the Weatherfords. Have a classics showcase or whatever you want to call it, but don’t exlude those pioneers and legends. And speaking of showcases, it is very disappointing that NQC used to be for the best, biggest, and the elite in our industry–the right to be on NQC stage had to be earned and it was impressive and an honor to be there; and now look at the plethora of truly amateurish talent that gets to claim they sung at NQC just because they bought a booth space. That’s what has, in my opinion, taken the NQC from the premier event in southern gospel music to just another money-maker at the expense of the fans who are the ones who are expected to take out mortgages on their homes to attend.

  15. Everyone, I just deleted a comment. On this topic, as on all others, it’s important to keep the discussion within the usual guidelines – positive, constructive, and on-topic. Suggestions for changes and constructive criticism are OK here, so long as the criticism is constructive!

  16. Daniel, I will add that I don’t relish the thought of making the decisions the board has to make. I know it is totally impossible to please 10,000 southern gospel fans. But I’ve been going to NQC for well over 20+ years and there was a time when I thought my life would be over if I didn’t attend, and I’m not sure where that passion for this event began to disappear.

    • They are indeed in a hard place, and they indeed can’t please anyone.

      [EDIT: I can’t believe I said that! Of course, I meant that they can’t please EVERYONE! But this is so funny that I’ll leave it up as is, with this comment!]

    • You know I feel the same way. I am questioning my attendance in the future. It’s just not worth the money or effort.

  17. Enjoyed all the comments the guest artist blogger made.
    I really really like the thought of bringing a keynote speaker like Dave Ramsey, ect. Nice idea!

  18. My dear Daniel, you have opened yet another can of worms…congratulations 🙂 lol

    • I didn’t open it. I just passed the open can along. 🙂

      • Ok, Daniel, now I may open a new can of worms, but maybe you have some enlightenment on this. How much dissatisfaction over the NQC do you think the average fan has merely because it’s chatted up more due to internet, Facebook, message boards, etc? Just wondering. Because it seems to me the more people are allowed to yak about it, constructively or not, the more contempt and dissention it could foster. Twenty years ago, there were certain groups who weren’t on main stage but you seldom heard it out there among the average fans and attendance was good. Now, with so many communication devices, everyone knows what’s going on good or bad at the push of a button. Do you think that public forums and social media have put the suggestion out there for people to react to? Maybe ignorance is bliss, and now that people are better informed of things both good and bad through the electronic age, it has caused some folks to discover their right to balk and stay home if something isn’t to their liking. Not sure I’m expressing this clearly, but what is your take?

      • That’s a distinct possibility. Good point.

      • Of course, we all know that society as a whole has gotten more self-centered, too…that may play into it some.

      • True. I, for one, do recognize changes which need to be made to ensure the event’s continued viability. But at the same time, any year I can make it, I’m perfectly happy to sit back and enjoy what they did get right!

      • I think this is good communication. Now I don’t think it is just my husband and I or a few friends that see these changes. It is a lot of people, and when people read that others agree, they are supporting those thoughts.

      • Intriguingly, a (different) artist picked up the phone this afternoon and called me, noting that this discussion isn’t just because of social media. He indicated that he has recently spoken with a number of older fans and concert promoters, who do not have computers, and they have made the same points to him made in this post.

      • My husband and I were saying these things on the way home from Louisville. (No computer) Daniel, you have a great discussion going on here. Do you know if any of the board members read this? It needs to be printed out and mailed to them. They can decide the suggestions they like and ignore the rest. I also agree that they have a hard job pleasing us all, but a couple of the suggestions would be a step in the right direction.

  19. Daniel, as the editor, can you please tell us with which points you disagree?

    • No. 🙂

      • You CAN, you just choose not to. 😛

      • Think about it further. There are actually good reasons keeping my mouth shut in some of these areas—decisive reasons, may I add!

      • Oh, I have no doubt there are reasons. I was just correcting you on the fact that technically you could, but choose not to. :-p

      • It’s even a stretch as to whether I technically could, since I work for the company that produces the NQC Live DVD series! 🙂

      • Well, you physically have the capability there would just be repercussions. 😛

  20. Daniel, can you please tell us with which points you disagree?

    • Sorry for the duplicate comment.

      • No problem!

      • No problem in telling us what you disagree with? 😉

  21. As for the Fan Awards… Here’s an idea: Why not move the FAN awards at NQC…. and keep the Hall of Fame Induction at Dollywood – but start (or-revamp) an industry-voted award show? The ‘new’ awards SHOULD be done with some integrity, and rival The Emmys (c), The Tonys (c) and Academy Awards (c)…. Am I making sense?

    • I, also, would love to see an industry-voted award show.

      • I truly agree with this! Do you mean like the Grammy’s are judged?

  22. It is interesting to note the timing of changes at the NQC with the change in ownership of the Singing News. And again in 2010 when the Singing News offices were moved to Nashville, more than half the SN staff of 20 years let go, and a new publisher took over.

    I don’t think many people understand the positive relationship between the Singing News and NQC over the years–or the effects of that relationship.

  23. WOW, what a great article. These are my thoughts on the convention. I’ve been attending for about 15 years & [edit] Not sure I want to go back next year. They sure do need to bring back more quartets. [edit]

  24. Constructive criticism is okay, everyone, but let’s not cross the line defined in the comment rules!

  25. Well I’m sure that there will be changes made again this year, but maybe they could take a look at a few key areas to improve upon and at least address those little by little. I don’t know, maybe they could take a poll of the top three things people would like to see changed at NQC and work toward those things most people would like to see done differently.

    Mine would be:
    1. Lower the hotel prices.
    2. Bring SN Fan Awards back.
    3. More singing by actual groups with a program emcee of the night–and less politics, Compassion International, instrumentals, one-song performances, etc.

    • They can negotiate with hotels, but they can’t control them. Any year I’ve stayed in a hotel, I’ve stayed in a hotel 30+ minutes out, which is hard to do, but can be necessary to pull it off financially.

      • [edit] the last year I was at NQC, which was two years ago, I had rooms on the loop around Freedom Hall for around 95 dollars per night. When I checked out, I was told if I wanted the same rooms next year, the price would be 139 dollars per night and I’d have to reserve three nights minimum to get that price and sign a contract that day to secure them. I about fell over. And I declined. But I’m like you, the next time I attend NQC, it will be in a more affordable room even if it’s a half-hour away.

      • This also happens with campgrounds. Some local campgrounds gouge the people for special events in Louisville, and the NQC is one of those events. It’s not just the hotels, and the NQC has no control over that.

      • Sometimes I wonder if even the gas stations use it as an excuse! 🙂

  26. Also need to bring back the Parade of Pianos as heard that was very popular. Despite not attending an NQC week or event just yet. As wished that they could bring those back.

    The writer has great points! Thanks for posting this Daniel!

    • You’re welcome! Yes, people loved the piano showcase, under whatever name it might have come.

  27. I agree with most of that post, even though I’m probably not qualified to since I’ve never been to NQC. 🙂

    • Luke – I think that today’s controversy is about as much as the community can handle in a day. Let’s save the original second half of your comment as a controversy for another day!

      • If you insist. 🙂

  28. I haven’t attended the NQC since it was in Memphis. So I don’t have any suggestions, only observasions. SGM has always had a conrol factor. Whether we like it or not, it has to be controlled by someone or something. It evidently is successful or it would not continue to exist. In our day and time, back before bottled water was discovered, it was controlled by the top echelon of singing groups. Talent is important, but listening and hearing from many fans, it is more of a social event where fans get together and enjoy fellowship. Many of them really don’t care what is on stage, they just enjoy the felowship and SGM. As a result, they handpick who they listen to and which sessions they attend. Can it be better, everything in life can have an improvement factor. I read rhetoric, but I also read between the lines. It will not change as long as it continues the success factor in the eyes of those in charge.

  29. More Compassion. Generally, SGM fans just want to hear music. But they need more “compassion”. And how many quartets are needed for a Quartet night? I can’t name more than 10 solid quartets that would also pack in the fans.

    • I can name far more than 10. I heard this same comment attributed to one quartet owner at NQC, so I guess I now know who the mystery blogger is.

      I believe that the NQC board has already addressed many of the points brought up above and I certainly expect a return to more popular features of the past at NQC 2012. Stay tuned!

      • Bet ya don’t!

        Maybe if you get Gaither, Oak Ridge Boys, Statlers, and a couple of old Reunion gigs, you might could make a solid night out of it as far as attendance. Actually, if you could get all them out for one night of “all-quartets”, attendance might go through the roof.

        But I don’t go to NQC anyways, so it wouldn’t affect my attendance.

      • Yeah, but I might just be able to talk you into coming up for that night. 🙂

      • Ok. We’ll see how the landscape of my life changes from this year to next. It could be significant. So you’re right, I would be there for that Quartet night.

        But for everything else, your artist/fan makes good arguments. And I know many aren’t thrilled with politicians, but for everyone that doesn’t like that idea, I wonder if there would be 2 more that LOVE it.

      • Ben – I believe that more than one quartet member thinks that bring back quartet night would be a very, very good thing. 🙂

      • 1. Dove Brothers
        2. Blackwood Brothers
        3. LeFevre Quartet
        4. Kingdom Heirs
        5. Dixie Echoes
        6. Dixie Melody Boys
        7. Melody Boys
        8. Mark Trammel Qt
        9. Souled Out
        10. Kingsmen
        11. Palmetto State Qt
        12. Legacy Five
        13. Kings Heralds

        and even us…
        14. Southern Sound Qt

        and I have others…..

      • One objection (for me personally), but half of those groups sound the same, at least stylistically. I never said there weren’t more than 10 solid sounding quartets, but I don’t think that lineup would pack a house. Or maybe I should say, I wouldn’t plan to go. I’m sure old people would love it. (Although, we’ll keep Southern Sound in the mix :))

      • Sure, a lot of those groups tend toward the traditional or middle-of-the-road part of the spectrum. So throw in Brian Free & Assurance, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, the Ball Brothers, two incredible scrap-iron quartets, a Gold City reunion concert, and an original Greater Vision plus Pat Barker set.

        If enough of the other concerns keeping fans away are addressed, that lineup would pack the house. 🙂

      • I would go with that lineup. But I’ve also heard EHSS won’t perform very often unless Gaither is on the show. So we’ll have to get both of them. And then the rest of what you said sounds like a night I would drive up for.

      • Well, that was the case when they were on the Homecoming Tour, but I don’t think that’s the case anymore, now that they tour on their own. I think they’ve appeared on different nights than Gaither on a number of recent NQCs.

      • I can’t believe I left out Gold City…just me being old and forgetful!

  30. I agree with 99.9% of this artist’s comments. I wrote similar comments to the Board of Directors after the NQC this year, but I suspect comments from an artist would be more effective. Whoever you are, thank you for looking at the NQC from both the artist and the fan’s perspective. I spoke with many artists at the NQC who were equally upset about all of these changes, and I think they would support most of the suggestions in this artist’s blog. My husband and I have attended the NQC for 13-14 years, and we have seen these changes first-hand. We are very unhappy with the changes, and we are also weighing whether we want to continue to attend the NQC or attend another gospel venue.

  31. You will continue to see the Xompassion and World Vision videos because the groups get a kick back ranging from $50-$75 for each child sponsored. Sad to say, but many could not function without the income.

  32. This is a really good discussion. I’m encouraged with the care and passion many speak with… For what its worth, my thought is this…… Let’s pray that God will give insite and wisdom to the board members. I can’t imagine the issues they must deal with and how each effects the other. I do believe that they would like to honor the Lord and please the people. No doubt the financial risk they take must be carefully considered in the decisions they make.

    At the end of the day, this is GOSPEL music so we can safely believe that God would desire this to be blessed AS LONG AS our priorities line up with His.


    I’m happy to be an MC…. We are not paid to do the MC work. I would rather that money go to artists that could use a bump in pay or an artist that needs to be added to the week. I’m sure all the other MCs feel the same. Having said that I do feel that a Brian Lester is as good as it gets!!!!! He is a real treasury to Gospel Music.

    • Well, I will state that the biggest area where I see things a little differently than our guest blogger is that, with one exception, I loved the artists’ emcee work. Yes, one artist seemed to be uncomfortable, reading from cue cards even when introducing the biggest groups, but all the rest did brilliantly. I loved the different flavor that brought.

      At the same time, the other names suggested are, indeed, great emcees, and the convention would not suffer if they had a night.



    THERE’S HOPE! (right)

    • The board is comprised at least largely of the owners, which does make sense.

  34. I agree with you Michael, about Brian Lester !! What an awesome guy and a great MC.

  35. Treasure I ment to say.

  36. Some of the artist/emcees are excellent. Booth, Wolfe, and Crabb are three that come to mind from this year. I agree that Brian Lester is one of the best. Never heard Duane Garren emcee, but if being a nice guy is any indication, he must be good, too.

    Didn’t care for the youtube videos. If you want to play videos, use some vintage SG clips.

    The Fox News people and the politicians aren’t my favorite thing.

    Encourage things like Squire Parsons doing Beulah Land with a choir of his friends or Jeff Easter bringing his Dad on stage. Or Gerald, Danny, Scott and Mark joining Ernie and Signature Sound last year. A few years ago, Mark Trammell did the first verse of “Who Am I” and then passed off the mic to Joseph Habendank for verse two. Stuff like that makes it worth watching.

    • Each of the moments you named are among my favorite NQC moments. The Trammell/Habedank transition was the single most creative way of bringing a group on that I’ve ever seen!

  37. One night I was sitting in GV’s booth and all of a sudden it was like the concert was over. There were so many people coming from the auditorium to the exhibitors hall. Found out later they were into some of the promos that have been mentioned here. So people left in droves. Not saying right or wrong, just expressing my view as I saw it.

  38. That was supposed to read GV booth.

  39. I love the ideas the guest poster made! Both David Murray and I posted suggestions last year on our respective blogs but they pale in comparison to this one. The fact that it is coming from an artist, who is also a fan, makes it even better.

    I noticed a couple of comments in response to the original post that I would like to address. These comments suggested that the NQC Board of Directors would ignore these suggestions and do what they want. I disagree with that. It was not that long ago when the NQC Board was considering moving NQC to Indianapolis. However, the fans overwhelmingly wanted it to remain in Louisville so the Board decided to keep it there and signed a new four year contract.

    In other words, if the fans let the Board of Directors know that they agree with what the guest poster has written, they might possibly make those changes.

    If it would not violate any copyright laws I would suggest, if Daniel and the guest poster approve, that those who agree with this copy the original post, paste it into an e-mail, write that you agree with it, and e-mail it to NQC.

    If a couple thousand people do that, who knows what might happen.

  40. I have to say I agree with everything the poster said except I did enjoy the artist MCs.

    Here’s hoping!

    • I enjoyed the artist emcees, too!

  41. I think they should bring back JD Sumner.

    • I believe the more conservative theological types there, including me, would decline to come if a necromancer appeared on stage!

      • Yeah, and most liberals I know are scared of ghosts!

      • In that case, it’s fair to say that pretty much nobody would want to see it, then!

  42. I am a Southern Gospel promoter and this year was my first year to attend NQC.Changes that I think need to be made are what is NQC doing to bring young people in for the future of SGM. I believe groups like The Browns,The Taylors, Ball Brothers, Todd Allen Family deserve a shot at the main stage. I go back to the days of the Statesmen,Stamps,Blackwood Brothers (which I think should have been on the main stage)So I love traditional SGM but I also know that in order for this music to survive the young people must have something they enjoy. I was also told by Clarke B. that numbers were up over previous years but that is hard to believe because of so many empty seats in Freedom Hall. Listening to people in my area that come to my concerts tells me that taking the Fan Awards away upset a lot of people. One thing that is common sense is that if you do not listen to the fans that buy the tickets each year you will have less and less people until there is no NQC!!

    • Listening to the fans is a key point, and I agree. Bringing some young groups in who are established, such as the Taylors or the Ball Brothers is a good idea, but the people who are paying to see their favorites on the big stage don’t want to see the groups that have yet to “earn” their way to the main stage. Greater Vision, Booth Brothers, the Bishops had to earn their way to the main stage.

  43. Why do people want to stay anonymous? Just curious. There is another solution. Do what Bill Gaither did. If you have enough unsatisfied fans and enough unhappy (for a lack of a better word) singers, start your own thing.

    • I too have often wondered why people don’t want to use their name unless it is Anonymous. Are they ashamed of someone knowing who they are or afraid of what someone might say to them if they knew who they were?

      • It’s pretty easy to know why they wanted to be anonymous. Not only could there be fallout for the artist with fans (although not as likely) there could be with NQC as well as the fact that the artist could either be in hot water with the group owner or the whole group could lose out as the member is a reflection of the group (at least in perception).

        Now, I am not saying that the board would take it out on the artist, but I can understand why an artist wouldn’t want to take the chance.

      • Then he ought to keep his mouth shut and not speak at all.

      • I disagree. He or she probably believes these things need to be said and enacted, but a the same time doesn’t want to take the heat for being the one who said them. (Now I am not saying for sure there would be heat, but at the very least he or she is afraid there could be. think of how different the world would be if all the anonymous tips (for one) that wouldn’t be made if people demanded people do them by name. Many might not take the chance.

      • Something else to consider, this isn’t someone sitting back saying derogatory things, calling names etc. They are simply sharing things they would like to see different in a nice way. Granted that alone SHOULD mean that it wouldn’t be as heated, but by the same token we see how fans (for an example) can accuse someone of hating, stirring, attacking a person’s sincerity or religious convictions etc. over an opinion about one of their favorite artists. Even Daniel has been accused here of stirring etc. because he didn’t share the same opinion of an artist’s work or posted news concerning them. Imagine now if your means of a living and possible future in an industry was at stake.

        Now, I am not about to say this gives the anonymous person the right to hide behind a fake name and say bad things because they won’t be held accountable , that some things aren’t worth going out on a limb for if it comes to it, or that it would necessarily happen. However, I can understand someone not wanting to take the chance if they don’t have to. It sounds to me that this person wants it to be better and might even have concerns it will be no more if things aren’t changed but not feel free to talk to the powers that be or give their name. Nonetheless, if nothing else, this would be a good chance for the powers to be to see points brought up and the fans’ response to them. They have the right as the owners to choose whether or not to do them and truth be told there may be variables we aren’t privy to (prices, lack of money etc). I mean it is easy to be a Monday morning quarterback. Nonetheless, it brings up a dialog that I think could be useful. I am sure both sides want the NQC to succeed. They just have different ways of thinking that will make it happen. Ultimately the owners are the ones to make those choices and they too are the ones to suffer consequences if the path they choose is the wrong one.

      • P.s. but not the only ones to suffer (fans, groups etc.)

      • Disagree with you Robert, but I do agree with quartet man. If an artist is willing to put out a constructive blog, as this one did, he should not have to risk his position or his group’s position by putting his name out there. In this day and age, even in a Christian atmosphere, we are at risk when we make statements. I see nothing wrong with his remaining anonymous. My name is out there because I have nothing to lose. I’m not in a group. I’m just a concerned fan. I applaud him for taking the stand he did and bringing these comments out, which many have been saying out by the water cooler for a couple of years!

      • quartet-man: Besides, if this artist had submitted something negative, I wouldn’t have run it, anyhow! I believe that this was constructive.

        You make a good point: Especially in cases where an artist is not a group manager, that artist would be hesitant to say something which could reflect on the manager without appropriate authorization.

  44. Some of the comments I would agree with and some I don’t. You have to keep in mind that NQC is a business and the owners are promoters of Southern Gospel Music. Most promoters will listen to what the fans want and like but there is also a business aspect to promoting any concert whether it be the NQC or a 100 seat Church auditorium. You plan the program that you think will suit the majority of the those attending. We hear a lot of disgruntled people critizing NQC and their line up but when you look at those critizing they are the same group on every forum critizing NQC and other events. You never hear from the satisfied people. NQC is dealing with over 40,000 people that attend. You look at the number that has problems with the program and it’s a very small percentage of those who attend. We have attended NQC for several years and seen a lot of changes, sure there are some things I like better than others but all in all the Board of NQC puts together a very good program each year. Other big multi-day events have been mentioned. You go there and see the artist maybe a couple of hours they are in today and out today at NQC most of them stay the entire week and you have more opportunity to visit with the artist. I just say THANK YOU to NQC Board for having the NQC and as long as we are able we will continue to attend a few days of the Convention. What we don’t like we will be doing something else as there is a lot to do and see at NQC.

  45. Hey, some great conversations in here. I am part of a singing family ministry. We have been attending since 2006 and initially fell in love with it. We even won the talent contest one of those years. We have been a part of the regional artists event every year and have tried to promote our group by going by the guidelines incorporated by the board. I have been told and made clear that there is a progression that needs to be done in order to sing on the main stage. One thing I would like to see modified or changed is for groups like mine that have won the contest to have received a greater reward package and to be been taken on by a company or BIG group and promoted towards that main stage goal. We have fallen through the cracks year after year and find it harder and harder to fit in and excel with this event. I agree about the youth being our future and I have youth in my group. They can stand flat footed and sing with the best of them. Yet there is no progression like promised or illuded to. Winning the contest out of 47 – 52 groups was not anything to sneeze at. We worked hard and sang our hearts out only to get 1 song on the main stage that night at 6pm when the hall was practically empty and then the recording package was for 6 hours of studio recording time. If you have recorded before, you know that is not enough time to even get started on a good project. I think that if the board would serious take more of a look at finding the best way to promote regional artists and give them even more opportunities to progress and stay at that progression level. This would get some of the regional artists who dont attend anymore possibly back on board. there is s LOT of great talent coming from the regional artist room on a daily basis that week, And I know the fans would love them. As far as the main stage is concerned, I have been frustrated to see some of the same groups singing several times in one week, singing the same songs and it truly gets old especially when you are paying real good money to be there. I want to see ministry come back even more into this event. The compassion promotion in this needs to be focused on each other and the fans. It’s about Jesus anyways. I plan on attending NQC for a long time. I may not always agree with the way things are ran but I am a Southern Gospel lover and fan and will always be there and give my feedback when necessary.

  46. NQC is fine just the way it is. Keep up the good work.

  47. I and my friends that have attended NQC for MANY years (I since 1970) agree with what the artist had to say. WE WANT the FAN AWARDS BACK! I spoke with one of the NQC Directors in 2010 and he thought the awards WOULD be back at NQC in 2011. Didn’t happen.It HAS HURT NQC, not having them here, more than the economy has. I truthfully do not believe the economy has hurt NQC.
    It does seem that this years Fri-Sat crowd was smaller but I think it is because of the Fan Awards NOT being presented here.
    WE are the FANS, the followers. NQC should pay ATTENTION to us, too.
    I agree with everything else he said too.
    And, maybe turn DOWN the volume a bit on the music. The artist seem to be straining their voices to sing OVER the music.

    • NQC has said that the decision to move the Fan Awards away was not their choice.

      Also, the volume of the soundtracks is at least sometimes a group’s choice.

  48. I REALLY liked how they moved the groups on and off the stage this year,by the group leaving introducing the group coming on, for most night-except when Swanee went on and on on Friday night.

    • Me too.

  49. I will say that attending the SN FAN AWARDS for the past two years the production of the program is MUCH, MUCH BETTER than that of NQC. I’m sure SN is waiting of offers from both NQC and Dollywood to see what they feel is the best for Singing News. I personally like the Fan Awards at Dollywood better than NQC. Dollywood provides several gospel groups singing through out the day in several different venues and I’m sure the groups get paid to perform there. This year was one of the largest crowds of people that I’ve ever seen at Dollywood so I would guess that Dollywood will be trying awful hard to keep the awards there.

    • I might add that this is their kick-off for their month long Harvest & Southern Gospel Festival.

    • There is no doubt that money is a factor in moving the Fan Awards to Dollywood. The theatre at Dollywood certainly would not be comparable to the numbers of people that can see the Fan Awards at NQC. However, there are no extra dollars at NQC for seeing the awards. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that the artists ARE paid at Dollywood, and I also suspect that the SGMA gets a tidy kickback because the Awards are bringing more people into Dollywood. It is $75 per person to go to DW that one day to see the awards, if you can get a ticket to the Awards. Most people do not have the time nor the money to attend a week at the NQC and then go to DW a couple of weeks later. I also heard that the decision to move them was done by Singing News (after it was sold to Salem). The fans that supported these awards all these years are the fans who have supported NQC all these years, for the most part, and those fans are the ones who got left behind.

  50. We have attended for 24 straight years. Great seats on the floor second row. We have seen the quality of the event go downhill. I agree with most of the comments. It looks to me like the NQC is having trouble feeding the monster it created, ie Freedom Hall which costs plenty. Seems to me in an effort to cut costs, they reduced programming blaming seniors who want to get to bed early. In an effort to cut costs, they did the following: Quit at 11pm which eliminated at least three paid spots. Brought in Compassion for 14 minutes each time which reduced slots, in fact, no matter what you hear, Compassion has a budget for promotions and probably paid NQC for the slots. “Used” the afternoon regional winners to take up 4 slots each evening at no cost to the NQC. Wasted time with stupid videos. Add it all up and you see a saving of over 30 paid slots that the NQC never had to pay. The NQC is at a “tipping point” in cost to come vs. benefit. I predict that unless they have a better plan for next year, the attendannce will continue to go down.

  51. Just wondering:

    1. I don’t particularly care for the soloist at NQC. I appreciate them, but would like them in a showcase more than main stage.

    2. If the Statler’s, and Oak Ridge Boys appear on the Gaither videos, why don’t they make appearances at NQC? I would ask about Del McCrory, but suppose he is in quite the demand and simply doesn’t need our audience.

  52. Perhaps I missed the attendance records..
    what were they for each night? How many attended the afternoon webcast events?

  53. What the “artist we all know and love” should have done, and should still do, is to write or type his/her thoughts on paper and physically MAIL them to each member of the NQC Board of Directors BEFORE the next scheduled meeting…which is the last week of October. Posting an anonymous “Manifesto” on a blog page is not the best way to share his/her concerns and suggestions…since I’m probably the only Board member who will see it. It only serves is to “stir up” complaints and controversy, in a negative way, instead of taking a more positive approach. I’m honestly surprised that Daniel posted it.

    Personally, I never take an anonymous note very seriously…since the person writing it doesn’t have the conviction to put their name to their writing. Additionally, I don’t think a “Manifesto” can actually be anonymous. A Manifesto is a declaration of beliefs, convictions, and resolve. In the preceding list of comments, most posters use their actual names, when commenting. An author’s name gives credibility to what’s written, and must be taken seriously. Anonymity, regardless of the reasoning behind it, casts a shadow of incredulity on anything that’s written.

    Every member of the NQC Board of Directors wants the programming at the event to be the best it can possibly be. Anything less wouldn’t make any sense. Positive suggestions are ALWAYS appreciated and taken seriously, by the person typing this comment.

    By the way…Some of the “facts” written in the preceding “replies” are incorrect, but still good commentary overall… and very much appreciated.

    • Thank you for the insight. As I’ve also told you privately, I will keep this in mind the next time a similar situation arises, if it does, and be more reluctant to publish an anonymous post.

  54. Gerald, I won’t speak for others, but here is explaining me as a poster. I have been online for over 11 years. Back then one didn’t put a lot of personal info online and I still feel for me it is the best way to go. Even with this alias I was threatened by a wacko ex-con with a “personal visit” identity theft and emailing viruses because of my stance against homosexuality and possibly abortion as I spoke out against both. Although he was likely full of it, it stood to reinforce the wisdom of discretion as far as personal info. I have kept this alias for nearly 11 years and there are several who know who I am. Some of met me in person, others know my name, place of employment etc. So, my using this name isn’t because I lack backing up my beliefs or crediting them to my name at all. I just handle online a bit differently than locally. Besides, my name wouldn’t mean much except in addition to info I do put online, a means to track me down.

  55. P.S. I understand your point about stirring up, and yes the direct approach is often the best. However, at least in the comments I read, I don’t see a big, bad bunch of bashing going on. I will have to read them all, but what I see is discussion on what people do and don’t like which I would think would be valuable to you.

    P.S. If you want to know who I really am, I could send you a Pm. I have no objections to doing that. 🙂

    • That’s because I deleted all the big, bad bunch of bashing comments. (Nice alliteration going there!) 🙂

      • I did not know that that to be true, until you gave me a clue. (Nice use of assonance). 😉

      • 🙂

  56. Thank you Gerald!!!

  57. I could not agree more! Anonymous is right on. I decided to give the NQC one more year,(2012) and if there are not changes, my season tickets are gone. It is too expensive (tickets, motels, meals, and travel) to continue attending NQC and the existing format. Already in my mind, I have resolved to attend more concerts locally and enjoy the message in song.

  58. Gerald, as I indicated several entries above, I support the anonymity when someone is in a position to receive unpleasant or negative repercussions from his comments. It is unfortunate that this is the case, but is true. I also wrote to you, to Claude Hopper, and to Clarke Beasley regarding my feelings and thoughts about the recent changes in the NQC. Claude asked me to send them to him, and he would take them to the Board. Another well-known quartet manager asked me to send my comments to you, as well, and I did. The original artist poster to this blog made some really good points which has given fans an opportunity to respond. Many people don’t initiate their comments but will respond to an initial posting. I think that is what happened in this case. I am glad that Daniel is responsible enough to remove unkind or ugly comments, but I hope that he does not rule out anonymity when it is an individual whose career is on the line if he writes constructive criticisms.

    • Thanks Jeannie…you are always very kind, and I appreciate that very much…as I’ve told you in person. I do respectfully disagree with you about the value of anonymity. Anonymity is only useful and valuable to the writer…everyone else takes the risk or the “hit”…from the recipient of the criticism to the respondents who feel compelled to “pile on”. The “Anonymous Writer” throws out the red meat, and then sits back to read and smile, while human nature take its course.

      Next Sunday, ask your Pastor if he appreciates those anonymous notes he gets on Monday morning. Better yet…ask yourself if you would appreciate it as much as a personal, kind-worded, constructive conversation… similar to the one you and I shared in Louisville.

      • Gerald, we may have to agree to disagree on this point. My concern is an individual’s career if there is retaliation by either one or some of the members of his/her group, or retaliation by those who are in charge of the NQC. They may not like what was said — even if it is constructive criticism. It may step on some toes. When a member of a group speaks his mind, his group is impacted if they are not all in agreement. That is the only reason I would support anonymity under certain, specific situations. I never write anonymous notes to my pastor, and when a career is not involved, I don’t think it is a particularly good idea. I’m speaking strictly about constructive criticism and not bashing. Thank you for your response.

      • Gerald, I am not sure people are piling on so much here. They are sharing their opinions and in some ways this is similar to a survey. Now, I know people can be cowardly and mean. I am a church music director and even though I have been blessed and although I haven’t had notes per se, our reviews are in essence done by a committee and there people have things anonymously that was irritating. However, the big problem there was not knowing what they were talking about or being able to defend or explain myself. At least here there can be dialogue about it, so that isn’t so much a problem.

        I agree that anonymous notes like the pastor example (although I haven’t had any) are cowardly. Even so, they can on occasion make valid points even if they person who write them don’t want you to know who they are (say they are afraid of awkwardness or problems between them and the pastor). Where I think the bad comes in is if the person uses the anonymity to attack or say hurtful things because they think the person won’t know. The person might not know, but God does and that is the person I am concerned about pleasing. I don’t have to put my real name on something for accountability, I am accountable to a higher power.

        Besides as Jeannie said (and I think me before her), there could be group members to consider. Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine a member of Greater Vision spoke their minds on some issues that could get heated and affect your group and ministry.

      • *that were… 🙂

  59. Actually, we (all of us) are accountable to other people. The only things keeping this world from being perfect, are those of us who live here.

    • Well, yeah no one really has total autonomy, but ultimately God is the one we most need be concerned about (pleasing Him). As far as how it relates to people being accountable to others in taking stances, some people are in better positions to take more controversial stances than others.

  60. As a first year attendee of NQC and a webcast attendee last year 😀 I guess I may not have as much room to complain, so I won’t. Probably wouldn’t anyway. Did I have a couple issues? Sure, but we’ll get to that later.

    I loved the line up for the most part every night. I do agree some more younger/newer groups would be great. Everyone is always talking about the genre dying off with the old folks, well why not throw some of my 20 somethings crowd up there. Have we “earned” a spot, maybe not, but some of us haven’t even been given the chance. How about a young artists mainstage…thing. I’d personally LOVE to see the Browns and several other groups listed. I met a girl named Bethany Ellis, picked up her CD and was blown away by her vocal ability why not her. Another newer group that’s been around for awhile features someone who has more than paid her dues. I’m talking Deb Perry (Reed)(Libbi’s Sister) Her group Jaidyn’s Call would be a terrific addition, after all she has the name and was the Perrys before there was a Perrys. Just suggestions.

    Never saw the Fan Awards era, but sounds cool to me bring ‘er back.

    I enjoyed the freedom of being able to get up and go to the exhibit hall if one of my not so favorite artists was on stage, or one of those compassion ads came on, and I could still see the TV screens provided by some artists. That’s a plus.

    Speaking of the exhibit hall…could we possible get just a little more time to look around in there between showcases and concerts? Again just a thought what do I know? Oh and why is it necessary to have an evening ticket if I want to go buy product to me that’s turning away business. I had an issue with that as it was my parents and I for a retirement gift for dad. They had the tickets and we were separated and there was a whole big mess at the door (kinda funny looking back now).

    I had fun at NQC despite all of the whining I heard from some.In a span of a week I sang Collingsworth songs with Bryan Walker, rehashed fun stories with Jason Crabb, Ate Arby’s with Gerald Wolfe, Denny’s with the Stuffles, and promoted Stamps-Baxter with Ben Speer (BTW Register now for singing school!!! You won’t regret it.)

    I have only 2-3 MAJOR complaints and I’m not sure they have anything to do with NQC board. First the seating in Freedom Hall (the higher up seats not the floor). I’m a big guy, my dad is average sized maybe
    190lbs. He’s not very big. When he sat up top (luckily I was sitting with some friends with an empty seat on the floor) the arms of the chair bruised his sides they were such a tight squeeze. I understand this isn’t the boards problem, but it can drive some away if a venue isn’t found with adequate seating for folks of ALL sizes.

    Complaint 2…What’s up with the sound? Nuff said there.

    Finally my last issue is with the number of groups who packed up way too early. Can we contract some folks for the whole week or something and tell them the must remain at their tables until its finished or something, Maybe I just heard an AWESOME group like Greater Vision and I want to buy their product, but they’re nowhere to be found (hypothetical situation as I always saw Gerald at least somewhere close to the table).

    My biggest complaint it that it all had to end and I had to go home. I enjoyed myself, despite some of those issues, so much that I am in fact looking to get myself a booth for next year, and as Allison Speer told me get a demo, and get a job. 😀 But those are my thoughts and run on sentences on the whole she-bang with no anonymity. I had the most fun that week that I’ve had in my life and learned a lot from a lot of people. Love NQC and can’t wait to go back.

    • Logan, to answer one question you raise: Last I heard, exhibitor contracts already currently specify, in the signed contract, that groups will remain through the end of the day on Saturday.

      • Interesting…then how do some get by with just up and leaving (not to tell on anybody) but I notice some of the “Bigger names” packing it up on Thursday.

      • That question is above my pay grade! 🙂

        I’m told that NQC doesn’t crack down. After all, we’re talking about one of the most significant revenue streams for the event, here, and if NQC has to choose between getting paid the full fee and the group leaves early or not getting paid the fee at all, I guess I could see where they wouldn’t enforce too strictly!

      • Good point.

  61. Some very interesting comments have been posted on here.

    Daniel, I posted an idea on here earlier that I think got lost in the shuffle. Do you, or the artist in question, have a problem with folks copying the original post and sending it to NQC in an e-mail? I would simply paste it into an e-mail and indicate that I agree with it and would like to see the suggested changed implemented.

    • Sorry! I wouldn’t have a problem; however, I think it would be far more effective if you put it in your own words. At least three board members/shareholders read this on a regular or semi-regular basis, and some or all of them will have already seen this.

    • doesn’t matter how many times you send it to them. They will give you a stock letter that they typed up many months ago.

      • If you send them a stock letter, they’ll send a stock response. If you send them something different than what they’ve seen before, they have been known to do personalized responses.

  62. For what it is worth..After ten years of 6 day attendance at NQC. I totally agree the suggested changes in the blog narrative and have not been happy with the recent changes. While not happy, we still came every year….But, We are now no longer going to attend. With my cost now exceeding $1500 for the six days,plus the $300 to $500, I would spend on product….I have had it with the “talker’s”, the sing along folks, and the cell phone users during the acts. It has taken me 10 years to work up to the first few rows of the risers, but the incessant talking, singing along, and cell phone usage has finally put me over the top. Michael Booth did make a plea one time this year, but none of them paid any attention to him. Now I will pay the $69 and watch it at home on my home theater system with peace and quiet. I have enjoyed NQC, but the rudeness has finally taken its toll.