NQC 2012, Day 2: Live Blog

Moment of the Night

About halfway through the evening, there was a ten-minute preview of tomorrow’s hymns and hymn stories showcase. After a video telling William Cowper’s story, a ladies’ trio of Kim Hopper, TaRanda Greene, and Kim Collingsworth sang “There is a Fountain”; Kim Collingsworth played piano.

TaRanda Greene and Kim Hopper are recognized as the genre’s two strongest soprano vocalists. Kim Collingsworth’s rich contralto provided a strong counterpoint. The only reason she isn’t recognized as one of our genre’s strongest altos is because her piano solos can overshadow her vocal solos.

Was it a perfect rendition? No, it wasn’t. But its beauty lay in those very imperfections, those spontaneous improvisations. There were points where TaRanda Greene or Kim Hopper would take the lead on a little vocal run, and the others would improvise around it—including even a vocal answer-back part at one point!

When you put together three voices that strong singing trio harmonies, it is sure to be vocal dynamite—either in a good way or a bad way. This combination was definitely vocal dynamite in a good way.


Greater Vision. Greater Vision had the often unenviable position of closing out the evening’s program. But they rose to the occasion. Their set was preceded by the “That’s My King” sermon clip and video. It’s sometimes awkward to transition out of that clip, but NQC producer Phil Brower had a wise suggestion—transitioning from the clip into “Champion of Love.” The transition worked perfectly.

They picked up the pace with their next song, “He’d Still Been God,” before Chris Allman raised the roof with “I Know a Man Who Can.” They transitioned into another uptempo song, “He Didn’t When He Could Have Passed By,” before closing their set with their “In Times Like These/Jesus is Coming Again” medley.

Brian Free & Assurance. Of all the new radio singles debuted on the mainstage this week, “I Wanna Be That Man” is the strongest so far. Brian set the song up perfectly by discussing how deeply the song moved him before he even realized that his son co-wrote it with Lee Black.  They sang it with conviction and passion.

Bowlings.  After two opening songs that were well-done, the set moved into “highlight moment” category on song three, “Your Cries Have Awoken the Master. Kelly Crabb Bowling introduced it by testifying to the healing God had brought to their family since their July 2010 bus crash. Mike Bowling delivered a passionate encore. They closed their set with “I Still Glory in the Cross,” another strong performance.

Mark Trammell Quartet. Though they’re probably saving some of their most special moments—paying tribute to departing member Dustin Sweatman—till later in the week, it was still, vocally, the strongest moment of the first two hours or so of the program. They started with three songs from their new Lifetime project (reviewed here), “I Sing the Mighty Power of God,” “‘Tis So Sweet,” and “A Wonderful Time Up There.”

Then, Mark requested prayers for Clarke Beasley, Executive Vice President of the National Quartet Convention, and had the audience send their well wishes via the webcast. After introducing his grand-daughter Tessa, and recognizing the veterans in the audience, he closed the set with “Statue of Liberty.” It received the strongest response of the night, so far.

During the set, Nick Trammell sang lead, and outgoing lead singer/pianist Dustin Sweatman played piano.

Live Blog

10:03: Greater Vision. For the last several years, a video featuring a sermon clip about Jesus, titled “That’s My King,” has been played a number of times between sets.  This time, though, it did more than just fill time; it set up Greater Vision’s first song, “Champion of Love.”

They picked up the pace with their second song, “He’d Still Been God.” Then Chris Allman delivered an incredibly strong performance of “I Know a Man Who Can.” They closed with an uptempo song, “He Didn’t When He Could Have Passed By.”

9:51: At this point in the night, 981 people are signed into the NQC live chat. That’s not necessarily everyone who is watching the live stream, either, since some are logged into a separate Facebook chat. It appears that at least half of the seats in the auditorium (which seats about 19,000) are empty. This means that the live stream audience is probably at least 10% of the total audience watching tonight—and it may well be 25%.

9:41: Gold City. They started off featuring Jerry Pelfrey on “I’ve Got an Anchor.” Danny Riley stepped forward for “It Won’t Be Long.” Tenor Dan Keeton was up third, with “God’s Building a Church.” It is a good pick for his voice type. Jerry Pelfrey turned in a strong vocal performance on “Lord of Life.” Probably pretty much everyone was waiting to see Tim Riley step forward and shine; they got their wish at the end of the set, when Gold City closed with “When He Blessed My Soul.”

9:20: Triumphant Quartet. They began their set by singing “Sweet, Sweet Spirit” acapella around one microphone. It was a perfect transition from the high energy of Brian Free & Assurance’s set-closer, “Long As I Got King Jesus.” Then they picked up the pace with “Saved By Grace.” David Sutton and Jeff Stice did their harmonica/piano duet on “Goodbye, World, Goodbye.” They closed with “Let’s All Stand For America.” This set didn’t have any huge, breakout moment, but it was very well paced and well received.

8:48: A showcase featuring hymns and their stories is tomorrow. To promote the showcase, several groups sang hymns. Greater Vision and Sisters sang “All Creatures of Our God and King” together. Kim Hopper, TaRanda Greene, and Kim Collingsworth sang  “There Is a Fountain.”

8:32: The Browders. They sang “The Message Of the Cross” and “Land of No Goodbyes.”

8:22: Clayton Inman led the audience in a sing-a-long of “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”

8:03: Primitive Quartet. They sang “I Don’t Have to See the Tomb,” “When He Beckons Me Home to Stay,” “This Old Wreck of Mine,” “Let Me Be More Like You,” and “He Included Me.” (guesses at titles). They closed with a salute to the trips.

7:58: Sisters. They sang one acapella song, “Come On, Let’s Go To That Land.”

7:40: Jason Crabb. He started his program with “When He Was On the Cross (I Was On His Mind).” He introduced a medley of “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” “Meeting in the Air,” and “I’ll Fly Away” by saying that if he ever pastored a church, this would be the sort of music they would sing. He then told his live band that he was going to switch up his program, and started playing “Sometimes I Cry.” He wrapped up his set with a strong performance of “I’d Rather Have Jesus.”

6:35, Dixie Melody Boys: The Dixie Melody Boys started their set with “Go To the Well” and “Oh, What a Savior.” When introducing their third song, tenor Matt Felts asked the audience how many of them remember when God had the Israelites put the blood over their mantles. I didn’t see any hands over the live feed—but then, Ray Dean Reese might not have been in the room. Aside from that unintentionally funny moment, it was a touching moment in a story he used to introduce “God Will Hear Your Prayer.”

Jason Crabb made a guest appearance on that song. He’s a vocal hero to DMB lead singer Mike Rogers, and it was cool to watch Rogers’ face light up brighter than a Christmas tree in that moment!

Their set closed with “Jesus in My Boat.”

6:33: Jeff Easter is telling road stories. Either this wasn’t announced, or they need to fill some of the open time left by Naomi Sego’s cancellation or the program’s overall running early.

6:22, Sneed Family: Unnanounced on the schedule: The Jeff Sneed Family. They have a live drummer and piano player. Their drummer’s looks almost as young as Jeff & Sheri’s drummer. Their first song was “Victory is Sweet.” On the live feed chat, the NQC Staff stated that the Naomi & the Segos set feel through at the last minute, and the Sneed Family was given their slot.

Jeff Sneed announces Naomi Sego’s absence in the classiest way possible—while dedicating the second song of their set, “Hallelujah Square,” to her. The young lady with the solo seems to have been significantly influenced by Kim Hopper. Corey Pearson of the Diplomats also filled in here.

6:21: NQC Producer Phil Brower recites the Gettysburg address. 

6:01: Jeff & Sheri Easter set: “Anything But Happy,” “Like My Mother Does,” “A Good Old Gospel Song,” “Hear My Heart,” “I Get To.” Whoever wrote “Like My Mother Does,” it’s a perfect autobiographical song for daughter Morgan. The drummer is 14-year-old Landon Smith. Corey Pearson of the Diplomats was filling in on bass guitar. They had a 14-year-old drummer, Landon Smith. He’s not just a good drummer for his age—he’s a good drummer, period.

6:14: Any guesses as to the percentage of sets today that will incorporate a patriotic song? There are twelve full mainstage sets, and I’ll guess 5 of 12.

6:01: Mike Speck introduces “Sheff and Jerry” Easter, and quickly corrects himself. He turns it into a joke, a great move, and Jeff Easter does a similarly strong job playing along. The mark of a true stage professional is not that he never makes mistakes—everyone makes mistakes. The mark of a professional is ability to recover from an embarrassing moment, and Speck hit the curveball out of the park.

5:48, Opening Ceremonies: Things are under way! After Tim Lovelace finished his fan camera segment, Mike Speck led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, the “Star-Spangled Banner,” and a salute to each branch of the armed forces. He did something unusual, calling on servicemen and women, their spouses, and their children to stand.

Is there any contest that, all issues of pride in a branch aside, the Marines have the best branch song?

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52 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. Any guesses as to the percentage of sets today that will incorporate a patriotic song? There are twelve full mainstage sets, and I’ll guess 5 of 12.

  2. Hope it gets better with the MTQ. Can’t wait for the Bowlings and then Jason. It’s been a rough start vocally.

    • It’s solid now, that’s for sure!

  3. Absolutely agree!

  4. Any thoughts about the ribbon boards at Freedom Hall saying just “Trammell Quartet”?

    • They often abbreviate names.

      • OK thanks. I’ve thought about a name change since Nick joined, that’s why I asked. Would make sense to me.

      • Since they just changed their name from Mark Trammell Trio to Mark Trammell Quartet, it’s probably too soon and too confusing to change it this soon. Mike Bowling called them the “Mark Trammell Trio” just a couple of minutes ago!

      • Yes I caught that!

      • That is funny because I dont think anyone has had more group name changes than mike bowling. Have they yet released two consecutive recordings under the same name…? lol

      • I think they’ve been steady for the last 4-6 years.e

  5. Comment

  6. Daniel the song that the Sneed family sang is “Victory is Sweet” recorded by the Singing Cooks as well as The McKamey’s on their “Sing Praises” album. (=

    • Thanks! Don’t think I have either album yet.

      • Both were released in the late 80’s like I think ’88 I don’t have them either, but my grandma had a cassette of “Sing Praises” because that’s the album that had “Under His Feet” on it, but as for the singing Cooks I only know that they recorded it at one time.

      • OK!

      • Actually, the McKameys’ version is on their ’82 release, By Faith. However, I’d say the Cookes version is the best of the three most popular (McKameys, Cookes, & Inspirations).

        Speaking of the Inspirations, Daniel, do you know why they decided not to appear at all? I have an idea, but I didn’t want someone to take my thoughts and run with it…creating a rumor.

  7. Which group is Christian Davis with? (referring to your mention on last nights post)

    • He’s currently with bluegrass mega-group Dailey & Vincent.

      • Ah, OK. He used to be with Old Time Gospel Hour Qt, right?

      • Yes, and then Mercy’s Mark!

  8. I’m a little late with this comment, but I was driving and couldn’t respond before now!! I’m pretty sure that the drummer for Jeff & Shari is the brother of Logan Smith – the young man that sings like Vestal.

    • With that last name and the reddish hair, I had been wondering!

      • Theres video on YouTube from when Logan and the Eastevrs used to do concerts together, and Landon played drums. He was 12 in 2010, so it must be him

      • Cool!

    • I wonder what’s happened to J&S’s regular drummer, Kyle…

  9. Singing Cookes recorded “Victory Is Sweet” in the very early 80s, I think. I’m not a huge fan of that group, but this song was made for Mrs. Cooke and I’ve never heard anybody even touch their version.

    The Inspirations also recorded the song. They didn’t build up to the chorus like the Cookes did and their rendition suffered for it.

  10. To be fair, I have never hear the Snead Family’s version.

    I’ve also made the “Sheff & Jerry” mistake. More than once…lol.

    • I haven’t … but now that I say that, I probably will before too long. 🙂

  11. Daniel, totally agree with “Moment of the Night,” so far. Just awesome!

    • Frustratingly, my feed cut out toward the beginning of the song. That is DEFINITELY one song I’ll go back into the archives and re-play!

  12. You don’t have the Taranda/Kim/Kim trio listed as one of the highlights???

    • Scroll up to the very top of the post. I bumped it above the regular highlights section. I’ve already selected it as the moment of the night.

    • I see it now…never mind!

  13. Is Naomi Sego ok? Why did they cancel their set?

  14. Stacy, I was wondering the same thing about Naomi. I hope she is ok I was looking forward to seeing her.

  15. Slightly off topic but do you know if the site in 2014 will be one flat floor with no risers? That has been posted on at least two other sites. Do you know the capacity? I’ve read between 12,000 and 16,000. If true, I don’t think I’d want to be in the 100th or so row.

    • Floor plans look like it is one flat floor. Whether they bring in some sort of risers system remains to be seen.

  16. Stacy
    Naomi is very ill and has been in and out of the hospital over the last month. Up until three days ago she was still planning on being at NQC. Please keep her in your prayers.

    Jonathan Goodwin
    Manager & Producer for Naomi & the Segos

    • Jonathan, thanks for the update!

    • Beloved, please let me known how Sister Naomi is doing she is very dear unto my heart! I pray daily for her I am friends with her on FaceBook, but I do not see to much about her as I check daily.
      God Bless ! Thank You, Barbara Cook

      Father I pray Your never ending blessings and strength upon Naomi Father I call her completely healed and recovered for Thy glory; Father she has always been Your faithful child, give her comfort, peace and rest in Jesus Christ name Thy will be done. Amen.

      • Sorry, I’ve not heard any word.

  17. Was a blessing to see the McKameys dress appropiatly for the NQC. Others…well I wont badmouth but let you decide

    • Wow…the issue of dress is still a topic??

      • Yes. I have actually deleted quite a few complaints. This one was phrased in an acceptable enough way that I could approve it.

    • And a whole bumch more that just hadn’t commented … I appreciate people (men or women) who respect the audience enough to dress fashionably bit not distractive. Ive always heard dress to be admired…not desired.

      • I have to be honest…i have seen pictures posted on some of the other blogger’s sites and I am having a hard time finding much that was highly objectionable….

    • I would question the taste of a few (a minority) of the artists I’ve seen this week, but I have yet to see anything that would be characterized as immodest.

  18. Sure hate that the Inspirations are not at the convention. They have been such a mainstay and the group is so fantastic now. Really enjoyed them on gospel greats radio show this past weekend.

  19. I have to say it is nice to see the quartets that are dressed in suits and the Mckameys are always consistent in their apprearance which is admirable. And I thought the Sisters last night were dressed modern but modest at the same time. It is possible to be both.

  20. Grasshopper,

    I guess it all has to do with how you interpret the word modesty. I happen to believe you may not initially be able to tell a Christian by how they are dressed but you can certainly tell someone is not a Christian by the way they are dressed.