Saturday News Roundup #168

Worth Knowing

  • The Southern Gospel Music Association has announced the 2013 inductees to the Southern Gospel Hall of Fame. They are John T. Benson, Jr. (deceased), Thomas A. Dorsey (deceased), Polly Lewis Copsey, “Little” Roy Lewis, Duane Nicholson, and Tim Riley.

Worth Watching

What do children in a Southern Gospel group do as they spend hours upon hours on the road? Well, if you’re the children of the Mylon Hayes Family, you might just make a video about the funny things you see on the road!

Here’s a video of Michael Helwig in his (relatively) new role as Blackwood Brothers lead singer:

Diana Brantley, who took that video, has posted more videos and a concert review here.

Meanwhile, Ellen Gerig—the Diana Brantley of the West Coast—has posted a number of videos taken last weekend of Liberty Quartet, with Tim Parton filling in on baritone and piano.

A number of other videos from that concert are visible on her YouTube channel.

Finally, here’s a video of Robert Fulton singing tenor with Gold City (hat tip, Aaron).

Worth Discussing

It’s open thread Saturday—you decide!

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25 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. The Gaither Vocal band returned to Lancaster, PA on Friday night for their annual 4 concert weekend. As always, all four shows are SOLD OUT.
    It was an awesome and unbelievable night. My family had center orchestra third row seats; very close to the stage.
    Let me start by saying that several very strong bands of rain and wind storms moved through Lancaster during the evening. It all started just prior to the 7:30 PM concert. More on those storms in a moment
    During the pre-concert opening songs by guitarist Kevin Williams the stage lights started to surge on and off, obviously being affected by the storms. Despite the lighting concerns the GVB hit the stage singing One Voice, in the dark, as they always do. When the lights came on and they moved to the front of the stage for their next song the lights where they were standing would flicker on and off before finally going off completely. The GVB continued singing through the song; they still had power and the microphones worked. The problem was the stage was dark. By the end of the song the theater had turned on a house spotlight (very bright) which solved the problem. It was interesting to see how they did not let the situation affect them and they sang right through it.
    Several songs later there was a complete power outage and all lights and sound were lost. Wes Hampton was being featured when this happened, but he was near the end of his song. Emergency lights did come on throughout the theater, so everyone could see, though it was dim.
    After a few moments Bill took charge and called the guys up to the very front of the stage. He said “the show must go on” and they would just keep singing without power or a sound system. He called for Gene McDonald to come from the backstage area and “help him out”. I was excited to hear them sing without tracks or microphones! Right before they started the power came back on, so they took a few minutes to regroup and power he systems back up…..while Bill told a story or two. The bad storms had passed over Lancaster, power was restored and the GVB then proceeded to deliver the BEST concert I have ever seen them do (and I have seen them many times).
    I am not the kind of guy that can stop and write down songs or set lists; I really like to enjoy the music and comedy and the “total experience”.
    I will offer my random thoughts:
    1-The venue is excellent for concerts and shows, wide seats, plenty of legroom and cup holders on each seat. There is not a bad seat in the house.
    2-Bill is 75 years old but still going strong. He is the ringmaster, in total control. He did several solo parts and sounded like he always does. I do believe Gene McDonald was providing a bit of bass help on all songs (except when Bill had solo parts) from his seat to the side of the stage, out of site from the audience.
    2-Mark Lowry was limping and using a cane (swinging it wildly throughout the night) due to his recent broken leg. He provided some new comedy, sang wonderfully throughout the evening and of course nailed Mary Did You Know.
    3-The guys all encouraged each other and had each other’s backs.
    4-Though he does not talk or participate in the comedy, Matthew Holt did an amazing job and the crows let him know it.
    5-Michael English sang many, many songs and verses throughout the concerts. He did a great job. He obviously enjoys what he is doing. He does pick his spots to push it but can still deliver so much range and vocal strength.
    6-Wes Hampton and David Phelps are obviously the strongest singers in the group and they complement each other very well. Wes had several features and also harmonized brilliantly.
    7-All of the guys purposefully connected with the audience, making eye contact and smiling. The crow was really, really into it and the GVB worked VERY hard last night. This was impressive considering they have two shows on Saturday and another on Sunday afternoon. The concert lasted 2 hours and 15 minutes, with a 15 minute intermission. Bill is known for giving you your money’s worth at his live events.
    8-David Phelps was in EXCELLENT form and was highlighted on several new and older songs. He was relaxed, having fun and really AMAZING.
    9-They sang I Pledge My Allegiance to the Grand Ole Flag as their third song, mentioning the Boston bombing. The crows stood and gave one of many standing ovations during the concert.
    10-My highlights were when they closed the first half with I Believe in a Hill Called Mt Calvary, and when they ended the show with The King is Coming. (Actually the last song was Holy Highway)

    Please respond with your questions about the concert or particular songs.

    • Great review! Thanks!

      I had to laugh on #4, though – the crows let Matthew know that he did a good job? 😮 🙂

      • Though i meant to say “crowd” there probably were a few old crows in the building!

      • I knew that was what you meant. 🙂

  2. The Mylon Hayes family will be at my Church in the morning , looking forward to hearing them for the first time . Also enjoyed Guys review, hope to get to see GVB live one day! Saw Phelps several years ago when he was solo ( which he was amazong) but haven’t had the opportunity to see the entire lineup !

    • Followup: (First off contrary to my last post, I can spell amazing! HA) The Mylon Hayes family performed at my home Church yesterday morning. I just wanted to say I thought they were wonderful. The parents, two 14 year old twins and a powerhouse 10 year old. The little girl Kennedy, stole hearts, with her voice and piano playing. This family has excellent chemistry, and a wonderful blend.

      Kennedy the 10 year old, will be a name that will be known in this genre for years and years, if she stays with it. Already has a great stage presence at that age, great eye contact and just a great voice to be so small. Matter of fact they all had great voices. One thing and I told the Mom after the concert , was, they had their sound set just wonderfully (Even for the older crowd) ha ha… No overbearing music, no overbearing vocals, just a smooth listening experience that I thoroughly enjoyed.H

      He Loves Me was their last song of the day, acapella, , and it was superb! Every vocal was smooth, and the blend was outstanding.

      One of the best parts of the day was the children each stepping out to the front of the stage and reciting Bible passages. You could tell as each were saying the words they were passionate about what they spoke. That is what it is all about … Great day, great group…

      • They are a great group! I think very highly of them. And yes, all three children are talented communicators and singers, and Kennedy certainly does have a strong and unforgettable stage presence. 🙂

  3. Wonderful review. Bill Gaither is 77 and it’s great to hear of his still great capabilities as a bass singer. Also great to hear about Gene’s contribution, perhaps Bill should make the GVB a 6 member group, now that would be interesting 🙂

  4. Note: Gene did join the GVB on stage for several songs and 2 solo numbers to start the second half. I beleive he was also adding a bit of bass from behind the scenes, but Bill surely still holds his own.

  5. I am so happy to learn that the SGMA will be recognizing Polly Lewis Copsey this year for her contributions to gospel music. She was such a great singer and emcee during her days with the Lewis Family. My only regret is that this honor wasn’t bestowed on her years ago when she was in good health and could have enjoyed the ceremony. She was one of the nicest people to ever grace a stage.

  6. How did Thomas Dorsey make it to 2013 without being in the Hall of Fame?! A good class overall though.

    • I would venture to guess that it would be because, at least for the most part, he was not involved directly in the genre. His influence has been more indirect, through his songs. If he had been primarily a Southern Gospel songwriter, I would have expected to see him inducted before this time.

  7. Words can’t express how thrilled I am that Tim Riley will be inducted while he is still in good health and can enjoy it. There is SO much more to this man than just Gold City. I would encourage folks to google him and study up on his life, career, and accomplishments. Congrats Tim!

  8. Another video worth watching is this comedy segment by Lowry. Those who had the chance of watching the Tracey Stuffle benefit concert will remember this.

  9. There is no better bass singer on the road today than Time Riley. He is so deserving of this and I for 1 am THRILLED!! Let me also say that the Tim Parton video lets me know just how talented he is, because I was focused on him and his playing the whole time despite all of the “silliness” going on around him. Great job Tim!!

    • Can you take me to the “Time”? 😉 Seriously, I think Tim is the best on the road too. He, Younce and Sterban are my three favorites. You aren’t so bad either. 😉

    • Pat,
      So nice to see another bass singer jump on here in support of Tim Riley. Tim has always been the most consistent bass singer out there…strong notes each and every night…one day he will retire and several of us will look for a new current favorite…but Tim’s contributions will always be remembered!

      One night when Gold City and the Stamps were singing on the Grand Old Opry stage JD whispered to Tim…”I wish I had your cut”…

      Tim is a great man as well!

      • I thought Tim had a toupee. 😉 Seriously, it is cool to hear things like that. J.D. had the low notes that others didn’t, he did contribute a lot too. It is hard to imagine Tim having his own voice.cut, and quality, and J.D.’s additional low notes. My word, that would really be freaky. 🙂

    • Mr Barker is one I enjoy seeing perform, he seems as though he enjoys every single second he is on stage. Sad to say some performers seem like they are robotic, or are waiting on the song to end… Mr Barker, has a look of excitement of the words he is singing, and even when say Mr Trammell steps out into a solo watch Barker behind him, face lit up like a kid at Christmas! That folks is enjoying what you do and more importantly who you are doing it for!!

      • One thing is for certain, Pat Barker is going to enjoy the concert. He does bring a certain excitement to the stage. Most of us would love to have a job we enjoy as much. Too often I see quartet members who appear to have eaten something that did not agree with them…

  10. Very kind words. Thank you so much!! Great to see you the other night Daniel. Thanks for making the trip!!

    • Great seeing you, too – glad I made the trip!

  11. Hey Everyone! Check out Legacy Five’s new post on their blog! Many of you know that Gus Gasches normally writes on the blogs, but this time Scott Fowler wrote a guest blog, and it is pretty stirring what he writes.

  12. Daniel, I want to thank you for doing such a great job as editor of

    Even more than your top-notch news reporting, I enjoy reading the commentary pieces you’ve posted throughout the years. Such great topics that make us think, and the topics are timeless!

    The reason I’m saying this is because I was going through the archives looking for a commentary piece about personnel changes. While I haven’t found the one article that I was looking for, through my searching I’ve already come upon ten other commentary posts from as far back as December 2006 that piqued my interest, and are still relevant today.

    Once again, thank you!

    • Josh,

      Wow! Thank you. I’m honored by the kind words! Thank you for all the contributions in the comments, and for all the tips (like the one you just found about Glenn Dustin!)