NQC Posts 2009 Schedule

The National Quartet Convention has posted their 2009 schedule here. [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link is broken and has been removed.] I’m delighted to see that four of the groups I named in this post as deserving to be on the mainstage made it on, including my # 1, 2, and 4. [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link is broken and has been removed.]

Worth noting:

  • The Blackwood Brothers are on the Monday schedule.
  • The Chuck Wagon Gang is back, on Tuesday. (I seem to think the Roarks might also be new.)
  • The Collingsworth Family is on on Wednesday and Saturday, which I guess means they’ll be staying for the week.
  • Ricky Atkinson & Compassion is on on Thursday. If they’ve managed to keep Gene McDonald at bass (no word from that camp lately) that will be one set definitely worth catching.
  • The Couriers are on the Friday schedule. I’m thinking this might mean the current group (which, oddly enough, seems to be a duo, at least for now), but it would be interesting if it was Dave, Duane, and Neil.
  • The Gaither Vocal Band and Signature Sound are back, on Friday.
  • The Diplomats have a set on Friday evening.
  • The Hunters are added to the Saturday schedule. Was this the group that did a highly praised morning devotions hour with the Hoppers a few years back?

The bigger news is often who’s not there. No Mike & Kelly Bowling, Crabb Revival, Ball Brothers, Crossway, Browns, or Imperials. The Dixie Melody Boys are still there, but are cut to one set (perhaps till they establish a more predictable lineup.) It seems as though the NQC is generally taking a more traditional slant this year, and that’s quite fine by me. Perhaps they’ve found out that’s what the fans want.

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78 Letters to the Editor

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  1. I’m glad to see them go back to the traditional male quartet Monday night. NQC was established as a Quartet Convention and they had kept the Monday night tradition until last year. Unless I missed it the only solist are Ivan Parker and Janet Paschal. Mark Lowery is there with Lordsong.

  2. Glad to see these groups on the main stage!

  3. Few more things worth noting:

    What merits Tribute Quartet or the Collingsworth Family to receive 2 nights over the ONE night that very legendary names like the Kingsmen, Chuck Wagon Gang, and Blackwood Brothers? Or better yet, the ZERO slots by the Melody Boys, Weatherfords, and Toney Brothers?

    Another performance slot by Phil Cross and friends would be very nice. That was quite a hit last year.

    What has made the Pfeifers so huge that they earn 3 nights? In addition, they do 3 songs in 20 minutes. Maybe 2 nights would make them spend their time a little wiser.

    Why can’t the Dixie Echoes get a 3 night convention? They were obviously one of the most talked about groups last year.

    For that matter, 3 nights by Karen Peck and New River would be quite deserved. They have had what…3 #1 hits in a row, and 2 straight years at the Grammys.

    At the same time, it’s great to see the Diplomats get a long over due slot on the stage. And it’s great to see that the Blackwood Brothers and Chuck Wagon Gang have at least one set during the week. They should have been there last year.

    Kinda surprising (well, in one way…not in another way) to see the Inspirations and the McKameys both cut to 2 nights this year.

    What it all comes down to is that there is a lot of money and politics that powers the mainstage slots at NQC, and that’s the way it always will be. Oh well….

  4. What do you all think about having only quartets on the Main Stage and trios, duets, and soloists on showcases? After all, it is called the QUARTET CONVENTION. Just a question to spark discussion.

    • Amen, Paul! My sentiments exactly. I’m 100% for it. If not, then change the name from National Quartet Convention to National Southern Gospel Music Convention, or some such. What Daniel says in Comment #9 might happen and that would be fine.

  5. Another group whose name I didn’t see – Southern Sound. Thay have one of the purest sounds of any group on the road.

  6. #5 – All I can say is “Greater Vison.”

    They’re the best! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I’ve never even heard of The Hunters…

  8. #5 – That would be interesting.

    You know, in fact, it could be a brilliant move. Because then maybe Greater Vision and the Mark Trammell Trio would bring on a bass for that one day. And just imagine Greater Vision with Glenn Dustin, or the Mark Trammell Trio with Joe Brown or Pat Barker. Those would be moments to remember!

  9. I see Dixie Melody Boys are on the main stage on Monday and Saturday Evening.


  10. 9. That would be something Daniel, The MTT would sound great with Pat Barker no doubt. ๐Ÿ™‚ And we know what Glenn sounds like with GV, They have a really good blend.

  11. In fact, (*don’t shoot me for heresy*), I think Glenn blends even better with GV than with L5!

  12. It is pretty close, I love Glenn with L5 but you may be right ๐Ÿ™‚ What amazes me is the fact that he has been with Legacy Five for almost ten years, that kind of loyalty to one group is hard to find these days. Same said for Scott Howard

  13. Since the Blackwood Brothers were “resurrected” by Jimmy Blackwood (after Cecil Blackwood’s death in 2000), the personnel has not seen any changes.

  14. Saw Joe Brown sing with MTT last week and he gave them a pretty doggone good sound.

  15. You need to look again the Dixie Melody boys are on 2 nights Monday and Saturday.

  16. #15 – That would have been neat!

    #14 – Yes and no. Four of the original 5 are still with them. I believe Mark Blackwood was with them for a brief period after the name change before leaving to resurrect Blackwood Gospel Quartet. But the pianist (Brad White) started doing double duty at baritone, so all four of the people with them now were with them when the group came back.

  17. Congratulations to the groups on the Main stage schedule.

    However, it truly breaks my heart that The Melody Boys Quartet, Weatherfords and Southern Sound are not on the schedule. It also defies explanation in my mind.

  18. #17 – Yes, that is what I meant.

  19. I hope to bring the Blackwood Bros. in to do a concert.

  20. #5 Personally I would love to see a QUARTET Convention. Showcases would have to be held in Freedom Hall to accomodate all the fans though.

    Why have the Kingsmen fallen from grace with the Board?

    Why has there never been a Hinson’s Reunion at NQC? There are plenty of members available, most of whom already attend each year.

  21. Anyone know who is on the current NQC board of directors?

  22. I too would love to see a Hinson Reunion!

  23. The question was asked why the Pfeiffers (sp) get so many nights. I believe John is on the Board and those on the board get three nights. I agree they only need one or two. I would like to see Southern Sound and eliminate the soloists even though they (the soloists ) are fine in their own right. I am one of those who believe a Quartets only convention would be great. There are many quartes of quality who never get to sing on the main stage because they don’t have the connections to help them get there.

  24. #22 – I believe the list includes:

    Steve French
    Les Beasley
    Stewart Varnado
    Claude Hopper

    I believe the following are either on the board or the advisory board:

    Scott Fowler
    Mark Trammell
    Gerald Wolfe

  25. My list is not complete – those are the only ones I know of (and that come to mind).

  26. Thanks for the help, Daniel!

  27. You’re welcome!

  28. Actually I don’t know if Stewart is actually on the board or not.

  29. You may be right. His tag at NQC said “owner,” not “board,” if I recall right. But as part owner, he does have some influence.

  30. #14 – I don’t mean to sound harsh, but hardly any of what you posted was correct. Jimmy Blackwood didn’t “resurrect” anything and the lineup has changed.

    #17 – Also incorrect. Actually, none of the originals are with the current group and the rest of your post is mostly correct.

    Allow me to clear this up. First, Mark Blackwood started the group in 2000, not Jimmy. Second, it was started as the Blackwood Gospel Quartet. None of the current members in the Blackwood Brothers Quartet were in the original group. When Mark hired those guys the group name was still Blackwood Gospel Quartet.

    Approximately 3, maybe 4 years ago (the exact date escapes me at the moment, but either 2004 or 2005) the name of the group was changed from Blackwood Gospel Quartet to Blackwood Brothers Quartet.

    Shortly following this change (possibly a year) Mark Blackwood left the group to start a separate one that would take on the name of the original, Blackwood Gospel Quartet.

    So you see, the current Blackwood Brothers Quartet has only been without a personnel change for 3 years, 4 at max. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a good record now a days. However, you can see that it would be just plain false to state that the current Blackwood Brothers have been without a personnel change since 2000.

    I’m assuming you just didn’t know, but now you do.

    Daniel, you can follow this link to verify your post about Mark being in the group in 2005.

  31. David Mann, I did not state that the current Blackwood Bros. were without a personnel change since 2000…I state that Cecil passed away in 2000 (and that the Blackwood Bros. were “reorganized after that, but necessarily in 2000). OK? The personnel change topic I refered to was assuming people knew that I meant Jimmy, Brad, Wayne, and Randy. Sorry.

  32. I have followed Mark’s group closely and even have had them in for concerts 4 or 5 times at my church. I meant no disrespect.

  33. All four of the current members of the Blackwood Brothers were in the group back when Jimmy was able to secure licensing to bring the name back. The name was brought back shortly before I started following SG, so I’m thinking it would have been 2004.

    As David stated, they also had one more member, baritone Mark Blackwood, and as he stated, Mark left to bring back the Blackwood Gospel name after a couple of months.

    Both groups are excellent groups and have some of the best vocalists out there. Randy Byrd is one of my personal favorite bass singers – not the lowest ever, but an excellent tone / placement, and after seeing a couple clips of David online, he’s a pretty solid singer himself. ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. Let me make corrections for my typos in my previous post…

    David Mann, I did not state that the current Blackwood Bros. were without a personnel change since 2000โ€ฆI state that Cecil passed away in 2000 (and that the Blackwood Bros. were โ€œreorganized” after that, but not necessarily in 2000). OK? The personnel change topic I referred to was assuming people knew that I meant Jimmy, Brad, Wayne, and Randy. Sorry.

  35. i am pretty sure that the nqc owners/board consists of, at least:
    Les Beasley
    Claude Hopper
    Gerald Wolfe
    Steve French
    Don Shumate
    Michael Burke
    Mark Trammell
    Scott Fowler
    Stewart Varnado

  36. Sorry for the misunderstanding Paul. I was just simply responding to what you had posted. I was unaware that you thought all of the readers would assume you were saying something other than what it appeared you were saying.

    So again, I apologize.

    Still, the Blackwood Brothers were never “resurrected” (as you stated in comment #14) they simply are using the name that James Blackwood retired before he passed away. And Jimmy Blackwood wasn’t the man who started the group (as you also stated in comment #14) it was Mark Blackwood. And I only made clear the year, which Daniel has mentioned to most likely be 2004, because in your comment – that was clearly meant to notice the length of the non-changing personnel – the only date mentioned was 2000. What I’m saying is that most people wouldn’t have assumed you meant 4 or 5 years later. That’s all.

    No harm done though, Paul. Just wanted to clear up a couple of those misunderstandings. Have a great day.

  37. #36 – I think some of those are on the advisory board, not the main board, unless they’ve been moved up without public announcement.

  38. I find it interesting that posts centered around the Blackwood Name are the posts that get the most comments. A side not, I am not sure that Mark Blackwood would have been part of “bringing back” the Blackwood Bros. name if it have had not been for the involvement of Jimmy. Any other thoughts on that?

  39. Paul, I’ve heard fairly detailed accounts of the story from … how should I put it? … people with different perspectives on the story.

    As I understand, Mark started the group, and brought Randy Byrd and Wayne Little on board. I believe that when Jimmy joined (and, I think, brought Brad White with him), it was still the Blackwood Gospel Quartet, and that Jimmy was the one to secure the licensing to the Blackwood Brothers name from the person who currently handles it.

  40. I may be misreading, but I cannot believe that the Mighty Kingsmen are only scheduled to sing on Monday. If I was them, I’d head out as soon as I sang on Monday. That is a slap in the face to a group that is still very popular!

  41. Daniel (#40), that is what I was told by those in the quartet. I was actually informed that not all of the members were in favor of bringing back the name “Blackwood Bros.” That may be why the current group is not the same as the original 2005 group.
    As for the “resurrection” of the Bros., the Original Blackwood Bros. stopped singing when Cecil died in 2000, and the name/group was retired until it was “resurrected” in 2005. It was not in existence during that time.
    For a short time Ron and RW might have called themselves the Blackwod Bros., but it was till Jimmy secured the name that the name was officially used again…according to what I had been told in 2005.

  42. I agree CML #41

  43. Maybe I am using an incorrect term when I say “resurrected.” Maybe I should simply say. Brought back out of retirement. Is that better?

  44. NQC has now posted the Featured Showcases schedules.

    Mike & Kelly, Freemans, Crabb Revival, Southern Sound, and Aaron & Amanda Crabb are all on paid showcases this year.

    I still don’t know who the Hunters are – and not only are they on Saturday night mainstage – they’re also on a Saturday showcase. I’m really confused as to why a group who I’ve never heard (and trust me, I’ve heard of a LOT of groups) and who has never charted a single song on any of the charts can get a spot on NQC Mainstage AND a paid showcase…

  45. Just wanted to add that I’m not saying charting is a testament to success – but it is a good way of seeing how much the name is getting out there (as well as news releases, big concert dates, etc.). It’s not the ONLY way of detecting name recognition, but it is ONE way of detecting it.

    Also – I have nothing against The Hunters – they are probably very nice people.

  46. Chris,

    I have heard of them (as I mentioned earlier) – I think they were the group that did a Morning Bible Study as the Hoppers’ guest a NQC or two ago. I seem to think the people there were favorably impressed.

    Anyhow, I hunted down what I think is the right group: http://www.thehunterfamily.ca/

    I think a couple of factors played into this:
    (1) NQC seems to want to put one Canadian group on mainstage each year, and this evidently isn’t the Torchmen’s year
    (2) They seem to know the Hoppers well, and Claude’s one of the board members

  47. Was Tribute on the Mainstage last year for a set night??? I am glad they are on for Monday night.

  48. Yes, I caught Tribute’s set last year.

  49. #41 and #43, what is going on with the Kingsmen? Why are they only given one set? Their appearances in the Singing News are very few also. I enjoyed them last year at NQC. Sure, they have had personnel changes and no longer have Big Jim and Foxy, but they are still a great, solid quartet. What happened? Anyone have any ideas?

  50. Not sure why the move to only one set at the convention. The fact that they are using tracks right now shouldn’t have anything to do with it. And we aren’t even sure why they are doing that…just because they lost there piano player? Most groups would simply hire a new piano player. (scratching my head)

  51. I am surprised no one has mentioned the Cathedrals reunion. The two men who ARE the Cathedral’s are in heaven. If they are coming back I will go but if not, THIS IS A JOKE!!! They all have groups of their own. MOVE ON WITH YOUR LIFE!! The Cathedral’s were the greatest, I understand that, but they were great because of George and Glenn, not Scott and Ernie. Please let the Cathedral’s rest in peace along with the two men that made the name GREAT!!

  52. #44 – Haha. My thoughts exactly, Paul. In my honest opinion, I think Jimmy getting the rights to the name and bringing back the Blackwood Brothers is a lot like Charles Waller getting the name “Florida Boys” and trying to make something of it. Again, don’t get me wrong – I think that the current Blackwood Brothers are far better than Waller’s group, and there are obvious differences in the situation (one being Jimmy is Jame’s son, an original member) but the long successful Blackwood Brothers of the past, they are not.

    When an original member puts an end to an era and retires a group, a lot can be said about someone thinking they should be able to use the name again, both positive and negative. I’m not going to say either. I’ll just leave it at that.

    Now, there’s no reason why Jimmy can’t use the name Blackwood – seeing he IS a Blackwood. However, Blackwood Brothers just doesn’t seem to fit a group with only one.

  53. I have heard music by that group (from a CD), and IMO – they sound like the Blackwood Brothers.

    Look at the Perrys. And where on earth did the Statler Brothers name even come from?

  54. #52 – If they were going to make and market a CD or DVD, I could see the concern.

    But there are a whole bunch of people (including me) who never got to see the Cathedrals. For that sort of thing, it would just be really neat to see Scott Fowler, Gerald Wolfe, Ernie Haase (hopefully! it is on Friday!), Mark Trammell, Danny Funderburk, and maybe a couple of others all on the same stage.

    To borrow from another discussion going on in this thread, I’d love to see a Blackwoods reunion with Jimmy, Terry, Mark, Ron, R.W., and perhaps others, or a Dixie Echoes reunion with Dallas Rogers, Tracy Crouch, Billy Hodges, Daddy Paul, Tim Riley, Larry Ford, and the other greats who have sung in the group, even if James and R.W. Blackwood couldn’t make it to the Blackwood Brothers reunion and Dale Shelnut and J.G. Whitfield couldn’t make it to the DE reunion. Both would give me a lot more of a taste of what it was like to hear those voices together live than I could get anywhere else!

  55. I certainly agree with that #53…”Blackwood Brothers just doesnโ€™t seem to fit a group with only one.”

  56. Keep in mind that there were two Blackwoods (though cousins) in the group when Jimmy brought the name back.

    Then, when Mark left and brought back the Blackwood Gospel Quartet name, Jimmy couldn’t well return to that particular name.

  57. #55 – The other day, I was talking with another member in our group how interesting it would be if we could get all of the Blackwood groups together for a big concert. I think the turnout would be great for something like that.

    #57 – That is true Daniel. I’d like to have seen what would have happened if the original group would have had only one Blackwood. I guess that’s why James decided to bring in another Blackwood (Jimmy) when he decided to leave – something that Jimmy didn’t or couldn’t do. Then again, with three groups out there that doesn’t leave many left to choose from.

  58. I don’t think that Jimmy was brought in simply to keep another Blackwood name in the group…but he was the obvious choice to follow after his dad. Cecil kept the name going for many years after Jimmy and RW left the group, until his death in 2000.

  59. I would like to see a Reunion as well for the Blackwood groups…and maybe a tribute to James, and even Cecil…there have been no tributes for Cecil…let’s face it, Cecil was the leader through one of the groups “biggest and greatest” time periods…the Hoffmaster/Turner Era. (Pat, Jimmy, Cecil, Ken, and Tommy)

  60. Dale nor J.G. were there from the begging to the end. The Cathedrals retired because the 2 members who were there from the beginning are dead. Who will sing bass that sang bass with the Cathedral’s? Who will sing lead that sang lead with the Cathedral’s. NO ONE!! They are gone. This is not a reunion of the Cathedral’s. This is a reunion of a bunch of guys who can’t get a full showcase on their own so they use this legendary name to do it. IT”S PATHETIC!

  61. #61 – Now it’s entirely true that there will be nobody there to sing the bass part. However, the way they stacked their harmonies, Glen Payne would swap out with Mark Trammell, Gerald Wolfe, and Scott Fowler all the time on lead / baritone.

    And I think Legacy Five and Greater Vision at least both have the drawing power to have a showcase on their own; Greater Vision had a pretty good one with “Quartets” and Legacy Five does the Sunday Evening before NQC concert. Mark Trammell may do a morning chapel, too–not sure on that.

  62. Thank you #62.

  63. Greater Vision had to do it as Quartet’s, Legacy Five has to have the Booth Brothers, and The Morning Showcases are free to the public. The point is being missed. Why have a reunion of a group where the two members who started the group and were with it till the end, (with the exception of Glenn by a couple of months) are not alive anymore. NO GLENN, NO GEORGE, NO CATHEDRAL’S!!!

  64. Patrick, I’ll agree with you there. It’s not the Cathedrals, and anyone suggesting that it is the Cathedrals performing should get that kind of reaction.

    But I must admit I’d still like to hear those voices together, even if they can find a more accurate name. ๐Ÿ™‚

  65. I guess I am missing Patrick’s point…I think it is great that the past members of the Cathedrals would have so much respect for the group and the legacy, and for their time as a part of the group, that they would put together such reunions.

  66. I agree with Paul. Scott, Gerald, Danny, Ernie, Mark – those guys definitely were an integral part of the Cathedrals. George and Glen talked about people who said they “were” the Cats in their book in 1979. They said when they hired Kirk and heard him sing “I Know a Man” they knew that it wasn’t just them who made up the Cathedrals! ๐Ÿ™‚ A quartet is about much more than just the lead and bass. I heard the clip Daniel posted last year of “Ticket to Paradise,” and I would say that it was worth hearing, even if they do have to do without those two very, very important and loved men.

  67. I am a HUGE Cathedrals fan. They were the group who’s music I grew up on and I would tell anyone with any hesitation that they were most definitely the tool that God used to instill in me a desire and passion to sing.

    That being said, here’s my take on it. It’s one thing if the Cathedrals were still on the road, without Glen and George. A reunion with all the past and current members – with a tribute to George and Glen – would be great. I can see Patrick’s point though, since the Cathedral Quartet was never the Cathedral Quartet without those two men in it.

    There is no problem, however, with all of those guys getting together to do a concert. Obviously, the only thing that they have in common is that most of them sang in the same group (Cathedrals) at some point in time. If they had to choose any thing to name the concert, it makes sense.

    Do I agree that it’s a reunion of the Cathedrals? No, because no matter who they put together to sing, that group of men was never the Cathedrals. Would I go and see the concert? Yes.

  68. I think some people, personally, are missing the point…this simply is a reunion of the great performers from the Cathedral Qt, down through the years…not a reunion of the quartet itself. It is going to be a great time, I am sure. Just enjoy it.

  69. call it a tribute to the cathedrals, not a cathedral reunion! chances are they won’t have kirk talley, or any prior members to him. we see gerald, scott, ernie, mark, all of the time. they do a few concers (minus ernie) in the southeast. calling it ‘a night to remember’.
    i think it is just fine to have a concert to honor and pay tribute, but to actually have a Reunion, it would need to include most everybody, ESPECIALLY the two main people. Folks, if you want to see a real catheral reunion, but the Cathedral Reunion video!

  70. Sure, call it a tribute. That’s fair.

    I’m just looking forward to (hopefully) hearing those voices together live and in person for the first time!

  71. Daniel,

    To answer your question – it will be Dave, Duane and Neil on Friday night at NQC. They still sound powerful, as they did in the 70’s when they were winning the Dove Awards (then the main awards of the Industry). They won 2 Doves in 1976 and another in 1977.

    To answer someone else’s question, The Couriers started appearing at NQC around 1962 and were featured on the main stage for all of the following years (to my knowledge) until the late 70’s. They went off the road for a while in 1980, due largely to tenor Duane Nicholson’s unsuccessful nodule surgery in 1978. (I am aware of the facts, because I was Duane’s piano player during this hiatus). When Duane’s voice returned in the early 80’s, Neil and Duane re-activated the group with Phil Enloe and spent the next 18 years concentrating mostly on church work and missionary trips.

    They retired (again) in December 2000, but reformed again (as Dave, Duane & Neil) in 2003 with Dave Kyllonen, Neil Enloe and Duane Nicholson (all original members from the late 1950’s – and the same personnel who won the awards in the 70’s) and have done about 100 dates or so a year for the last 5 years from coast to coast, throughout Canada and in other countries.

    With 56 albums to their credit (many with major labels) and having traveled to over 80 other countries spreading the Gospel – they deserve a place on the NQC stage.

    And, those that have heard them in the last 5 years are thrilled to hear that same dynamic and perfect sound they were known for 30 years ago.

    I’m looking forward to it. You won’t want to miss their appearance.

  72. Yes, I think a “TRIBUTE TO THE CATHEDRALS” would be a good alternate title.”

  73. It would be great just to have quartets on the main stage. Do not and can not understand why the convention feels they need something other than quartets.

  74. Have ANY of you ever heard or heard of the LIBERTY
    QUARTET?????? They are out of HBoise, Idaho and
    are the top group on the west side of the country!!
    They have been to the Great Western Quartet conv
    in Fresno for several years and are an awesome group!
    Ask Gerald Wolfe! G/V & Liberty just did a joint session
    last night in Meridian Id (5-7-09).
    Give a listen and you will be surprised!!!

  75. Bill – regular readers of my blog have heard of the Liberty Quartet, after several positive reviews I’ve done of their recent CDs.

    Any chance you’re a relation of their lead singer (Dan Gilbert)?

  76. cathedral tribute ,noted with many origional cathedral singers,and allow Glenn DUSTIN TO sing base for george ,with lg5, i love his mannerism,and singing.dont we substitute other groups for the cathedrals? fill in the gap they left ,as best we can .so a catherdral tribute monday,and thursday?let the pfiefers give up one night,and maybe a solo singer?and how about a GOLD CITY reunion may GOD richly BLESS You all thanks

  77. Jim Brady and Mark Trammell were both just very very recently added to the board of directors to the NQC…anyone know the others besides Gerald Wolfe and Claude Hopper?


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