NQC 2013, Day 5: Live Blog
Highlights of the Night
The evening kept getting better and better; it is safe to call the five-song finale the strongest part of the evening.
- Greater Vision kicked it off with “I Know a Man Who Can.”
- Karen Peck and New River followed it with “Four Days Late.” It’s one of the strongest renditions I’ve ever heard them offer.
- The Booth Brothers sang “Still Feeling Fine.” 11 PM or not, I’m not sure the audience will sit down at all between Greater Vision and the final notes! (Was that Gene McDonald who came up by the end? I had to look away for a couple of minutes.)
- Mark Trammell Quartet, “I Want to Know.” I was surprised they didn’t sing it earlier; this was why!
- To top it all off, there was an unannounced appearance by the Gaither Vocal Band, singing “It is Finished.” Wow! Talk about a strong ending!
Other highlights, in reverse chronological order:
- Gold City’s set: Three classics and a recent favorite that unleashes the greatest legend amongst current Southern Gospel bass singers makes for a strong set! (And a cameo appearance from Jonathan Wilburn is never a bad thing.)
- “The King is Coming,” Mark Trammell Quartet. A rousing standing ovation!
- The Booth Brothers brought Bill Gaither up for the final song of their set, “I Played in the Band.” Before the final encore, Gaither had everyone who had sung in a choir, driven a bus, and done several other specific things he acknowledged, stand. Most of the room was standing.
- “He’s Alive,” David Phelps with the Gaither Vocal Band. It deserves its own mention!
- The Gaither segment. (Of course.) “That Sounds Like Home To Me” was particularly strong.
- Canton Junction’s surprise appearance at the start of the Gaither set was very well-received.
- The entire Karen Peck & New River set. It’s been their strongest of the week. They started with their current, catchy single, followed with two of their #1 hits, and left the audience on their feet with “We Shall Wear a Robe and Crown.” They did their two biggest hits (“Four Days Late” and “Last Night”) earlier this week; that they could do a set without either song and still turn in their strongest set of the week speaks both to their ability as performers and to strength of their repertoire.
- “If That Isn’t Love,” Isaacs, with Bill Gaither on the piano. We’re used to the Isaacs with Bluegrass arrangements; it’s nice to see them with Southern Gospel accompaniment once in a while.
- “The Living Years,” Isaacs. As Bill Gaither walked on stage for the next song, he talked the Isaacs into doing an acapella chorus and tag of this one. Nobody can touch Gaither’s masterful touch at making a good moment unforgettable.
- “Something’s Happening,” Hoppers. It was good throughout, but kept getting better and better. Then, when TaRanda Greene walked over to Kim Hopper and started singing a third above Kim’s soprano part, the raw musical power was simply too much for even Freedom Hall to contain.
- The Nelons’ entire set was incredibly strong. They started with their recent radio single, “Excuse Me, Are You Jesus.” Then, they took the daring and risky move of singing the “Hallelujah Chorus” a cappella. The set just kept getting better and better; song 3 was the Sandi Patti song “More Than Wonderful.” Soprano Amber Thompson nailed Patti’s high ending, hitting notes I’ve never heard her hit before. Then, with the Gaither band backing them up, they pulled off an energetic rendition of “I’m Going Home With Jesus.”
- Freedom’s Showcase Appearance: If this is any indication, John Rulapaugh’s new lineup is off to a spectacular start. But get Rulapaugh, Dale Shipley, and Burman Porter all into one group, and what do you expect?
Live Play-By Play
This post got so long that we’ve hidden the live play-by-play from the home page. Click “read more” or the post title to read the complete coverage.
Finale: See the highlights section!
11:37: Before I could fall asleep, I had to check the index of my 2008 Baptist Hymnal. There are a number of living composers besides Bill & Gloria Gaither, including Mark Altrogge, Paul Baloche, Carman, Steven Curtis Chapman, Andrae Crouch, Carol Cymbala, Geron Davis, Amy Grant, Larnelle Harris, Kurt Kaiser, Lenny LeBlanc, Dwight Liles, Mylon LeFevre, Mark Lowry, Babbie Mason, Jon Mohr, Sandi Patty, Jerry Salley, Kirk Talley, John Thompson, Stuart Townend, Chris Tomlin, Wayne Watson, and Kelly Willard. But there are 11 Gaither songs in the hymnal, and that’s far more than any other living composer, and may be behind only Fanny Crosby.
10:36: Greater Vision starts their set with “Seeking For Me.” Song 2: The tempo picks up to medium/fast for “Looking for the Grace.” Song 3: They stage the best song from their new CD, “Tell it Like it Is.” (I talk more about how strong a song it is in the CD review, here.) Song 4: “I Know a Man Who Can.”
10:33: This deserves special mention: The team streaming the live webcast had some technical issues early in the week, but they have come back spectacularly for a strong finish. They’ve handled the influx of thousands of extra viewers seamlessly; the webcast quality tonight is probably the best it’s been all week—on the day of the greatest challenge, no less.
10:31: Final showcase winner of the night: The Browders.
10:15: Gold City started their set with “When I Get Carried Away.” Tim Riley was on fire by the ending, rattling the subwoofers, so it was a great choice to go with “I Get Down” as song 2. Song 3: “Midnight Cry,” featuring Jerry Pelfrey. Song 4: “Get Up, Get Ready.”
9:57: The Mark Trammell Quartet started their set with “Meet Me On The Other Side.” Song 2: “Wonderful Time Up There,” featuring bass singer Pat Barker. Song 3: “The King is Coming,” featuring Mark Trammell. He introduced it by paying tribute to Bill Gaither with a little humor and a lot of respect.
9:57: At this point, we’re nineteen minutes behind schedule.
9:47: On this Facebook thread, quite a few people commented that they didn’t like to see the interviews run long and bump songs from the Penny Loafers and Karen Peck & New River. ViewFinders posted this reply: “Our goal tonight was to provide our webcast viewers with special programming content, with some behind the scenes content and a few artists interviews. We apologize that a couple of the interviews went a bit long and conflicted with the main stage concert. We had planned to bring you a quick interview with the Collingsworth Family and The Booth Brothers during an audience sing a long, we’ll let them know you’d rather not hear from them.”
9:35: The Booth Brothers start their set with “Look For Me at Jesus’ Feet.” Nick Bruno is playing piano. Michael Booth is an absolute master at reading an audience and picking a song appropriate for the moment, and this song is the perfect song for this moment. Song 2: “I’m Free.” Song 3: They bring Bill Gaither up on stage for “I Played in the Band.”
9:30: Gerald Wolfe paid tribute to Bill Gaither as, to Wolfe’s knowledge, the only person living who had songs in the Baptist Hymnal before leading the audience in a singalong of “The Family of God.” Then Wolfe told of an experience at a church in Jerusalem where, for about thirty minutes, one group after another sang “Because He Lives” in their language. (He even specifically mentioned the Japanese language!) He said it’s a foretaste of Heaven, where we will all sing the Song of the Redeemed together.
9:12: Jeff and Sheri Easter start with “Anything But Happy.” Song 2: “When You’re Broken,” featuring Morgan Easter (? on title). Wes Hampton offers a surprise, unannounced guest vocal. Song 3: Jeff Easter is featured on “I Get To.” Song 4: “Down in the Valley” (? on title), featuring a guest appearance from an incredibly energetic Jonathan and Jordan Wilburn.
9:12: They skipped the “A Funny Thing Happened” segment and went straight to Jeff & Sheri Easter. That pulls us several minutes closer to being on schedule; good move.
9:12: Gerald Wolfe announces that “multiple thousands” from twenty-six countries are watching tonight’s webcast.
9:11: Gaither’s set ran long enough that we’re over twenty minutes behind schedule at this point. (Not that anyone cares.)
8:29: The Gaither Vocal Band starts their set with “I Catch ‘Em, God Cleans ‘Em.” Song 2: “I’ll Tell it Wherever I Go.” Song 3: “Journey To The Sky.” Before song 4, Mark Lowry tells the story of his motorcycle accident again, as a comedy segment. I think he’s done it every NQC since the accident; you can count on it every bit as much as you can count on the Hoppers doing “Shoutin’ Time” at some point in the week. Song 4: “I Don’t Want to Get Adjusted.” Song 5: “Come to Jesus.” Song 6: “That Sounds Like Home to Me.” Michael English draws back to his Happy Goodmans repertoire for this one. (Y’all who are newcomers to the genre: Years before English was with Gaither, he was with the Singing Americans, and before the Singing Americans, he was with the Goodmans. He recorded this song with them in 1982.) Mark Lowry took the second verse. Song 7: “He’s Alive.” David Phelps is his usual showstopping self on this one. Karen Peck, Kim Hopper, The Nelons, and possibly a few others came on stage for the big chorus. Song 8: “At Calvary.”
8:27: Through the years, Gaither has liked to have a four-part male quartet on the Homecoming programs—one that’s not as traditional as the Dixie Echoes, but is more traditional than the Gaither Vocal Band and has a solid, low quartet bass. Does anyone know if this Canton Junction appearance was a one-time thing, or if they’ve started appearing at some Homecoming dates?
8:21: A nice little surprise: Bill Gaither gave the first part of his set to Canton Junction. The audience gets quite excited when they recognize Tim Duncan, singing “The Son Shines Down On Me.” After tenor Matt Hagee introduces the rest of the group—lead singer Aaron Crabb, baritone Shane McConnell, and bass Tim Duncan, the group’s second song was “Dig a Little Deeper.” Given the audience’s reaction to seeing Duncan again, it seems like a wise choice to feature Duncan on both songs.
8:09: Kevin Williams, guitarist for the Gaither Tour, has been on stage, playing for a number of groups over the last hour and a half, ever since the Nelons’ set. It’s a nice, classy gesture and show of support by someone who has paid his dues and proven all he needs to prove.
8:01: Karen Peck and New River starts their set, singing “Revival.” But sadly, those who purchased the webcast (as well as the Free Friday viewers) missed everything except the last twenty seconds or so, because the cutaway segment ran long. Song 2: Karen Peck set up the group’s #1 hit, “I Want to Thank You,” as a thank you for the Louisville years of NQC’s history. Classy. Song 3: “On The Banks of the Promised Land.” Song 4: “We Shall Wear a Robe and Crown.”
7:56: The feed cuts away from a Gordon Mote song for an Adam Crabb interview with The Hoppers.
7:53: Gerald Wolfe and Gordon Mote banter. “GORDON!” “Gerald, don’t yell at me! I’m blind, not deaf!”
7:30: The Isaacs begin their set with “Walk On.” Song 2: “The Living Years.” Song 3: “Walk Together Children,” featuring a guest vocal from Bill Gaither. Before starting his part, he pays a nice compliment to the Penny Loafers’ bass, who was on right before the Isaacs’ set. Song 4: “If That Isn’t Love.”
7:26: The feed cuts away from the main stage again; Adam Crabb is talking with the Easter Children. It looks like we’ll miss the Penny Loafers’ acapella song. (7:30: Yes, we missed the Penny Loafers. Ah, well.)
7:06: The Hoppers’ set begins with “I’ll Take You Home.” Song 2: “He Didn’t Just Carry the Cross, He Carried Me.” Karlye Hopper joined the group on stage. Song 3: TaRanda Greene came on stage to do a rendition of “The Love of God” (the Ellis convention song, not the Lehman hymn). Greene and Kim Hopper did a dueling-sopranos power ending. Song 4: “Something’s Happening.” The stage is filled with members of the Hopper clan: Regular vocalists Claude, Connie, Dean, and Kim, drummer and part-time vocalist Mike Hopper, TaRanda Greene, Karlye Hopper (sitting on the piano bench, not singing), as well as pianist Josh Simpson and band members.
7:05: The feed cuts away from for a conversation between the Adam, Aaron, and Amanda Crabb. Initially, I thought we’d be losing some of the Hoppers’ set, but the feed returns to the main stage in time.
6:44: The Nelons start their set with “Excuse Me, Are You Jesus?” Song 2: A rather daring feat: The Nelons pull of the “Hallelujah Chorus” a capella! Song 3: “More Than Wonderful”—the song popularized by Sandi Patty (back when she was still Sandi Patti). Amber Thompson nails the high Sandi Patti ending; I didn’t know she had that much of a high end to her range! Song 4: “I’m Going Home With Jesus.”
6:33: The feed cuts away from the main stage; Adam Crabb is now chatting with Karen Peck and New River. It cuts into and takes up some of the set of one of the showcase winners.
6:28: The Free Friday live feed is sponsored with ads that take up the bottom 1/4 or 1/3 of the screen. These appear for paying subscribers as well as the free audience.
6:16: The Bowlings start their set with a classic, “I’ll Be All Right As Soon as I Touch Calvary.” Song 2: “I Know Enough.” Song 3: The Bowlings’ three daughters sing “Accentuate the Positive.” They’re the second group to stage the song this week; the Isaacs did it earlier in the week. Song 4: The girls sing “Jesus, You’re All I Need.” Song 5: “I’m Glad I’m Saved” (? on title). Song 6: “Somebody’s Praying” (? on title).
6:13: The Browns do an instrumental, “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name / Crown Him With Many Crowns.”
5:57: The Rick Webb Family begins their set with an unexpected song choice, “Joy To The World.” It’s a nice arrangement, with several unanticipated tempo changes. Song 2: “Let the Rocks Keep Silent.” Song 3: “Satisfied”—the Nazarene hymn, not the soul song Michael English recorded with the Gaither Vocal Band in the mid-90s. Song 4: “God Bless America.” Theirs is a rare rendition that includes the verse.
5:52: The feed cuts away from the audience for a conversation between Mike and Kelly Bowling and Adam Crabb, welcoming the Free Friday audience.
5:47: Gordon Mote is playing “Give the World a Smile Each Day” as a piano feature. You don’t hear Mote doing a convention song often! Gerald Wolfe then joins Mote on stage for an audience sing-a-long.
5:30: Showcase winners: First up, The Dennis Family. Second, Freedom! John Rulapaugh’s new lineup, including lead singer Dale Shipley, Preston Garner, and Burman Porter, got a mainstage slot! They’re singing “Somebody Touched the Lord.” The song comes from Shipley’s Perfect Heart days; his former Perfect Heart colleague, Jeff Stice, joined in on piano.
5:26: Ads for Dollywood, Greater Vision, and Tribute Quartet.
5:23: The Akins’ concept video “Kneel” is playing over the webcast presently.
5:21: Good evening, and welcome to the festivities of day 5! Tonight, the webcast is available for free; you can sign up here. The live webcast should start within about five minutes.
For more about all things Gaither and Gold City and Greater Vision and Jeff and Sheri Easter and Karen Peck and New River and the Booth Brothers and the Bowlings and the Hoppers and the Isaacs and the Mark Trammell Quartet and the Nelons and the Rick Webb Family—and other Southern Gospel news and commentary—follow our RSS feed or sign up for our email updates!