Further thoughts on Vocal Band shakeup
I thought it was rather interesting that, given that this month I had my first interview of a Vocal Band member up on the site, that the member (Wes Hampton) is the only one besides Bill Gaither still in the group at the end of the month.
Four other thoughts. First, some have been suggesting that Marshall Hall was booted out. Unless you know something I don’t (and that’s possible), we don’t know that. He could have left of his own accord. He’s already been with the group about five years, and a number of GVB members have stayed less time than that before launching solo careers.
Second, even though there are five members in the group, there is still a pretty distinct range order. Phelps sings to the E or F above high C, Hampton sings to high C or D-flat, English still sings a power lead but ought to stay a bit lower than he used to, and Lowry and Gaither stick to their usual ranges. What this means vocally is that, essentially, English can stay within a slightly lower range and Hampton can fill a vocal part between English and Phelps.
Third, Bill Gaither wasn’t necessarily lying in the press release where he was announcing a sabbatical. Even though, within a couple of weeks, word got around inside the industry, and I and a couple of others heard Guy was leaving, there is a chance that when the press release came out that was all Bill knew. I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Fourth, to those saying it’s the end of the Vocal Band, don’t count them out yet. Between the reunion and bringing this lineup back, I’ll grant it is looking like Bill might be contemplating the idea. But if they come out with some stellar vocal harmonies and songs that blow us all away, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if, health permitting, Bill decides to give the road a couple more years. Besides, what are the chances he would ask former members to walk away from lucrative solo careers—to quit their day jobs, so to speak—for a farewell tour?