NQC announces first mainstage solo set…ever?

Yesterday, the National Quartet Convention posted an update to their mainstage performances schedule. The Freemans and the Skyline Boys were each given mainstage slots. But beyond doubt (as, with a hat tip, I see Chuck Peters notes [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link appears to be down, and has been removed.]), the change that will attract the most attention is the fact that the NQC Board of Directors has decided to put a soloist on the main stage for the first time…ever?

It will come as no surprise that this soloist is Ivan Parker, arguably Southern Gospel’s most popular soloist (though Mark Bishop is, also arguably, a close second).

Since Parker has his own strong fan base, this will probably draw fans to NQC–both Parker fans and fans who want to see history in the making as a soloist walks on stage for the first NQC solo concert in years.

Granted, other people will probably use the set as an excuse to go to the product hall or food court, but that takes place with every group. Some skip the Inspirations, some skip the Crabbs, and some probably even skip the Kingdom Heirs. (I tried to think of a group whose style would offend just about nobody, and they were the first to come to mind.)

Is this experiment a good one for NQC to try? I do not know. It will probably change the dynamics a little, at least until the novelty wears off. That’s as far as I will go until I devote further thought to the idea…and until I read what you have to say about it.

EDIT: Thanks to John, who posted some interesting information in his comment below, I edited this post slightly. I added one or two question marks and tweaked a phrase. Where the original post stated that this was the first time a soloist has appeared on main stage, I tweaked the post a bit to reflect his thoughts below.

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10 Letters to the Editor

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  1. I have NQC CDs with Ivan Parker, Ernie Haase, and Brian Free on them. Were these not recorded at the mainstage of NQC? I’ve never been, so I don’t know if they have a side stage that they would’ve had the soloists perform on or what. Just curious.

  2. They do have showcases. That said, I do have one of the NQC live CDs you must be thinking of, and I’m not really sure now to answer your question.

  3. Before I make this comment, let me say that I appreciate Chuck Peters reporting the news. He does us a great service. However, the information he was given by the NQC is flawed.

    This may be the first time in recent history that a soloist has been on the main stage, but there were several that performed at the early conventions.

    Big Jim Waits, Jimmie Davis, Winston Blackwood, Don Butler, Vep Ellis, Wally Fowler, Arnold Hyles and Frank Stamps are ones that I can recall.

    Although he wasn’t a noted gospel music artist, I think Stuart Hamblen also was on one of the early conventions.

  4. Another step backward for the NQC. This is supposed to be a quartet convention. With attendance dropping every year wouldn’t you think they would figure out people like to hear quartets?
    If they want to change the name to the Southern Gospel Convention then it might be OK to have Ivan Parker and others do their karaoke act.
    For the first time in the past ten years I haven’t renewed my tickets, and don’t expect to anytime soon. I’ve had it with canned accompaniments, watered down talent, and now I have to sit through soloists, too? I don’t think so.

  5. Jim T.: I have to agree with you. Put the soloist in the afternoon showcases. It is a quartet convention. They are going to keep on and they won’t have a quartet convention. First they make huge changes in Fan Awards, then cancel Monday night quartet night and now this. I am not against Ivan personally, I just don’t think soloist should be on the evening showcases.

  6. I applaud the changes. Way to go NQC.

  7. jb, first off, the fan awards have nothing to do with the nqc. the fan awards are soley the singing news magazine. the nqc just allows the presentation ceremony to take place during nqc. but the changes in the fan awards are partly due to the fact that the nqc has put pressure on the singing news to stay with in the time restraints given to them. consistenly the award have gone over their time limit. so to accomodate this the singing news revamped the awards not only to bring a new freshness to them, but also to cut back on the number of awards given so as to hopefully stay with in the alotted amount of time.
    oh, yes, and chris unthank, the consistent voice of anything anti-traditional quartet speaks up yet again. ugh…

  8. jon, if the main reason for changing the fan awards was to cut back on time, that could be accomplished by just announcing the nominees and then the winner. the presenters take a large amount of time telling stories and joking between themselves.

  9. I have been a fan of southern gospel music for the last 40 years. I love quartets, trios, soloists and even duets if they’re good. I think most people view NQC as a gospel music convention not just a “quartet” convention. There are some incredible quartets and there are some losers. Certainly not enough good ones to fill up a convention. I applaud whoever is responsible for improving this event with talent no matter what it’s numerical configuration. I believe it will improve attendance to add “talent” no hurt it.

  10. I have the same recording that LSJ and Daniel refer to: NQC 1999 In addition,on that recording Glenn Payne sang “I Won’t Have To Cross Jordan Alone” solo. Of course, those are different circumstances, and he sang during the Cathedrals’ time slot.
    To be short about it, I agree with jb and JimT, but disagree with Chris Unthank.
    We should keep in mind who started NQC 50 years ago:members of the Blackwood Brothers QUARTET and the Statesmen QUARTET (emphasis mine)