NQC 2007: Friday: Evening Concert
Despite the appearance of several groups I really wanted to see–including Palmetto State and the Kingsmen–I decided to spend the first couple of hours in the vendor hall.
I came back in time for the Hoppers’ all-to-brief set. They sang “Waiting for My Ride,” with Ronnie Hinson appearing on the video (which seemed odd since I understand Hinson was there and could have easily performed his part in person.) With the Jackson Sisters four-piece string ensemble providing the backup, Dean Hopper led the audience in the hymn “Grace Greater than Sin” before the group launched into “Grace Will Always Be Greater Than Sin.” The Hoppers closed their set with “Jerusalem” (to a standing ovation).
The NQC 50th Anniversary celebration featured several interviews with a bus tour coordinator and a vendor who were brought onto the stage, and several songs by classic groups and artists. Lily Fern Weatherford and the Weatherfords did “What a Precious Friend is He,” with Armond Morales providing the bass vocals. They captured the Weatherfords’ classic sound well, and the song was well received.
Ben Speer came on stage to sing “In the Midst of it All,” but was hindered for 30 or 60 seconds by a track malfunction. His response, urging (and getting) a round of applause for all the long hours the technicians put in planning and running the event’s sound, was one of the classiest things I’ve seen in a while.
After a video of several NQC highlights, including Glen Payne’s final call-in performance and George Younce’s final guest appearance with Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, Gerald Williams and the Melody Boys Quartet came on stage to sing a song that Williams had performed with the Melody Boys at the original (1957) NQC.
The Talleys closed the set with a song (probably not) entitled “We Who Come Behind Honor Those Who’ve Come Before.” Several young artists–a term loosely used, since I noticed that it included several well-established artists like Dean and Kim Hopper–came on stage holding candles, which they raised above their heads at the appropriate point in the song.
The 50th Anniversary Celebration was well-done. My only complaint is that the Florida Boys did not sing and (I believe) were not even mentioned, despite the fact that they have been and (I believe) performed at every National Quartet Convention since the first. But that’s a sin of omission, not of commission, and what was there was excellent.
I hadn’t eaten since breakfast, so I stepped out for dinner and watched Mark Lowry / LordSong’s and Ivan Parker’s sets from the monitors in the hallways. Lowry/LordSong closed their set with “Mary, Did You Know,” to a standing ovation. Parker closed his set with “Midnight Cry,” also to an enthusiastic response.
The Florida Boys came on stage for their second-to-final appearance, and their final regular set. They sang “Hallelujah Square,” “Palms of Victory,” “He is Mine and I am His,” and “This Heart of Mine. Their lineup was Harold Reed on tenor, Josh Garner on lead, Glen Allred on baritone, Buddy Liles on bass, Darrell Stewart on piano, and Les Beasley on bass guitar. On the last song, Tim Lovelace came on stage to do his part, Stewart sang, and Beasley played piano. Josh Garner handed his microphone to either Stewart or Lovelace and left the stage, re-appearing at the drum set later in the song.
The Kingdom Heirs sang “God’s Word,” “My Anchor of Hope,” “The Rock’s Between the Hard Place and You,” and “I Know I’m Going There.” I heard a rumor that Jeff Chapman wasn’t feeling well, but the Kingdom Heirs nonetheless built to a strong finish.
Greater Vision sang “We are So Blessed,” “My Name is Lazarus,” “It Means Just What it Says,” and concluded with “O Holy Night” (to a standing ovation).
Gold City sang a five-song set, “Get Up Get Ready,” “After Awhile,” “Alone in the Garden,” the Phillips, Craig, and Dean CCM hit “Mercy Came Running,” and “Preach the Word.”
Triumphant Quartet closed out the night. Eric Bennett sang a slow-tempo classic, “Look for Me,” before they kicked things up a notch with “Don’t Let the Sandals Fool Ya.” David Sutton and Jeff Stice did a harmonica/piano duet on “Goodbye World Goodbye.” Clayton Inman sang “Old White Flag,” a bluegrass song that the rest of the group pretended that they hated. (At any rate, I assume they were pretending.) They closed their set–and the night–with the uptempo quartet song “I Know I’m Going Home.”
One day to go!