NQC 2010, Day 3: Showcase Highlights
I arrived at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center (home to NQC) in time to catch a regional artist showcase featuring several artists of particular interest. As is often the case with the regional artist showcases, if one is patient through sets of groups more notable for hairdos or verbal eccentricities than for good singing, there are gems. A few standouts:
- Statement of Faith was the group that inspired me to prioritize this showcase. They sang two songs, “Come Dirty, Leave Clean” (featuring Joe Kitson) and “Even Now” (featuring Jon Epley). Their sound is certainly not a Greater Vision clone; it’s more Greater Vision-meets-Kingdom Heirs. Notably, former Greater Vision tenor Jacob Kitson did not mention Greater Vision or (for that matter) his own name at any point in their brief set. This was impressive, since it indicates full confidence in the two lesser-known members of the group to deliver at punch time—and a long-term plan that banks on group identity rather than celebrity status of the member most prominent upon its formation.
- The Jay Stone Singers sang an acapella rendition of “Lord of the Dance” and their current single, “God is Good.” When every artist is using radio-friendly soundtracks, they can start to run together for a more casual listener, so including a well-executed acapella song earned the grou a spot on the highlights.
- Anthony Facello’s Beyond the Ashes opened the showcase. Their first track was a progressive, uptempo song; the second was Anthony covering the song he’s most known for from his Mercy’s Mark days, “His Response,” with the original track.
Shortly after Statement of Faith sang, I headed over to the remainder of the Gaither Vocal Band / Ernie Haase and Signature Sound showcase. Signature Sound did mostly if not entirely Cathedrals songs. The Gaither Vocal Band portion of the set started with three or four group songs, before David Phelps was spotlighted on “Nessun Dorma.” He appeared to be fighting allergy/health issues but made it through the song. Michael English stepped up for a dramatic rendition of “Please Forgive Me”; whatever one may say about the song on CD, it works well live. The group closed their (solo) portion of the set with another David Phelps feature, their cover of the old Don Francisco tune “He’s Alive.” The song connected so well with the audience that even a major and nearly deafening sound glitch in the chorus was unable to stop a rousing standing ovation. The showcase closed with both groups singing several songs together.