Saturday News Roundup #192

Worth Knowing

  • As Tracy Stuffle continues to recover from his January stroke, his wife Libbi was able to bring him to their church’s Wednesday night service for the first time since January. Each milestone is perhaps a little deal by itself, but each brings him one step closer to recovery.
  • Southern Sound has hired Randy Shaw as their new baritone singer. Randy is a cousin of Southern Sound tenor Will Shaw.
  • Rochesters members Scott and Becky Matthews welcomed a daughter, Mallorie Kate Matthews, on October 1.

Worth Watching

Just because this song deserves to be heard again:

Also worth watching: Legacy Five bass singer Matt Fouch interviews Nick Trammell, lead singer for the Mark Trammell Quartet.

Worth Discussing

It’s open thread Saturday—you decide!

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Cathedrals Alumnus Roger Horne returns to the road

Cathedrals alumnus Roger Horne has come out of retirement to join Mercy Road as their new tenor. Mercy Road is a part-time quartet based in Nashville, Tennessee.

Horne was a member of the Gospel Harmony Boys from 1969-1971. He joined the Cathedrals in 1971, after Mack Taunton’s departure. He recorded two albums with the group, Right On (1971) and Welcome To Our World (1972).

After Horne left the Cathedrals, baritone Roy Tremble moved to tenor to take his place. Horne would go on to perform with the Scenicland Boys, Jerry and the Singing Goffs, and his own group, the Roger Horne Trio. He eventually went into the insurance business, retiring earlier this year.

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Saturday News Roundup #191

Worth Knowing

Worth Watching

I recently had the opportunity to film a Southern Gospel group from the Faroe Islands in the studio:

Also of interest: Here’s a video of Matt Fouch interviewing contributor Sam Garms. So it’s a chance to get to know him better.

Video link:

Worth Discussing

It’s open thread Saturday—you decide!

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Live Blog: Singing News Fan Awards 2013

Daniel’s Siblings are covering the Singing News Fan Awards since OLDER brother Daniel is at work!  If the stream stays up, we hope to bring you live coverage for at least a few hours. Since it is a live blog, the newest notes are at the top.

It looks like the award show is over! Congratulations to the winners!

Louise Mandrell presented the Favorite Artist award: The Booth Brothers.

The Singing News twitter account gives a link to view the rest of the show. It like Louise Mandrell won the James D. Vaughn Impact Award. She sang a song with the Triumphant Quartet.

According to Singing News, the Booth Brothers won Favorite Album, Greatest Hits–Live.

It looks like the feed may have gone down altogether.

According to Singing News, the Perrys won Favorite Song: I Got A Hold of God This Morning! Wish we could have seen their acceptance speech.

The video feed went down. 🙁  It appears a spammer may have knocked out the feed for the rest of us. 🙁

The Whisnants are singing their top 10 nominated song, All is Well.

SGMA Class of 2013: Tim Riley.

Mark Trammell went off-script and requested prayer concerning a catastrophic church bus accident near Gatlinburg. There are at least 8 fatalities. He said that some groups had sung for them this morning. He mentioned the song Faces, and how we never know whose Face a person may next see. The church bus group is from Statesville, NC.  Mark led the group in prayer for the families and those hurting.

Favorite Songwriter: Rodney Griffin. Nick Trammell said that it was his unprecedented 15th win in a row. He said it is an unbelievable honor to be singled out of such a group of special people.

The Booth Brothers sang, “Right in the Middle” and we have heard that it is their first time to do it live!  Michael is reading the words off a paper!

David Sutton read the list of nominees for Favorite Soprano. The winner is: Kim Hopper. Dean and Karlye accepted the award for her. Kim is not feeling well today. Dean and Karlye talked of her ministry over the years.

Favorite Alto: Libbi Stuffle! She’s trying not to cry…thanking the Harper Agency, Bill Bailey, their pastor, and Daywind. She admonished groups to sing songs with meaning, and sing them as though God was standing there watching. She also thanked her mom and family for their support.

Next Presenters: Mark and Nick Trammell.

SGMA Class of 2013: Thomas Dorsey. Karen Peck Gooch sang “a song in his style”, Fix Me Jesus.

Sheri Easter read the nominees for Favorite Tenor. The winner is: Michael Booth. He recognized his wife, Vicki. He spoke of how he wishes he could do what Brian Free, David Phelps, and others can do, and how he would go off the road if it was anything other than Gospel music. He knows that anything he can do is because of God using him in song.

Brian Free & Assurance sang their top 10 nominated song, I Want to Be That Man.

Favorite Baritone: Jim Brady.  He talked about how songs make an eternal impact on people.

Phil Collingsworth, Sr. read the nominees (in which he mentioned Joseph Habedank as a soloist!) The Favorite Lead Singer is: Ronnie Booth. He spoke of the advice he gives new singers: “Seek ye first the Kingdom, and He will take care of the rest.”

Next Presenters: Debra Talley and Lauren Talley Alvey. Debra Talley confirmed that Tracy Stuffle was singing bass on the phone!

SGMA Class of 2013: “Little” Roy Lewis. In honor of Little Roy Lewis, the Perrys sang their top 10 nominated song, I Got A hold of God of God This Morning. Libbi has Tracy on FaceTime holding the phone right by the microphone! It looks like he might even be singing over the phone!  “Little” Roy Lewis scampered on the stage and said it was the biggest honor he has gotten. He also recognized J.D. Sumner.

Favorite Bass: Eric Bennett. He said he is overwhelmed. He thanks family and friends.

Favorite Traditional Quartet: Triumphant Quartet. Jeff Stice thanking the fans. He dedicated the award to their wives, who allow them to do what they do. Clayton thanked the rest of their team.

Favorite Mixed Group: The Collingsworth Family. Mr. Collingsworth talked of the hard work that is done. He said it is a joy to have four children who have fallen in love with this music. “To God be the Glory, great things he has done.”

Next presenters: Ronnie and Michael Booth.

SGMA Class of 2013 inductee: Polly Lewis. In honor of Polly Lewis, the McKameys sang, Unspoken Request. Sheri Easter accepted the honor for her mom. She told how her mother is now bed-ridden, and they told her several months ago that she was being inducted into the Hall of Fame, and the example and hero she has been to the family.

Favorite Non-Performing Songwriter: Dianne Wilkinson! She said the crowd has no idea how much it means to her that the award came from them, the fans. She said she is committed to writing the truth till Jesus comes back.

Tribute Quartet singing their top 10 nominated song, Good News From Jerusalem.

Eric Bennett read the nominees for Favorite Young Artist. The winner is: Olivia Collingsworth! In a completely unprecedented, and likely never-to-be-repeated streak, the Collingsworth Family has now had four consecutive Young Artist winners! Olivia says she loves the music, and thanks God for the privilege to sing this music!

Connie, Dean, and Mike Hopper are the next presenters. The announced the Favorite Trio: The Booth Brothers! Michael spoke of his great respect for the Couriers, and spoke of the responsibility all the “new” groups have to carry on.

SGMA Class of 2013 inductee: Duane Nicholson. In honor of Nicholson, the Kingdom Heirs sang their Top 10 nominated song, Just Preach Jesus. Mr. Nicholson told of how his original influence was the Blackwood Brothers. He thanked his family and Neil Enloe and other members of the group over the years.

Favorite Band: Gaither Vocal Band: Matthew Holt, Greg Ritchie, Kevin Williams. Kevin said he has been playing for the GVB for 20 years. Greg Ritchie thanked Jeff & Sheri Easter for 14 years in their band. Matthew Holt told of how he prayed at 7 years old that God would let him play for a quartet. Holt also thanked his wife, family, and the Gaithers. In closing, he thanked Tracy and Libbi Stuffle for their influence and sticking by him through the years.

The Favorite Musician is: Kim Collingsworth! This is historic since it is the first time in a long time that the previous winner did not halt their winning streak due to an untimely death. Mrs. Collingsworth said she is surprised and thanked the fans for their support and coming to concerts and praying for them. She thanked God and her family. Jeff Easter asked her to play a song, and some requests were yelled out from the audience. she ended up playing In the Garden.

Steve French announced the nominees for favorite musician.

Favorite Male Singer: Ronnie Booth.

Next presenters: Jeff Easter and Morgan Easter.  Jeff told Morgan to talk fast, and she did. She talked very fast and had a lot to say!

SGMA Class of 2013 inductee: John T. Benson, Jr. Mr. Benson died in 1966. In honor of Mr. Benson, The Triumphant Quartet sang their top 10 song, Take it From Me, Meshach.

Favorite Female Singer (nominees announced by Rodney Griffin): Libbi Stuffle! She received a standing ovation as she stood up and started making her way to the front! She said this has been the hardest year of her life, spending more time at home and at the hospital, but she said she will be back, Tracy will be back, together. Without the grace and mercy of God she could not be standing there. Nothing is impossible with God. She dedicated the award to Tracy.

Courtney Collingsworth said that 30,000+ awards were cast and introduced Mr. Bates who keeps the votes secure. Brooklyn then introduced Danny Jones and Les Butler of the Singing News.

The Award Show band played When We meet our Blessed Savior in the Sky. The band included Matthew Holt on piano, Roger Fortner on bass, Josh Singletary on keyboards, and Dennis Murphy on drums.

The audio is finally on, it was fixed in less than 10 minutes.  The first award is the Favorite Soloist award. Winner: Ivan Parker.

The show appeared to start off with the Collingsworth Family singing an up-temp song, but no audio. Does anyone know what it was?  Mrs. Collingsworth and her daughters appear to be the first hosts/ presenters.

The following award winners were announced before the show:

  • Favorite Small Market DJ: John Whisnant (WCIS Morganton, NC)

  • Favorite Medium Market DJ: Lottie Squires (WCKB Dunn, NC)

  • Favorite Large Market DJ: Daniel Britt (WXRI Winston-Salem, NC)

  • Favorite New Trio: Red Roots

  • Favorite New Traditional Quartet: The Old Paths

  • Favorite New Mixed Group: The Taylors

  • Favorite New Soloist: Steve Ladd



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Mike Holcomb leaves The Inspirations

Yesterday afternoon, The Inspirations announced that long-time bass singer Mike Holcomb has left the group.

Folks, we have an announcement to make. Today, October 1st, Mike Holcomb has announced that he is resigning from The Inspirations. Mike has been singing bass for 42 years with us, and is one of the greatest bass singers to ever step on the stage. However, not only is Mike an incredible singer, but he is an amazing preachers as well! He feels that it is time for him to begin a “new season” in his life, and will be hitting the road full time in preaching and singing evangelism. We know God will use he, and his sweet wife Bavaria, in a tremendous way, but we are devastated to lose him. We love Mike and Bavaria dearly.

If you would like to book Mike Holcomb at your church, conference, or camp meeting (and we HIGHLY recommend that you do) here is his contact info: Mike and Bavaria Holcomb / “Heart’s Desire Ministries” / PO Box 1007 / Bryson City, NC 28713 / (828) 488-2025 /

God bless you all, and keep us all in your prayers.

For decades, Holcomb and long-time tenor Archie Watkins were the vocal anchors of the group’s sound. Add in any lead singer and baritone, but keep Watkins and Holcomb in the mix, and it was still The Inspirations. Since Watkins’ departure, Holcomb has anchored the group’s sound.

It is a bittersweet moment for many of us who have observed The Inspirations for years. Holcomb’s heart for preaching—and skill at preaching—has been unmistakable for years. While we hoped Holcomb would stay on stage until the group sang its final notes and retired, I think we all knew, deep down, that there was a chance this day would come.

The preaching circuit has gained a great preacher, but the Southern Gospel quartet circuit has lost one of its finest bass singers.

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Chip Pullen replaces Jerry Pelfrey with Gold City

Gold City has announced that lead singer Jerry Pelfrey will be leaving the group in two weeks. His final day with Gold City will be Wednesday, October 16th. He will be reorganizing his family group, The Pelfreys. The new Pelfreys lineup will feature Jerry; his wife, Mikki Pelfrey; and his sister, Kim Pelfrey Van Hoozier.

Gold City manager Danny Riley commented: “Anyone who has heard Jerry sing knows he has been a great addition to Gold City vocally and behind the scenes as well. We could make this a sad occasion over losing a valued team member, but in reality, no one knows more the importance of traveling with family than my father (Tim Riley) and I. We respect Jerry for taking this opportunity to be with his family at this time in their lives. Gold City asks that you join us in praying for the Pelfreys that God would bless their ministry and allow them to do His work for many years to come.”

Jerry Pelfrey added: “I will be honest. I am scared to death, but ever since the song Lord of Life, I have had a burden to personally be more specific in asking people who Jesus is to them. Once I made the decision with my family to re-establish The Pelfreys, I have had a peace about it. We covet your prayers as we step out in faith to launch this new ministry.”

Gold City has hired Chip Pullen as their new lead singer; most recently, he sang with the Anchormen.

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George Amon Webster passes away

George Amon Webster, baritone for The Cathedrals for a decade (1969-1979), passed away last night. He had been battling cancer, strokes, and other health issues for several years. Due to declining health, he was in hospice for the last few months.

News of his passing was confirmed on social media by several fellow alumni from his years with the Cathedrals and with his own group, the Heartland Boys, in the 1990s. Tributes included:

  • Mark Trammell: “The first time I saw The Cathedral Quartet in person, George Amon Webster was the baritone/bass player. I was 13 years old. Just a few years later I was standing in his place. Amon was a dear friend and always treated me like I was somebody. I will always cherish his friendship and kindness. Rest in peace my friend.”
  • Bryan Hutson: “Just got word that my old singing buddy from “The Heartland Boys”; George Amon Webster passed away about 8:30pm tonight. George, Roy Tremble and Brent Fredricks gave me my first professional singing job. Amon has been battling cancer for several years.. Tonight he’s not suffering and is in the arms of Jesus.. Love ya George.”
  • Stuart Cary: “Just received the news of George Amon Webster’s passing. George was a member of the famed Cathedrals during the 1970’s, then managed the Heartland Boys for a number of years. I will forever appreciate George for taking a chance on a twenty year old bass singer. I had the privilege to sing with him for a year, he was a great mentor and friend. Please remember his family in prayer.”

Webster was one of the longest-running Cathedral Quartet members. George Younce and Glen Payne, of course, were founding members and remained there for the group’s entire run. Roger Bennett was with the group eighteen years, Mark Trammell ten and a half, and George Amon Webster ten. Since the Cathedrals became the biggest group in Southern Gospel in around 1981, this means that Webster was, until yesterday, the longest-serving member still living from the lean years.

Here’s a video of George Amon Webster singing and sharing the story behind his signature song, “He Loves Me.”

UPDATE, 9/30/13: Tim Webster, George’s son, posted:

We will be having a memorial service for my dad, George Amon Webster, at 11am on Saturday, October 5, 2013 at Colonial Hills Baptist Church 5375 W Mount Morris Rd. in Mount Morris, MI. My Uncle Dannie is also planning on having a service in Daytona Beach, FL. When I get all of that information I will post it.

Thanks to everyone for their kind words and condolences. Our family appreciates it more than we could ever say.

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Saturday News Roundup #190

Worth Knowing

  • Former Gold City tenor singer Jay Parrack had an unspecified health scare about a week ago. His former Gold City colleague Jonathan Wilburn posted on Tuesday that Parrack received an all-clear from his doctor.
  • Here’s an extensive update from Libbi Perry Stuffle on an odd doctor’s visit on the road to her husband Tracy’s ongoing stroke recovery.
  • Here’s an update from Soul’d Out bass singer Ian Owens on his wife Megan’s recovery.
  • After three months of rehab from a fall that broke her tailbone, Carolyn Reese has returned home. Reese is married to Kingsmen bass singer Ray Dean Reese.
  • The annual IBMA awards, honoring the best in Bluegrass, were handed out on Friday. Here’s a list. Perhaps the award of most interest to Southern Gospel fans will fall into the “better late than never” department: Beulah Land, as recorded by Marty Raybon, won Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year. Yes, it’s the same Squire Parsons song that our genre figured out was Song of the Year material thirty-two years ago. 🙂

Worth Watching

Here’s a recent video of former Cathedrals tenor Roy Tremble, singing solo:

Worth Discussing

It’s open thread Saturday—you decide!

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NQC announces live stream viewership

Yesterday, the National Quartet Convention issued a press release announcing the live-stream viewership for their Free Friday broadcast. They have had a paid live video streaming broadcast for several years; this year was the first year they made a day available for free. The broadcast was a runaway success:

The NQC has offered the Webcast for several years now; however, in celebration of the final year in Louisville, the NQC made the Friday webcast available to the public for free. NQC Free Friday far exceeded expectations and produced viewership from all over the world, including more than 10,000 people in 26 different countries. “NQC Free Friday featured a true event broadcast experience,” Beasley stated, “ with dedicated hosts hosting the broadcast throughout the day.”  In addition to viewing the festivities of NQC, 2013 over the NQC Webcast on a computer, subscribers to the Webcast for the first time ever were also  able to view the Webcast on their televisions through their Roku device. This proved to be so popular that the NQC Board has announced that it intends to ultimately make its Roku channel available to the public as a free channel. “This a great opportunity and yet another way for the NQC to grow and expose the great music of the NQC to the world,” Beasley shares. 

Now Freedom Hall seats 20,000, and—though it’s been a few years—it has sold out before. There were about 15,000 there on Friday night at NQC. (I don’t have any official numbers, but watching the webcast, the room safely looked to be 3/4 full). Now add in over 10,000 more, and do the math; it is far and away the most people who have ever watched an evening NQC program live. (That’s not even taking into account all the families and friends who watched together on the same screen!)

Kudos to ViewFinders and the rest of the technical team, who were able to keep the stream running smoothly despite the incredible amount of traffic.

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Mark Ellerbee passes away

Former Oak Ridge Boys drummer Mark Ellerbee passed away last Saturday in Tallahassee, Florida. Here’s his obituary (hat tip, Kyle). Ellerbee played drums for the Oak Ridge Boys for twelve years, from 1969-1981.

A Rusty Golden interview we published back in 2008 includes Golden’s recollections of Ellerbee, including a memorable story of Ellerbee’s role in a drama about the life of Christ.

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