DVD Tapings: “Majestic” (Kim Collingsworth) and “We Will Serve The Lord” (Collingsworth Family)

Last night, the Collingsworth Family recorded two live DVDs, Majestic and We Will Serve The Lord. The taping was at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium in Spartanburg, SC, a 3,244-seat venue that was at or very near capacity. As Phil Collingsworth Sr. noted in the introductions, it was the first live video they had recorded below the Mason-Dixon line.

First up was a Kim Collingsworth piano solo video, aptly entitled Majestic. The first song began with a grand orchestral flourish as Kim walked out on stage. In fact, the orchestration was so slow and dramatic that it would have taken even discerning listeners a few measures to realize it was “Goodbye, World, Goodbye.” After a verse or so, Kim kicked it into a faster gear and finished the song off in its customary convention style.

Two guest pianists, Tim Parton and Stan Whitmire, were present for the evening, and both joined in the opening medley. After Kim finished “Goodbye, World, Goodbye,” she slid off the piano bench as Tim Parton walked on stage to play “When The Saints Go Marching In.” Stan Whitmire played “When We All Get To Heaven.” Tim returned to the bench for “I’ll Fly Away.” Stan finished with “We Will Rise,” as Kim came over to the piano bench to play a third-hand high part.

For the rest of this part of the program, Kim would play one or two piano solos or medleys between segments that featured special guests. The first special guest was the Collingsworth Family, plus Brooklyn Collingsworth Blair’s husband William and Courtney Collingsworth Metz’s husband Michael; they came out on stage to sing the Maranatha/Promise Keepers oldie “Family Prayer Song,” written by Morris Chapman; Kim introduced it by noting that it was sung at her wedding.

The second special guest was her sixteen-year-old nephew Jesse Keep. After Kim shared the story of how he was diagnosed with eye cancer as an infant, and after seventy operations, lost one eye at age two and the other at age four, Timothy played “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” and played and sang “Think About His Love.” It was a deeply moving moment and received an enthusiastic standing ovation.

Kim played several more songs (one of which featured Courtney and Brooklyn on violins) before the next special guest, five of Kim’s nieces billed as the Keaton Cousins. These little girls were all between the ages of (approximately) five and nine, and sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to another hearty ovation.

Tim Parton and Stan Whitmire returned to the stage for the grand finale, a half-dozen or so songs that featured the three piano masters at three Yamaha Grand pianos—Kim at her personal Yamaha Grand and Tim and Stan at two more that had been rented for the occasion. After a Christmas medley (“Ring Christmas Bells” with “What Child is This”), they finished with several patriotic songs (“God Bless America,” “Stars and Stripes Forever,” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”) Kim dedicated them to her brother, who spent many years in the Armed Forces, and whom longtime fans will remember from the Christmas in Kosovo video.

After a half-hour intermission, they shifted gears to record a full-family DVD, We Will Serve The Lord. Most of the set list was pulled from their 2013 CD release The Lord is Good; they staged ten of the twelve songs. (The two they didn’t stage were “My Debt Was Paid” and “I Could Never Outlove The Lord.”)

The pacing of the set list was particularly interesting; based on audience response, it seems as though they saved all their strongest material of this second taping for its second half. The first half featured several fast, mid-tempo, and slow but subdued songs from The Lord is Good, along with two Kim Collingsworth piano solos, “He Set Me Free” and “His Hand in Mine.” There was a live band with Stan Whitmire on keyboard (and sliding over to the piano whenever Kim stood to sing), and noted studio musicians Jeremy Medkiff on bass guitar and John Hammond on drums.

At about the midway point, they featured Phil Jr. on the project’s lone big ballad, “How Great His Love For Me (with ‘Love Found a Pardon.’)” The next song, the old Frederick Lehman hymn “The Love of God,” was the vocal highlight of the night. It was a simple piano-and-voice arrangement; Brooklyn sang the first verse, with Kim playing piano and adding harmonies on a few lines. Phil Jr. sang the second, with Brooklyn and Kim singing power harmonies. It was both spectacular and exquisite, the sort of moment that transcends genre.

They introduced a new arrangement of “Be Thou My Vision,” featuring (in what I believe is a first for the family) all four of the family’s instrumentalists at once—Kim on piano, Phil Sr. on trumpet, and Courtney and Brooklyn on violins.

Kim introduced “Show a Little Bit of Love and Kindness” by playing a few measures in the “windshield-wiper” style in which she first learned the song as a child. Then Stan Whitmire slid over to the piano bench, as she stood to sing the song with her family. This song received the most enthusiastic audience response in the second half.

The final two songs were a new song, “God is Moving,” and the longtime Collingsworth classic “The Healer is Here.” The program concluded with a few more encores of “Show a Little Bit of Love and Kindness.”

The Collingsworth Family does a masterful job of mixing heartfelt performances with the utmost professionalism in their stage presentation. For as long as Southern Gospel has groups of this caliber, its future is in good hands.

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Friday News Roundup #223

Worth Knowing

  • The Old Paths announced that their current radio single, “Long Live the King,” written by Dianne Wilkinson and Chris Binion, is going to be a #1 hit on the Singing News charts.
  • The Collingsworth Family announced last Sunday (Mother’s Day) that Brooklyn Collingsworth Blair and her husband, Will, are expecting their first child in November.
  • Leslie Taylor Perkins of The Taylors gave birth to her first child—a son, Isaiah—on May 14. Leslie, her husband Aaron, and Isaiah will return to the road after several weeks of maternity leave.
  • Singing News announced the top five nominees for the 2014 Fan Awards.

Worth Watching

An early look at the Perrys with new lead singer Andrew Goldman:

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Song Snapshots #32: He’s More than Just a Swear Word (Couriers, Blackwood Brothers, Collingsworth Family)

Song Snapshots is a column featuring the stories behind new and classic Southern Gospel songs.

Neil Enloe’s father was a barber. He describes him as a “fun-loving, happy guy, who never had a sad day in his life.” But, Enloe recalls, “He loved his Lord, and he was dead serious about God. He was a great role model.”

“In his barber shop,” Enloe continues, “he could not stand to have the name of Jesus berated or blasphemed. In his shop, one wall had a sign, ‘No swearing, please.’ Another wall had a sign that said, ‘No profane language, please.’ My dad was a very crude person when it comes to design; he tore the flap off a cardboard box, and with a child’s crayon, he wrote a sign and thumb-tacked it to a third wall. And it said, and this one he made up, ‘A feller’s tougher who is not a cusser.’”

Enloe recalls the impact of his father’s stand: “So here I am, and going into my dad’s barber shop. In front of his customers, when they would blaspheme the name of the Lord, he would stop, mid-stroke, whether it was shaving, or cutting hair, or whatever, and he’d say, ‘Look, this is my Lord and my Savior, we don’t talk like that here.’ So at the expense of losing business, my dad stood up for his Lord, and that deeply impressed me as a little guy. So in the years that followed, I just decided to make a statement, too, and that’s where that song really came from, my childhood.”

The song was one of the most popular songs the Couriers ever introduced. It made the rounds in the 1970s; the Blackwood Brothers, Cathedrals, Dixie Echoes, Dixie Melody Boys, Downings, Florida Boys, Kingsmen, and Sego Brothers were among the groups who recorded it. After receiving little attention for decades, the song was recently brought back by the Collingsworth Family on their 2007 We Believe CD.

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Sharleanae Dotson (Collingsworth) to begin performing with The Collingsworth Family

On June 10th, Phil Collingsworth Jr. will marry his fianceé Sharlenae Dotson. In a post on their Facebook page yesterday, the Collingsworth Family posted a picture of Phil and Sharlenae singing together. The caption noted that it was “a new si[ght] that will be added to all Collingsworth Family performances shortly.”

The announcement did not specify whether Sharlenae would become an official group member, or whether Phil and Sharlenae’s performances together would be a separate duet portion of the program.

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Friday News Roundup #218

Worth Knowing

  • Longtime Diplomats bass singer Joe Brown has returned to the group.
  • Blackwood Quartet member David Mann is coming off the road due to voice issues. In an open letter, he commented: “My windpipe was full of mold that, I later found out, I had been breathing in from a mold infested vehicle. This problem had collapsed a portion of my airways, and prevented me from using more than 1/3 of my lung capacity.” On doctor’s advice, he has decided to pursue non-musical lines of work, at least for the next several years.
  • Roger Talley entertained the audience at a recent Talleys concert in Norway by coming on stage dressed in the costume of their Olympic curling team.

Worth Reading

On Monday’s “Creating Trends” post, Pat Barker posted insightful thoughts on the relative merits of gimmicks and the songs to back them up:

I was told by one of my managers in the early days of me traveling that most Gospel music fans were also wrestling fans. In those days I was still trying to be “High Church” in my presentation because that is how I was taught. The problem was that it wasn’t getting past the first row. His point was that most of the fans want a gimmick. They want something they can identify with every time they see you. That is true.

The dilemma is presenting the gimmick with class so it doesn’t come off as hokey or “local group” for lack of a better term. A gimmick can be anything from an old man to two microphones. It can also be a white flag or a passionate piano player. There has to be something that brings the people to the concert night after night.

Here, in my opinion, is where many groups miss the boat. YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE SONGS TO BACK UP THE GIMMICK! Glen was always the old man, but they didn’t have their greatest success till We Shall See Jesus. Brian Free was always precious, but Midnight Cry was their launching pad. Gerald has always made fun of Rodney, but Lazarus, to this day, has to be sung night after night. Thank God that at the end of the day, whether you like wrestling or not, It’s all about the song. That’s the way it should be and I hope that’s the way it always will be.

Worth Watching

One bass singer, Legacy Five’s Matt Fouch, interviews another, the Mark Trammell Quartet’s Pat Barker:

Also of note: Reality TV stars The Duggar Family attended a recent Collingsworth Family concert. They invited the Collingsworth Family over after the concert, and filmed and posted a video of the Collingsworth Family singing “God Bless America” a cappella in the Duggar’s living room:

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Kim Collingsworth recovering from neck issue

There has been a fair amount of concern in Southern Gospel circles over the last week over Kim Collingsworth’s health after she had to miss a concert last weekend. It was the first time she missed a concert in the fifteen years the group has been on the road. I had been asked if she was all right and how she was doing, but hadn’t heard anything until the Collingsworth Family posted this yesterday:

Many thanks to everyone that has prayed for and are asking about Kim’s condition. Over this past weekend, she had to be taken to the ER at St Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix to have a debilitating neck pain diagnosed. She missed her first performance in 15 yrs Saturday morning at the SWGF in Phoenix. She was diagnosed with acute Torticollis, which is a condition of the neck muscle contracting during sleep, then locking in place and not releasing. The doctor was able to treat it with meds and she was able to perform on Sunday at Skyline Church in San Diego. Again, thanks to each of you for your concern and prayers !!!

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CD Review: The Lord is Good (Collingsworth Family)

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The Lord is GoodYou simply can’t measure a Collingsworth Family recording with the same measuring stick you use for a Perrys or Hoppers recording. They aim for a different target. Their recordings are less in the tradition of the Happy Goodmans or Nelons and more in the vein of a 1970s Bill Gaither Trio or Henry & Hazel Slaughter. They occupy a niche so much their own in today’s stylistic spectrum that it’s hard to compare their new releases with anything except their own previous recordings.

In that light: Their last few mainline releases have had a song or two that stands head and shoulders above the rest, a signature song or defining moment. (Think “Fear Not Tomorrow,” “Resurrection Morn,” or “That’s The Place I’m Longing To Go.”) The Lord is Good doesn’t. This year, they did introduce such a song—”Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary”—but that song ended up on their new hymns release, reviewed here, instead of the mainline release.

Even though The Lord is Good doesn’t have a single defining moment, what it does have is twelve good songs that stand shoulder to shoulder with one another for a consistently enjoyable effort.

There is a mixture of the old and the new. The strongest uptempo song, “Show a Little Bit of Love and Kindness,” is a John W. Peterson song somewhere around a half-century old. “How Great His Love For Me,” a new song, has a bridge of the classic song “Love Found a Pardon”; the bridge is strong enough to make one wish the arrangement team had dispensed with the notion of using it as a bridge and simply added the entire classic to the song list.

Those two songs are also perhaps the two on the recording most likely to stand out to listeners whose frame of reference is other Southern Gospel releases. Both are excellently performed—Phil Jr.’s feature on “How Great His Love For Me” and Olivia’s feature on “Show a Little Bit of Love and Kindness” leave absolutely nothing to be desired. But the Collingsworth Family is probably at their best when they’re doing songs that wouldn’t find a place on most Southern Gospel mixed group projects. This is shown in songs like “There is Healing in His Hands,” “If He Hung The Moon,” or the album’s overall strongest moment, “God is Moving.”

Largely because their strongest performance of the year ended up on a project besides the mainline, The Lord is Good doesn’t quite bump The Answer (reviewed here) and Part of The Family (reviewed here) from their position as the group’s strongest two releases to date. But it’s one of their five best, as well as one of the ten best CDs released this year. It is well worth adding to any Southern Gospel collection.

Traditional or Progressive: Middle-of-the-road.

Group Members: Phil Collingsworth Sr., Kim Collingsworth, Brooklyn Collingsworth Blair, Courtney Collingsworth Metz, Phil Collingsworth Jr., Olivia Collingsworth.

Song List (songwriters in parentheses): I’ve Come Here To Tell You That The Lord is Good (Williams/Talley); It’s Not Too Late To Pray (Dianne Wilkinson, Rebecca Peck); Show A Little Bit of Love and Kindness (John W. Peterson); If He Hung The Moon (Kirk Talley); We Will Serve The Lord (Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey, Jeff Bumgardner); There Is Healing in His Hands (Allred); My Debt Was Paid (McCutcheon/Gillespie); God Is Moving (Kirk Talley); Living In Love With the Lord (McCutcheon); It Matters to the Master (McCutcheon); How Great His Love/Love Found A Pardon (Lindsey/Bumgardner with Sumner/Brown); I Could Never Outlove the Lord (Gaither).

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CD/DVD Review: Hymns from Home (Collingsworth Family)

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Hymns From Home

The opening has a cinematic elegance: Footage of candles and other scenes from the Collingsworth Family home lies underneath a brief narration from Phil Collingsworth Sr. about the importance and impact of hymns. Then the scene shifts outside, where soprano and oldest sister Brooklyn Collingworth Blair sings the first verse of Amazing Grace solo, against a lush backdrop of rural Ohio scenery. Phil Jr. joins for the second verse. Then the camera’s focus pulls back a little farther, and the other two siblings (Courtney Collingsworth Metz and Olivia Collingsworth) join in. For the final verse, parents Phil Sr. and Kim join the now-complete family ensemble.

Hymns From Home is a CD/DVD combination; the CD contains eighteen songs, while the DVD contains an extra opening song. The CD is not a separate studio recording; it is the audio from the live program, minus the opening song.

The remaining eighteen songs are as diverse a collection of performances as you will hear any Southern Gospel group pull off: Solos, duets, trios, quartets, full family ensembles; acapella, piano-and-vocals, songs with full orchestration; piano solos, violin solos, and violin duets. It would be challenging to find any other six people in our genre who could pull off a program of this diversity and caliber, let alone six members of a single family.

Other genres certainly have talented vocalists and instrumentalists. But many other genres rely on their productions—ten piece bands, hundred piece orchestras, light shows, or smoke shows. Southern Gospel, though, has been blessed with generation after generation of singers who need nothing but three or four vocalists and a piano player to absolutely command the spotlight. Make no mistake, the Collingsworth Family can do that, but they have been blessed with an even rarer and more remarkable talent: They can stand in the spotlight and deflect its focus to the message of the songs.

Nowhere, perhaps, is this more apparent than on this projects’ centerpiece, “Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary.” Its subtle brilliance leaves the spotlight clearly on the message.

Many of the hymns have appeared on the family’s previous projects, but since these are live renditions, there are a number of arrangement variations; also, the children’s voices have matured since the original renditions, leaving these superior in a number of cases. These factors, plus the new songs (including “Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary,” “The Love of God,” and “My Wonderful Lord”) make the project a must-buy for Collingsworth Family fans. It would also make an excellent Christmas present for family and friends who love the great hymns of the faith but are new to this genre.

Traditional or Progressive: Traditional with several orchestrated songs.

Group Members: Phil Collingsworth Sr., Kim Collingsworth, Brooklyn Collingsworth Blair, Courtney Collingsworth Metz, Phil Collingsworth Jr., Olivia Collingsworth.

Credits: Produced by Kim Ryan White. Tracks recorded by Melissa Mattey. Assistant engineer: Steve Blackman. Musicians: Kim Collingsworth (on-site piano), Jason Webb (studio piano, keys, Hammond B3); Dave Cleveland (guitars), John Hammond (percussion); Craig Nelson (upright and electric bass). Vocal and instrumental arrangements by Kim Collingsworth. Orchestrations arranged by Wayne Haun and performed by The Nashville String Machine, contracted by Carl Gorodetzky. Mixed by Melissa Mattey and Tommy Cooper. Mastered by Alan Silverman. Film edited by Jacob Ryan. Filming director: Russell Hall. Lighting director: Jeff Hockman. Behind the scenes and interview footage: Tim Antkowiak, Jacob Ryan. Review copy provided.

Song List: Amazing Grace (DVD only); Brethren We Have Met To Worship; Holy, Holy, Holy; Come Thou Fount; The Lord’s Prayer; Take Time To Be Holy; My Wonderful Lord; And Can It Be; When We All Get To Heaven; Covered By The Blood; Since Jesus Came Into My Heart; Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary; The Love of God; In The Garden; I Need Thee Every Hour; Unclouded Day; At Calvary; My Jesus I Love Thee; Amazing Grace.

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NQC 2013, Day 6: Live Blog

If you’re at NQC in person or watching on the live webcast, jump in and join the discussion in the comments area!

Highlights

In reverse chronological order:

  • “Till We Meet Again,” Legacy Five. It was fitting that the final full set at NQC was by the group that came directly out of the Cathedrals at their retirement.
  • “Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary,” The Collingsworth Family. There aren’t many singers or songs that could follow the emotional moment Freedom Hall just experienced. Perhaps the Collingsworth Family themselves, as good as they are, would have struggled prior to starting to sing this song earlier this year. But the song and the moment came together!
  • Freedom Hall came unglued again at the end of the Perrys set. There was an emotional and prolonged standing ovation for Libbi Perry Stuffle as she walked off stage. It’s one of the longest I’ve heard in convention history. Then, Libbi held up a cell phone with Tracy Stuffle on FaceTime, watching live; when the camera picked up Tracy live, there certainly could not have been a dry eye in the house.
  • During the Perrys’ set, the video crew played a video greeting from Tracy Stuffle, thanking everyone for their prayers. He closed with, “I’ll see you next year in Pigeon Forge. I love you!” At that, Freedom Hall came unglued.
  • The Mark Trammell Quartet’s entire set was perfectly paced. This time, it wasn’t a song that stood out—it was Mark Trammell’s classy and elegant introduction to “Too Much to Gain To Lose.”
  • “Movin’ Up to Gloryland,” The Voices of Lee. Verse one was performed like you’ve never heard it before; a young African-American man delivered the solo as a slow, jazzy, spectacular high tenor solo. The tempo kicked into the familiar high gear for the chorus and second verse. Another young man (this one Caucasian) did verse 2 as a bass solo. After a medley segment with “Just Over in the Gloryland,” the young man from verse 1 nailed the classic “Mo-ooo-ooo-vin” tenor feature on the final chorus. This young man, who was also featured on the following song, has a tremendous vocal talent and on-stage charisma. It would be an unexpected move, but it sure would be nice if one of the genre’s leading quartets hired him on board as their tenor after he graduates college.
  • The Kingdom Heirs’ set was strong beginning-to-end, with three recent #1 hits and the strongest slow song on their latest CD. They ended with all cylinders firing—the sort of ending that the Kingsmen loved to pull off when their live band was at its very finest.
  • After The Talleys’ set, Roger Talley stayed at the piano as Michael English walked on stage, singing “Going Home.” Dean and Kim Hopper walked on stage for chorus harmonies. After verse and chorus 1, Michael talked about losing his father three weeks ago, and how much the song meant to him at that point. He then sang verse two, going through the roof on the verse ending. 
  • The Talleys’ entire set. After one song with tracks, Roger Talley went to the piano for the next three. The piano-and-vocals-only portion of the set was a welcome change of pace from the rest of the evening. The high point of the night was “The Broken Ones,” The Talleys. Lauren Talley introduced it with an incredibly moving story a fan told her this week of how the fan shared it with a girl in an abusive situation, and how that girl learned the song and even sang it for her church.
  • “All is Well,” The Whisnants; Melissa shared how, about the same time the Whisnants recorded it, both her parents were diagnosed with cancer. The song came full circle, as the Whisnants’ version ministered to her. (Thanks be to God, both her parents beat cancer.) Melissa sang the song with them.
  • The Taylors’ set was strong beginning to end. It takes no small level of vocal confidence to attempt a complicated acapella arrangement to kick off an NQC set, and no small level of vocal talent to pull it off.

Live Play-by-Play

11:38: Dean Hopper closes by saying: “We love you very much. All these artists love you very much. Keep us in your prayers. See you at Pigeon Forge in 2014!” And with that, the Louisville era of the National Quartet Convention is in the history books.

11:08: The Finale begins with The Talleys singing “Testify.” Song 2: The Mark Trammell Quartet, “I Want To Know.” Song 3: The Perrys, “I Wish I Could Have Been There,” with Libbi FaceTiming Tracy as she sang. Guests, including Jeff Chapman, joined in by the end. Song 4: The Kingdom Heirs change up the pace completely with a piano-and-vocals rendition of “How Great Thou Art,” featuring Arthur Rice doing his signature hold-a-note-forever ending to the final verse. Song 5: “Show a Little Bit of Love and Kindness,” Collingsworth Family. Final song: “Statement of Faith” (Hoppers, Greater Vision, Booth Brothers, Legacy Five).

10:50: Legacy Five begins their set with “He Loves Me So.” It’s a good choice; after the emotional high point we’re still on after the Perrys moment and the Collingsworths’ solid set, most songs would have been jarringly out of place. That one fit. Song 2: “Ask Me Why.” Song 3: Scott Fowler shares memories; he was on the main stage (with the Cathedrals and then Legacy Five) at every single Louisville NQC. He uses those memories to introduce “Till We Meet Again.” Song 4: “Boundless Love.” And Michael Booth is on drums, which means things are about to get really good. (Let’s revise that. They were already really good. They’re about to get better.) They did.

10:50: We’re fourteen minutes behind schedule at this point, but given the sort of unforgettable moments that led to the delay, I doubt anyone minds.

10:29: The Collingsworth Family begins their set with “Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary.” See the highlights section! Song 2: “The Lord’s Prayer,” featuring Phil Jr. It was wise to do another piano-and-vocals song, I think, before bringing the energy level back up. Song 3: “At Calvary.” Another standing ovation! Song 4: “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” A Kim Collingsworth piano solo was listed in the schedule for the start of the set. But it just didn’t make sense to put it there, so it was moved to this slot. Song 5: “Hallelujah Chorus,” a piano solo; part of a medley with the previous song.

10:06: The Perrys start their set with “If You Knew Him.” This is their first time to stage at NQC after Joseph Habedank’s departure. Well, they pulled it off to a standing ovation! Song 2: “I Know It Was The Blood.” Song 3: “Celebrate Me Home.” Libbi Perry Stuffle nails her feature, as always. Then, there’s a video clip from Tracy Stuffle, thanking everyone for their prayers, and closing with “I’ll see you next year in Pigeon Forge. I love you!” That video clip got a standing ovation! Song 4: “This Old Sinner Testifies.” Leah Page, who has been filling on alto all year, came up for the final chorus. There is an emotional and prolonged standing ovation for Libbi as she walks off stage. See the highlights section!

9:48: The Mark Trammell Quartet begins their set with “How Long Has It Been.” Song 2: “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah.” Song 3: “Way Past Ready.” Song 4: After some heartfelt testimony and recollections, song 4 is “Too Much to Gain To Lose.”

9:47: Clarke Beasley pays a heartfelt tribute to NQC’s twenty-year run in Louisville, mentioning some of the greatest moments in Convention history.

9:21: The Voices of Lee start their a cappella set with “The Old Rugged Cross.” A young African-American man offered an excellent solo on the final verse. Song 2: “Movin’ Up To Gloryland”; see the highlights section! The choir director shared that the young man who sang the first verse lost his sister to brain cancer recently, introducing him on another song, the Chris Tomlin top 5 CCM radio hit “I Will Rise.” He did an excellent job on both.

9:16: Showcase winners: The Stevens Family, singing “Unclouded Day.”

8:59: The Kingdom Heirs begin their set with “Tell Me Why.” Song 2: A second #1 hit, “Just Preach Jesus.” Song 3: “That’s When I’ll Know I’m Home,” one of the strongest songs from their current CD. Song 4: They close with their current #1 hit, “Just Beyond the Sunset.” Watch for a big ending! Afterwards: The video cutaway to Josh Singletary absolutely beside himself in excitement at the power ending was really neat.

8:58: Clarke Beasley came on stage and noted that attendees of the 2012 NQC reserved 2,600 hotel rooms that week for NQC 2013. He said it would interest anyone wondering if the move would be a flop to hear that, this year, over 5,000 rooms were reserved for NQC 2014!

8:52: See the highlights section!

8:35: The Talleys begin their set with “The Promise.” Song 2: Debra Talley sings her signature song, “Thinkin’ ‘Bout Home.” Roger Talley went over to the piano for this one; it’s a simple piano-and-vocals-only rendition that’s a welcome change of pace. In fact, it’s been two hours since the last piano-and-vocals-only song (and I’m not even really sure if we should count that one, since it was Susan Whisnant singing “Happy Birthday” to her son!) Song 3: “The Broken Ones.” (See Highlights section.) Song 4: “Orphans of God,” performed as a medley with “The Broken Ones.”

8:31: A video is played of highlights from the week. At this point, it looks like we’re now seven minutes behind. (A video clip from a past NQC, scheduled for 8:06, was bumped to bring us closer.)

8:17: The Down East Boys start their set with a medium fast song, “Every Word in The Word.” Lead singer/manager Ricky Carden has the solo. Song 2: “I’ve Got That Old Time Religion.” Song 3: Tenor Tony Jarman is featured on a strong slow song, “I Won’t Trade My Crown.” Song 4: “Waiting For The Day.”

8:02: The Crist Family begins their segment with “Where it All Comes From,” from their CD that (officially) releases next Tuesday. Song 2: Their new radio single, “The Closer I Get To The Cross.” Song 3: “Great Beyond,” from their debut recording. Song 4: The Crist Family closes strong with “Lift Up The Cross.”

7:57: An ad for TBN. We’re now twelve minutes behind schedule.

7:53: Showcase winner: High Road III. This isn’t the first time they’ve been on the main stage; I seem to think they’ve been a showcase winner before, and they also provided instrumentation for the Grassroots Rambos set a year or two back. They’ve never disappointed, either.

7:34: Tribute Quartet takes the stage, starting with their signature song, “Good News From Jerusalem.” If this is the start, then they surely must have something pretty incredible planned for the ending! Song 2: They do their version of Greater Vision’s classic “God Wants To Hear You Sing”—but as an Anthony Davis bass solo instead of Greater Vision’s tenor solo. Song 3: “Outside the Gate.” They went into the audience for an a cappella encore. It was quite the challenge for the camera crew (filming in the dark) and the audio crew (avoiding feedback), but it was effective for the audience.

7:17: The Kingsmen start their set with “Meet Me At The Table.” Les Butler is making a guest appearance on piano. Song 2: “I Will Rise Up From My Grave.” Song 3: “Land of the Free.” Song 4: “Stand Up”; an energetic ending.

6:57: The Primitive Quartet starts with “You’ve Been So Gracious To Me.” Song 2: “God Can.” Song 3: “I’ll Be Waiting At The River For You.” Song 4: “I Wonder What They’re Doing In Heaven Today.” Song 5: They close strong with “No Longer an Orphan,” quite possibly their most-beloved song.

6:51: Penny Loafers sing “Ain’t Got Time to Die” (? on title). The Primitive Quartet evidently isn’t set up yet, so Dean Hopper asked for a second song, “That’s When the Angels Rejoice.” At this point, we’re about seven minutes behind schedule.

6:35: The Whisnants begin their segment with “I’m In The Gloryland Way.” Song 2: It’s Ethan Whisnant’s 16th birthday today; he stands as Susan sings “Happy Birthday” to him. Song 3: The Whisnants bring up Melissa Brady to sing “All Is Well” with them. (See the highlights section!) Song 4: “New Day Dawning.” Encore: Melissa Brady, Kim Hopper, and Jim Brady join on stage. The audience is on their feet!

6:33: Several minutes of recording audience applause for later editing. This always a fun segment.

6:14: The Taylors begin their set with “I Can Call on Jesus Anytime / Operator,” performed acapella. There were some microphone feedback issues; they worked past those flawlessly, like the true professionals they are. Song 2: “Oh, I Want to See Him.” The Taylors are performing a very strong set. Song 3: “I’m Gonna Make It.”

6:09: The Browns had another instrumental feature; they performed “I Sing the Mighty Power/Canon in D” with three fiddles. They have had a number of instrumental features this week in addition to their mainstage headliner slots, and I believe they have performed this in three or four of them. In past years, the instrumental showcase slots were spread between a half-dozen players, most of them pianists. Most of those slots were given to the Browns this year; perhaps it is because fewer groups carry a pianist than in past years?

5:57: 11th Hour starts their set with “Steppin’ Out.” Song 2: Outgoing soprano Candice Jordan, who recently announced her upcoming departure from the group, sings the solo on the group’s biggest song so far, “Room With a View.” Song 3: “Adam’s Fall,” featuring alto Amber Eppinnette. This was a professional, nicely-paced set; the group acquitted themselves well for their first headliner (i.e. non-showcase-winner) appearance on the mainstage.

5:55: Dean and Kim Hopper will host this evening.

5:51: Dean Hopper leads an audience singalong, with Gerald Wolfe on piano.

5:46: Greater Vision sings “My Name is Lazarus.”

5:39: Tim Lovelace talks with audience members via the fan cam.

5:37: Showcase winner: The Erwins are singing a song you may have heard the Kingdom Heirs do twenty years ago, “That Very Moment.” There are three brothers and a sister; the sister, who is the youngest, isn’t merely good for her age; she’s good, period, and exceptional for her age. Tim Lovelace talked with her after the song and found out that she was twelve.

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NQC 2013, Day 5: NQC Music Awards

Daniel is at work, so Daniel’s Siblings are live-blogging the afternoon showcases.

For all those who signed up, remember the Friday NQC coverage is free!

3:25 Favorite Male Group: The Booth Brothers. Ronnie: “This is called a Quartet Convention award…” Michael, “We did a quartet album this year, so we’re okay.”

3:19 Les & Clarke Beasley brought on stage to explain that a CPA firm validates the results. They introduced the individuals representing the firms. The Southern Gospel Music Guild chooses a business who has made an impact on Southern Gospel. This year’s winner of the Les Beasley Impact Award is Herschend Properties, the parent company of Silver Dollar City and Dollywood.

3:16 Favorite Song: “I Played in the Band” by the Booth Brothers. Michael Booth talking about Bill Gaither believing in the body of Christ and each person doing there part to honor the Heavenly Father.

3:12 Booth Brothers singing “I Played in the Band.”

3:07 Favorite Album: Through the Night! The Perrys.  Libbi, “I’m totally blown away.” David Ragan has his baby on stage with him! Bryan Walker and Leah Page are up there with Libbi. She is saying how Tracy usually is the one who accepts the awards and has something to say. She never dreamed they would live every song of the album. Every song needs to have a message and say something and be scriptural. Someone will need it. This year she was one of those people who needed the songs (and songs from other artists). Libbi thanking Leah for helping and being her right arm and doing an incredible job. She’s thanking the guys in the group and is asking for prayer. Libbi said “Next year, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Tracy Stuffle will be there.”

3:05 Radio Stations of the Year: WGUS & FWFC.

3:05 Promoter: Landon Beene.

3:05 Producer of the Year: Ben Isaacs.

3:04 The Hosts are introducing Autumn, the award girl.

3:00 Favorite Songwriter: Dianne Wilkinson…and the feed went down! She didn’t expect it. She is saying how she feels such a responsibility. “Sinners need to be saved. Christians need to be encouraged, The Church needs to be awakened, and God needs to be Glorified.”  Thanking the singers and studio players, who do her songs. She is overcome!

2:55 Hoppers singing, “He Didn’t Just Carry the Cross, He Carried Me.” Claude was absent, but Mike and Karlye were singing, making the Hoppers a five part group.

2:53 Video of the Year: “I Wanna Be That Man” by Brian Free and Assurance. BF&A were not in town, touring in North Carolina. The producer accepted the award for them.

2:50 Presenter Gordon Mote brought on and said his trick worked. “I swapped glasses with Kim Collingsworth and it worked!” referring to when she said she couldn’t see to read what was on her card. They continued with a series of humor as would be expected from Mote, Williams, and Easter. The crowd was laughing!

2:46 Favorite Bass: Eric Bennett. Says he’s amazed. Every bass loves to do what he does. “All of them deserve to be up here.” He hopes to never let the fans down. He’s thankful for his wife, the super guys he travels with, and to God.

2:43 Kim Collingsworth’s card didn’t say who was to sing next, so she said, “Whoever is supposed to sing now, come out and they’ll welcome you.” Greater Vision appeared and sang, “He Didn’t When He Could Have Passed By.”

2:41 Favorite Lead:  Ronnie Booth. He said, “I don’t know what to say.” He talked about growing up in Florida, hearing his dad sing for the Rebels Quartet. He talked about the day when there will be an award show like no other and we will lay our awards at Jesus’ feet.

2:40 Presenter Kim Collingsworth introduced. She will be presenting the Favorite Lead award.

2:36 Triumphant Quartet singing “Take it From Me, Meshach.”

2:32 Favorite Tenor: David Phelps. “I’m just amazed by this.”  He’s thanking the fans. “I have nothing other than great appreciation for this.” He loves singing for the people in the seats.

2:29 Legacy Five singing “I’m Still Amazed.”

2:26 Favorite Soprano: Kim Hopper. Saying thanks to the fans. It has been a wonderful year, but one of the most trying years of her life. She was sick at the beginning of the year and enjoyed being at home with her kids, but became homesick for being on the road, doing what God has called her to do, encourage the Christians. She is thankful for God’s sustaining grace.

2:24 The Hosts brought up Josh Singletary as the next presenter.

2:14 Favorite Musician: Kim Collingsworth. Kim’s says she’s at a loss for words. Before she is a musician, she is a wife and a mama. Thankful for parents who introduced her to music and taught her to love God with her heart, soul, and mind. Thankful to her visionary husband. Matthew Holt asked her to play a song.  Kim played “His Eye is On the Sparrow” with just the piano–no tracks! She got a partial standing ovation.

2:09 Kingdom Heirs singing “Just Beyond the Sunset.”

2:07 Favorite Baritone: Jim Brady. “This music is all I ever wanted to sing.”  Psalm 37:4 is true. He is doing the desire of his heart, singing for the Lord. Thanked Booth Brothers, his wife, Melissa Brady, and NQC.

2:05 Presenter Matthew Holt introduced.

2:01 Favorite Alto: Sheri Easter. Sheri saying how she watched Libbi and was thinking of the Grace of God that it takes to sing on stage after 30 years of it being different. “We are blessed.” Sheri thanking fans.

1:57 The Perrys sang “I Got A Hold of God.” (Libbi Perry Stuffle, David Ragan, Bryan Walker)

1:53 Favorite Mixed Group: The Collingsworth Family! Phil Sr. saying 10 years ago, they never envisioned standing here.  He thanked fans for their support and prayers.

1:49 Presenter Jeff Stice brings on the Gaither Vocal Band to sing their top ten nominated song “Glorious Freedom.”

1:47 Favorite Soloist: Guy Penrod! Guy Penrod is in Canada so Jeff Easter held his award for him.

1:45 First hosts: Kevin Williams and Jeff Easter.

Dixie Stampede sponsored the Gaither Sing-a-Long, and it looks like Dollywood is sponsoring the Awards show.

1:42 The NQC Music award show was kicked off by Gordon Mote. There was no microphone at the piano and he shouted something about someone saying he didn’t need a microphone. A microphone promptly appeared at the piano and he started with “Ain’t It just Like the Lord.”  As long as the feed stays up, we plan on bringing you play by play coverage of the award show!

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