The Southern Gospel Story Of My Life (1984) – Part 2

Kingsboys 84I mentioned that 1984 was a big year for this kid in that my family ventured out and attended an outdoor, week-long event; my first.  That event was the Hoppers annual concert at Watermelon Park in Berryville Virginia.  The Hoppers were holding this event at this specific location since the early 1970’s.

I remember the little concrete stage that faced the Shenandoah River; the crowds of people in their lawn chairs under the big oak trees that shaded the park.  It was a concert memory that I will never forget.  The event ran nine days (July 21-29, 1984), but my family didn’t arrive until Tuesday (July 24, 1984).  What was nice is that the Hoppers sang every night and each night except the last night they would open the program.  I will save the Hoppers segment for part three.

Also on the program the first night (07/24/84) was the Kingsmen and Kingsboys.  I already featured the Kingsmen in part one of 1984, so I will only include the Kingsboys in this feature.  The Kingsboys followed the Hoppers on stage this particular night and I remember seeing a group of kids, not much older than myself singing in a group and I thought how cool that was.  This was definitely a step up from me singing around the house to all my record albums.

It’s as if the group was a mini-Kingsmen and for the Kingsmen to follow them on stage was a major memory.  Here is a musical mash-up of what the Kingsboys would have staged in 1984.

Cathedrals 84Wednesday night (07/25/84) of the event opened with the Hoppers and there was only one other group on the program that particular evening; the Cathedrals.  This was my first time to see the group in concert.  By this point, Danny Funderburk was already singing tenor for the group.

While they didn’t quite match my favorite group as a kid (Kingsmen), I do remember the banter George and Glen had on stage.  I also remember the group singing and encoring, “Everywhere I Go” several times.  I couldn’t get to the record table fast enough to get that particular song.

I remember how the crowd loved them and the big ovation the group received after Glen performed “We Shall See Jesus”.  Here is a musical mash-up of what the Cathedrals may have staged in 1984.

Heaven Bound 84Thursday night (07/26/84) of the event came with the Hoppers opening the program.  The next group on the program was one I had seen several years earlier, Heaven Bound.

The group had the same personnel and I remember a couple of the songs performed from the last time I saw them; most notably, “Canaanland Is Just In Sight” and “We Are Those Children”.

Heaven Bound were the kings of encores and I believe they may have encored “Canaanland Is Just In Sight” at least five times.  Here is a musical mash-up of Heaven Bound’s 1984 stage program.

Nelons 84The group to headline that Thursday night concert was the Rex Nelon Singers.  This was the first time I had a chance to see the group in concert.  I became a fan of this group immediately.

They reminded me of the Hoppers, in that they had two male voices and two female voices in the group.  The crowd nor I could get enough of “We Shall Wear A Robe And Crown”.  I remember several encores and then Heaven Bound and the Hoppers joining them on stage to keep the song going.

Just when you thought the chorus was ending, Karen Peck would belt out another “I’m going to wear a crown” and the crowd would eat it up.  Three days in to my first week-long, outdoor event and the Rex Nelon Singers had become my favorite performers of the first three days.  Here is a musical mash-up of what the Rex Nelon Singers were staging in 1984.

I will close out part three of the 1984 feature with my final three days of the event.


One thought on “The Southern Gospel Story Of My Life (1984) – Part 2

  1. My husband, daughter and I all attended Watermelon Park sometime around 1986 or 1987. It was so wonderful. I have pictures of so many wonderful groups. I remember the Perrys with this lineup: Randy, Libby, Denise ?? and of course, the Chainsaw, Tracey Stuffle I also remember the Talleys with Lauren being barely old enough to come up and sing a song. I loved the Perry Sisters (I am from WV and so proud of them). We had never Charles Johnson and the Revivers but we left with some tapes (yes tapes) of them. There were the Kingsmen with Anthony Burger playing. Thank you for stirring up some wonderful memories. Are there still sings like than one still around?

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