2013 NQC – Saturday Night Recap

Photography by:  Jake HarshThe final notes of the 2013 National Quartet Convention have been sung.  I felt Saturday held a lot of powerful moments to close out the NQC’s run in Louisville.  So on this final recap, I will only be offering the highlights.

    • There were many memories talked about tonight from the twenty years the convention has been in Louisville.  There were two more big moments that were created tonight that will forever be etched in my memory.
    • The first was the out pouring of love the convention crowd showed Libbi and Tracy Stuffle.  The video message from Tracy made it all the more memorable.  Something those in attendance or viewing will not forget.
    • The second was the impromptu performance with Michael English, Dean Hopper, Kim Hopper and Roger Talley on piano.  The trio performed “Going Home”.  Michael mentioned his father’s passing.  This performance was one of the best of the entire week!
    • I thought several groups saved their best performances (sets) until closing night.  They included (in order of appearance), Tribute Quartet, Talleys, Kingdom Heirs, Mark Trammell Quartet and the Collingsworth Family.
    • The Voices of Lee brought Glee to the NQC.  Actually what they brought tonight was a thousand times better than anything you would ever see on Glee.
    • Can I petition now to give both High Road III and the Erwins full sets next year.  I have been impressed with the talents of High Road III since I first heard them two years ago.
    • I enjoyed the little shout out Tribute Quartet gave the Wilburns with their performance of “Outside The Gate”.  The Wilburns, when performing that song 20 years ago, would always finish up out in the crowd.
    • All in all, in has been a great close to 20 years in Louisville KY.  I remember attending the first in 1994 and all the memories I have taken home over the course of the many years I attended in Louisville.


Favorite NQC (Louisville) Memories (no particular order):

  1. In 1994, witnessing Kenny Hinson’s last performance on the main stage when the Hoppers called the Hinsons up during their set to sing “The Lighthouse”
  2. Seeing an NQC crowd (in 1995) stand to its feet in thunderous applause when JD Sumner was performing “God Still Lives In This Old House” and JD not being able to continue the song because he was in tears.
  3. Being in attendance (1999) when Glen Payne called in from his hospital bed and sang “I Won’t Have To Cross Jordan Alone”.
  4. Seeing nearly 20,000 come unglued and all standing when “Shouting Time” by the Hoppers was at the height of its popularity in 1998/1999.  It was a sight to behold.
  5. Being there for the retirements of the Speer Family and the Florida Boys.
  6. In 1994, hearing the opening notes of “I Hold A Clear Title” and then see Howard and Vestal Goodman with Johnny Minnick walking down the aisle to the stage singing.
  7. Seeing the Ruppes turn an awards show (in 1997) in to a worship service when they performed their nominated song that year, “Under His Wings”.
  8. Seeing crowds come unglued when certain songs at the height of their popularity were performed.  Some of those include:  “Blind Man Saw It All” (Booth Brothers), “Four Days Late” (Karen Peck & New River), “I Am Redeemed” (Poet Voices), “My Name Is Lazarus” (Greater Vision), “Please Forgive Me” (Crabb Family) and so many more.
  9. Having the chance to see some of my heroes either for the first time or the last time before their passing:  Wendy Bagwell, Howard Goodman, Jim Hamill, Kenny Hinson, Glen Payne and JD Sumner.


**Now to crown the best of the night:

Best single song performances (in order of appearance):  (1) “That Very Moment” – Erwins  (2) “Adam’s Fall” – 11th Hour  (3) “All Is Well” – Whisnants  (4) “Ain’t Got Time To Doubt” – Penny Loafers  (5) “I Wonder What They’re Doing Now” – Primitives  (6) “Outside The Gate” – Tribute Quartet  (7) “Keep Your Lamps” – High Road III  (8) “Thinkin’ About Home” – Talleys  (9) “Going Home” – Michael English, Dean and Kim Hopper  (8) “I Will Rise” – Voices Of Lee  (8) “Too Much To Gain To Lose” – Mark Trammell Quartet  (9) “If You Knew Him” – Perrys  (8) “Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary” – Collingsworth Family

Best Set of the Night:  After the emotions experienced following the Perrys set, the Collingsworth came out and kept that flowing with three slower style, but powerful songs that had me shouting before they were done.  In a great close to the week, I’ll give it to the Collingsworth Family.



2013 NQC – Friday Night Recap

Gaither_Vocal_BandThe penultimate night of the 2013 National Quartet Convention is now in the record books.  It was a full day that started with the Gaither sing-a-long this morning.  Here are the nights hits and misses.

  • The Gaither sing-a-long highlights (in order of appearance) were:  “There Is A Fountain” (David Phelps), “Heaven’s Jubilee” (Keith Oxendine), “What A Lovely Name” (Libbi Stuffle), “I Call Him Lord” (Becky Bowman, Mark Lowry, Charlotte Ritchie) and “Glorious Freedom (GVB).
  • The Gaither Vocal Band really saved the best for last when they closed the program with “It Is Finished”.  It was a fitting end because nothing could have followed that performance.
  • It was good to see Taranda Greene singing with the Hoppers tonight.  “The Love Of God” with Dean, Kim, Taranda and Mike with just piano was amazing!
  • Thank you Bill Gaither for giving Canton Junction two songs.  Too bad a limited tour schedule will keep this group from reaching a larger Southern Gospel concert audience.
  • I enjoyed seeing Karen Peck Gooch and Kelly Nelon singing “We Shall Wear A Robe And Crown” together.  Also each group’s individual sets were very good.
  • The showcase artists that performed tonight were some of the best of the week.  Early on, Freedom Quartet sang “Somebody Touched The Lord” while the Browders pulled out another future #1 late in the evening with “He Is Alive”.  But the showcase artist performance that stood out to me was the Wilbanks and their fantastic performance of the 23rd Psalm.  Unlike anything I have ever heard!

  • As with most Friday nights at NQC, the program ran over.
  • The free night interview cut-ins, cut out some of what was happening including the Penny Loafers and the opening to Karen Peck & New River’s set.
  • I believe this was the first time in the ten years since they started staging it that the Hoppers didn’t perform “Jerusalem” at NQC.
  • Performances that seemed to fall flat (at least from viewing it via webcam), in order of appearance are as follows:  Dennis Family (“I’ve Got Joy”) and Rick Webb Family (“Joy To The World”).


**Now to crown the best of the night:

Best single song performances (in order of appearance):  (1) “I’m Glad I’m Saved” – Bowling Family  (2) “The Lord Is My Shepherd” – Wilbanks  (3) “More Than Wonderful” – Nelons  (4) “The Love Of God” – Hoppers  (5) “If That Isn’t Love” – Isaacs  (6) “On The Banks Of The Promised Land” – Karen Peck & New River  (7) “The Son Shines Down On Me” – Canton Junction  (8) “That Sounds Like Home To Me” – Gaither Vocal Band  (9) “The King Is Coming” – Mark Trammell Quartet  (8) “Get Up, Get Ready” – Gold City  (8) “He Is Alive” – Browders  (9) “I Know A Man Who Can” – Greater Vision  (8) “It Is Finished” – Gaither Vocal Band

Best Set of the Night:  This was a tough one because there were several strong sets to choose from, but if I was combining their entire set with the closing number I would give it to the Gaither Vocal Band.

2013 NQC – Thursday Night Recap

PerrysThe final notes of Thursday night of the 2013 National Quartet Convention is now floating through space somewhere.  Here are the nights hits and misses.

  • The day started early with the Gaither/Gatlin/Booth showcase.  Enjoyed the program especially “Greatly Blessed, Highly Favored” (all), “Healing Stream” (Isaacs), “Help Me” (Gatlin Brothers), “Stubborn” (Michael English) and “Through” (Booth Brothers).
  • The evening concerts kicked off with a talented bluegrass family; Southern Raised.  They could pick with the best of ’em.
  • Libbi Stuffle’s testimony tonight was heart-felt, motivational and powerful.  You could feel every word she was saying.  To follow it up with “I Rest My Case At The Cross” made it one of the most powerful musical moments of the night.
  • There were some strong a cappella moments tonight from the Collingsworth Family, Isaacs and Penny Loafers.
  • Another strong closing for tonight’s program.  The NQC decided to put last year’s Singing News fan award winners for favorite quartet (Triumphant), trio (Booth Brothers) and mixed group (Collingsworth Family) back to back to back to close the program.  It looked like the crowd stuck around to hear all three.
  • Of the showcase artists that made their way to the main stage tonight, I enjoyed the performance by Back Home; “Tell The Mountain (About Your God)”.

  • Another TBN commercial.
  • I hope it doesn’t sound too harsh when I say I really dislike the Browns song “A Place In The Choir”.  I know it is supposed to be a kids song, but the ‘old macdonald had a farm’ feel too it was too much for me.  And then to encore it; well I’ll stop.
  • Performances that seemed to fall flat (at least from viewing it via webcam), in order of appearance are as follows:  Paul’s Journey (“I’m Living In Canaan Now”), Browns (“A Place In The Choir”) and Mark Bishop (“I Got Here As Fast As I Could”).


**Now to crown the best of the night:

Best single song performances (in order of appearance):  (1) “Jesus Will” – Wilburn & Wilburn  (2) “Tell The Mountain (About Your God)” – Back Home  (3) “I’m Winging My Way Back Home” – Dixie Echoes  (4) “I Rest My Case At The Cross” – Perrys  (5) “Waiting In The Water” – Isaacs  (6) “He’s Alive” – Talleys  (7) “I’ll Worship Only At The Feet Of Jesus” – Hoppers  (8) “Come Unto Me” – Greater Vision  (9) “Because He Loved Me” – Triumphant Quartet  (8) “Since Jesus Came” – Booth Brothers  (8) “Come Thou Fount” – Collingsworth Family

Best Set of the Night:  One set stood out above all others tonight; the Perrys.

2013 NQC – Wednesday Night Recap

TQWednesday night of the 2013 National karaoke, oops I mean Quartet Convention is now complete.  Working late didn’t get me home until the Dixie Melody Boys hit the stage so I missed Soul’d Out and the Kingsmen.  Here are the nights hits and misses.

  • I commend folks who can sit and listen to five straight hours of nothing but all male quartet music.  Or those, who can attend an all day bluegrass music festival.  I enjoy both but I get bored easily (always been that way).  I need variety to keep me interested and focused or my mind wanders.  Tonight, I found myself wandering quite a bit.
  • The Dixie Melody Boys turned in another strong set with nothing but live music!  Ed made a good hire when bringing Aaron Dishman aboard.  His performance of “Hello Mama” with just piano and bass accompaniment was outstanding.  Can groups see you don’t have to hire a ton of musicians to use live music.  The Dixie Melody Boys pulled off a great musical moment with just piano and bass.
  • Thanks to the NQC for honoring the 58 year legacy of the Couriers.
  • While the track was over-powering, it was nice to see a quartet from Brazil.  Sometimes we forget the reach Southern Gospel music has in the digital age.
  • I got my second wind by the end of the evening and thought it ended strong with Legacy Five, Gold City and Triumphant Quartet.
  • Thank you Brian Free for bringing up Karen Peck Gooch to help on “Looking For A City” and breaking up the monotony of the night.

  • Announcing your partnership with TBN (with a full TBN television commercial) is embarrassing considering the scandals that have hit them the last couple of years.
  • Some of the ‘scrap’ quartets they threw together were funny but took up too much time.  It may have been better to just scrap that idea.
  • Martin Cook announcing from the stage that he was fined $200 last year for running over, I thought was tactless.  You know the rules.  Run over you get fined.  I bet he loved the year he encored “I Have Not Forgotten” at least 50 times and ran over about 20 minutes.
  • Performances that seemed to fall flat (at least from viewing it via webcam), in order of appearance are as follows:  Torchmen (“One Way Trip”), Confused Quartet (“Have A Little Talk With Jesus”) and Kingdom Heirs (“Just Beyond The Sunset”, 2 nights in a row – ouch),.


**Now to crown the best of the night:

Best single song performances (in order of appearance):  (1) “Hello Mama” – Dixie Melody Boys  (2) “Come And See” – LeFevre Quartet  (3) “Safe Thus Far” – Tribute Quartet  (4) “We Are Those Children” – Old Paths  (5) “Redeeming The Time” – Kingdom Heirs  (6) “Wedding Music” – Mark Trammell Quartet  (7) “We Shall See Jesus” – Legacy Five  (8) “Welcome To Heaven” – Triumphant Quartet

Best Set of the Night:  For turning in a strong close to the evening and performing a better set than their Monday set, I will give set of the night to Triumphant Quartet.

2013 NQC – Tuesday Night Recap

dmbTuesday night of the 2013 National Quartet Convention is now in the record books.  Here are the nights hits and misses.

  • The courage Libbi Stuffle displayed to even be in attendance was heart-felt.  Prayers continue for Tracy.
  • Several quartets displayed some strong singing tonight.  They included the Dixie Melody Boys, Gold City, Legacy Five and Ernie Haase & Signature Sound.
  • The respect I have for Ed O’Neal could fill volumes.  He was the first quartet man I remember as a youngster and I am glad he is still singing.  Great job on “What Remains Of Me”.
  • It was refreshing to hear some more live music tonight during the Inspirations set.  I sure miss hearing the steel guitar in Southern Gospel music.
  • Jason Crabb continues to prove he is one of the best artists touring right now.  Enjoyed “What The Blood Is For”.
  • The Penny Loafers pulled off two more great a cappella features during their segment.

  • There continued to be problems with the webcast cutting out.  I think tonight was due to certain high volume log-in times because the down times centered around certain artists.
  • The Cathedrals remembered segment will be remembered, but not for the performance.  For Mark Trammell to not even know the words to the song is something that happens to every artist, but you think they would have at least rehearsed it before the performance.
  • The showcase artists that performed on the main stage tonight were forgettable.  The one even sang a Perrys song knowing the Perrys were to perform later in the evening.
  • Performances that seemed to fall flat (at least from viewing it via webcam), in order of appearance are as follows:  McKameys (“I Sing A Song”), Ernie Haase & Signature Sound (“Oh What A Savior”), the Cathedral remembered segment, Lore Family (“If You Knew Him”) and Kingdom Heirs (“Just Beyond The Sunset).


**Now to crown the best of the night:

Best single song performances (in order of appearance):  (1) “When He Speaks” – McKameys  (2) “It’s In The Savior’s Hands” – Inspirations  (3) “Shut The Door” – Penny Loafers  (4) “Valley Of Tears” – Dixe Melody Boys  (5) “Everywhere I Go” – Legacy Five  (6) “Scars In The Hands Of Jesus” – Ernie Haase & Signature Sound  (7) “Calvary  Conquers It All” – Gold City  (8) “What The Blood Is For” – Jason Crabb  (9) “When He Spoke” – Perrys  (10) “Move The Stone” – Whisnants  (11) “Anything Is Possible” – Brian Free & Assurance

Best Set of the Night:  I went back and forth on this one.  There were some really strong single song performances but no full set that just wowed me.  I really enjoyed the new music performed by the Dixie Melody Boys, so I will give them set of the night.

2013 NQC – Monday Night Recap

Sneed FamilyThe 2013 National Quartet Convention is under way and night one is now complete.  Another year to ‘arm chair quarterback’ the event from my home (watching via webcast).  As I have done in the past, I will offer hits and misses of each night.  Also the comments section is open to allow you to offer your own insights in to each evening of the 2013 NQC.

  • I thought the first night of NQC 2013 was fairly uneventful.  There were several strong sets early in the evening.
  • The first was the Lesters.  They were sounding great as an all male trio.  This was the first time for me to hear them in that vocal configuration.  Their blend was exceptional.
  • The Sneed Family hit a home run by performing with a live band.  This group is about 40 years too late.  The set they performed this evening with a live band would have made them a huge hit in the 1970’s.  Here ‘s hoping listeners in 2013 are brave enough to give group’s that actually use live music some love.
  • Excellent choice for the NQC board to choose the Penny Loafers for the a cappella moments this year.  While I miss Sisters, the Penny Loafers were great.
  • We got standard fare from the Booth Brothers, Collingsworth Family, Greater Vision, Hoppers and Triumphant Quartet.  While none of the sets were horrible, they didn’t provide any monster (I’ll be talking about that tomorrow) type performance.
  • Of the showcase artists that made their way on to the main stage tonight, I thought Sherry Anne’s performance of “God On The Mountain” stood out.
  • The NQC webcast is great in terms of picture quality (definitely HD) and sound this year, but on another note…

  • Did anyone else have problems with the webcast cutting out throughout the entire evening?  Early on the webcast was down for over a half hour.  Here’s hoping these kinks get worked out as the week progresses.
  • Performances that seemed to fall flat (at least from viewing it via webcam), in order of appearance are as follows:  Browns (“A Place In The Choir”), Squire Parsons (“Go Out With A Shout”) and Ivan Parker (“Midnight Cry”).


**Now to crown the best of the night:

Best single song performances (in order of appearance):  (1) “My Lord Will Lead Me Home” – Lesters  (2) “More To Go To Heaven For” – Sneed Family  (3) “A Cappella Medley” – Penny Loafers  (4) “Empty Me Lord” – Primitive Quartet  (5) “The Blood Of Jesus” – Collingsworth Family  (6) “He Didn’t Just Carry The Cross” – Hoppers  (7) “I’m Free” – Booth Brothers

Best Set of the Night:  For night one, it was a toss-up between the Lesters and the Sneed Family.  The use of a live band gave the edge and the set of the night to the Sneed Family.

What say ye?  Discuss amongst yourselves your favorites of night one of the 2013 NQC.

NQC Or Bust – Revisiting 1994

1994 NQCThe National Quartet Convention gets underway with its free concert on Sunday (09/08/13) and then will run all week through Saturday (09/14/13).  As many readers are aware, this is the final year the NQC will be held in Louisville, KY.  2014 will kick off its inaugural year in Pigeon Forge, TN.

1994 NQC Schedule 01As the NQC wraps up 20 years in Louisville, I thought I would take this time to take a look back at the first NQC in Louisville; 1994.  I had the privilege of attending the NQC for 16 consecutive years between the years 1993 and 2008.

That allowed me to see the final event in Nashville TN (1993) and the first in Louisville (1994).  I also happen to still have every NQC program book of the 16 years I attended.  So, let me pull out the 1994 program book and share a little of the first year in Louisville.

  • The program book was only $1
  • The Gaither ad had the line-up of Jonathan Pierce, Buddy Mullins, Mark Lowry and Gaither.
  • 1994 NQC Schedule 02The record companies would actually host showcases to feature their artists instead of the NQC running the showcases.
  • KingsGold III was releasing during NQC week.
  • The Greenes asked for you to come by the booth and meet newest member, Milena Parks.
  • Chapel Music hosted a volleyball tournament.
  • Walt Mills and David Ring hosted Christian motivation seminars.
  • The only non-record company showcase was the pianorama concert on Saturday.
  • Looking over the evening concert line-up, one can see how many groups are no longer in existence in 2013.
  • Monday night opened with an all quartet night, while Tuesday was all mixed/family groups.

1994 NQC SN Fan Awards


**Please click on the thumbnails I have provided of the evening concert line-up and the 1994 Singing News fan award nominees.  You can also provide your favorite NQC memories in the comments section.