Crowds are thickening and things are getting more fun! Here’s tonight’s installment.
I showed up in time to catch the back half of the Michael Frost Trio’s song “Author and Finisher of My Faith.” The little I heard was very good! Now it’s a group called 11th Hour. Didn’t catch the name of their song.
ALL RIGHT, it’s the Penny Loafers! This is a pleasant surprise for sure. And they’re actually wearing penny loafers. Singing a pitch-perfect acapella version of “Goodbye, World, Goodbye.” The mouth instruments were IMPECCABLE. This is some of the best harmony we’ve heard all week. I totally needed more of that. One song isn’t enough. They should be on mainstage.
Now for a dinner break…
Back with Tribute Quartet. They’re singing “Homesick Angel.” Josh Singletary is playing piano with one hand and holding a microphone in the other!
Now Riley is singing “Homecoming Day.” He’s even better than he was last year. His control and expression have improved a lot. He was a bit pitchy on some of his high notes, but that was an impressive performance.
Okay they’re going right into “Good News From Jerusalem.” This should be good. Impressive song. I think it needs somewhat better vocals to really bring out how cool it is, but it’s getting a big response. They’re encoring the chorus. Normally I’m not a fan of monotonic, slow-building songs, but once the chorus kicks in on this one I think it picks up speed and it’s really exciting. That was the end of their set. I hope they stage “The Song of Heaven” tomorrow.
The Lesters are up now, to be followed by the Whisnants, the McKameys, and a Dennis Swanberg segment. I’ve got some work to do so I think I’ll tune back in a little later (though I do like the Whisnants). Unfortunately looks like I’ll miss the Collingsworth Family at about 8:00, but I’ll be back to pick up from Greater Vision onward. Looking forward to seeing the Talleys with Brian Alvey tonight.
Okay, I didn’t get back until around 8:35. Now David Jeremiah has just come up for his segment. He says that he was getting tired of writing books about dark, depressing happenings in the world so he decided to take a break and write a book about the love of God.
Now Chris is singing “I Know a Man Who Can.” I missed this one when they did it the other night so this is fun. Gerald says they sang it for Jack Campbell, the songwriter’s widow, who was here in the audience tonight and had driven a long way to see her husband’s song performed. This wasn’t pre-planned, but they just had to do it. We’re glad they did. After Chris nailed it, Gerald said “That old man can still sing.”
Now Gerald is sharing some thoughts about faithfulness to set up “Faces.” He tells a story about a farmer named Merle Haun who gave him a peppermint every Sunday and said, “Jesus loves you this morning, and I do too.” Gerald is so right, it’s not about how famous you are, it’s about how faithful you are. “Faithful to teach Sunday school every Wednesday, faithful to do all those things nobody wants to do, faithful…” He then put in a plug for Compassion, but tied it all together brilliantly with a memory about meeting a little girl his family had “adopted.” When she met him, she hugged him and started jabbering, and the translator said “She wants to take you home with her.” So she led Gerald to her family’s house, and it was in a poor, nasty part of town. But the family asked Gerald to pray for them there. And he says, “It dawned on me in that moment: ‘I’m Merle Haun, to this little girl!’ She didn’t know I was a famous gospel singer, she didn’t know I’d been on a Gaither video, she didn’t know I’d stand in front of 10,000 people tonight and tell her story.” Wow! That’s a powerful thought. Now they’re singing “Faces.”
Now the Booth Brothers are up, yeah! Singing “I’m Free,” DOUBLE yeah! That was great, now they’re bringing Bill Gaither up to sing bass on “Joy in the Camp.” The track is a little soft… even after Michael bluntly said, “We could use a little more track.” Hel-LO! Bill’s coming in on the “boom-booms” now and the crowd is eating it up.
Next they pulled out “I Played in the Band” again. I like this one. 🙂 Nick Bruno is on piano for them and he’s tearing it up. They’ve encored it a couple times. Not sure a 2nd encore was warranted, but hey whatever… THREE encores? Really? They’re bringing Bill up, okay. FOUR! Okay, guys, really. Josh says “Two without Bill means you need two with Bill.”
Then they sang “Broken World,” and now Brian Alvey is sharing his testimony to set up “That’s Why I Love Him So.” I’d never heard this before, but he was kicked out of his house at the age of 16. For several years he didn’t want anything to do with church. But when he was 19 he saw Gerald Wolfe and Greater Vision. Afterwards he walked up to Gerald and said, “I’m just a long-haired kid, but I wanna sing someday.” And Gerald gave him his card. Brian says, “He showed me people like him were faithful to God, and through that I saw God’s faithfulness.” What a great way to tie back to Gerald’s own comments about the faithfulness of people he had known from his childhood. Too bad the track for the song cut in too early and interrupted the end of Brian’s intro.
Kingdom Heirs up now, singing “Ever Since That Wonderful Day.” Mark practically bounded off stage after introducing them. He ate his chocolate frosted sugar bombs this morning! Now Jeff Chapman singing a cute one called “Hit the Ground Running.” Next, that old chestnut, “He Locked the Gates.” Works every time.
Okay, finally they’re featuring Jerry Martin, on “I Can Pray.” Something’s off though, I think he just went sharp or something. He never does that. He must be really tired, or maybe even sick. Or DBM suggested perhaps it’s an ear monitor issue. He really does sound tired though. But as Keith Waggoner is pointing out to us here in the chat room, NQC does that to its tenors, “Just think…you’re keeping weird hours, eating bad food, talking to everyone at the booth, plus pulling out all the big songs.”
Karen Peck & New River are closing it out. Karen’s on tonight, and they played the beginning of her “Mighty High” clip from Joyful Noise before she came out and started singing it for real. Good idea for an opener! High energy, an evening highlight. Keeping the energy right going, Jeff Hawes is taking the lead on “Look What My Lord Has Done.” He sounds great but something bizarre happened with the track midway through, the volume abruptly got turned down almost to a whisper for a few seconds. Things are back on track now. Whoops, famous last words, it turned up again at the end. Susan is singing “I’m Saved” now. Encoring it once…
Tonight was a bit of a mixed bag, maybe not the week’s best but there were some definite highlights. I think for me the most memorable moment was Gerald bringing up the unknown trio to sing acapella. Also, the Penny Loafers’ one song was awesome, as was the Sisters’. The Isaacs and Talleys turned in strong sets. Share your highlights in the comments! I’m going to bed. Night all. See you tomorrow!