The last day of any event is bittersweet. Bitter because it’s almost over – sweet because you’ve made some special memories while you were there. That’s what it was like on the last morning of Legacy Five’s NYE Celebration. Yet, with a line up like Doug Anderson, The Crist Family, Legacy Five and the Collingsworth Family…well, let’s just say that it would’ve been hard not to be excited no matter how badly you were dreading the event ending!
Scott Fowler “woke everyone up” with an announcement we’ve been waiting to hear all weekend – the silent auction winners! After Scott read the names of those who won, he expressed his heartfelt thanks to those who participated and raised $1,440 for the Legacy Five Foundation. In Scott’s words, “That will sponsor a lot of kids for many months.” After informing everyone with registration information for Celebration 2013, Scott prayed and welcomed Doug Anderson to the stage.
As fans hurried to their seats, Doug Anderson opened the morning with a medium tempo song called The Sinner Sins, But the Savoir Saves. “Well, thank you so much! Good morning!” said Doug. He went on to tell the audience that he just loves life, and everything about it…he loves his wife, kids, family…everything. Yet, even though he’s happy and up-beat now, that doesn’t mean it was always that way. He said that he’s not perfect, and that, “There was a time in my life when I was totally miserable because I couldn’t get over the things that I’ve done.” He recounted one morning that he couldn’t sleep, and as he lay awake in bed, his wife suggested that he go out for a run. (He informed us that he likes to run.) Because he’s a runner, he usually tries to make a certain time and all that, but as he said, “That morning I saw everything differently. I saw the sun rise and thought, ‘Only God could do that.’ Then I ran some more and noticed the dew on the grass and thought, ‘Only God could do that.’ And I stopped running, stood in the middle of the road and said, ‘God, if you are real, and I know that You are… and You could do all this, you could fix me, and make me happy’…I told Wayne (Wayne Haun was there that morning) my story and he wrote this song just for me…and we’ve been singing this song for a while and I found out that it wasn’t just for me, it was for all of us, and I hope you like it.” As the slow ballad began, Wayne Haun played the piano for him on the song he wrote, I Will Take What’s Left. “And I’m so glad he did,” Doug said at the song’s close and walked off stage with an applause following him.
“That was awesome,” Howie remarked, as he was getting ready to introduce the next group, “There’s nothing like family harmony…do you want to hear some more? Say good morning to the Crist Family!” The Crist Family began their set with a Christmas hymn, What Child Is This? “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulders and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace …” was quoted in whole before the bridge, and what power the ballad finished with! The family then huddled together in the center of the stage for an easy listening number, Yes, He is Amazing. After that, a song that described the morning perfectly came next – Joy’s Gonna Come in the Morning! LOL! The Crist Family took the next few moments to thank L5 and the fans for being so kind to their family, especially about a song they just sent out to radio called I Still Love You Son. “There is no one who can fill an empty longing in your heart but Jesus Christ,” said Rich Crist. The reason why that song means so much to the Crist Family is because of the story of God’s faithfulness that has surrounded their lives. Rich told the story of how his parents were separated for a time and how that event grew into bitterness in his life that resulted in getting in a fight with his dad and leaving home at 17 years of age. He said at one point he was out of money and called his Dad for some cash. His Dad didn’t want to support his lifestyle, but wanted to help his son, so he asked, “Do you still have that old cowboy hat? I really loved that hat…you wouldn’t happen to still have it, would you?” Rich said, “Yeah, I have it.” “You wouldn’t happen to want to sell it would you?” His Dad asked. He said, “Yeah,” once more. “How does $50 sound?” His Dad offered. “That sounds great,” said Rich, and to the crowd he added, “He wasn’t interested in that black cowboy hat, he just so desperately wanted to help his boy.” The next song was the story of his journey with his Dad, I Still Love You Son. After that song, Rich told the end of their families story, “I’m so glad to tell you today that story has a happy ending…after a year, Mom called Dad on the phone and said that what they were doing wasn’t working out, she wanted to come home and file for divorce – after going through stuff, God used a simple box of pictures to shake them up and re-commit their lives to Christ. And celebrating their 50th Anniversary, make welcome, my parents…” A loud applause and standing ovation resounded as the couple came out on stage. What a happy ending indeed! “Would join with us and lift up the cross of Jesus Christ?” – this introduced their final song, Lift Up The Cross.
Legacy Five slid into their set with I’ve Been Changed, featuring Glenn Dustin. (When you consider the story of the Crist Family above, Glenn’s feature was a perfect choice to begin with!) Second on the set was I’m Still Amazed, a song from L5’s current project that featured Howie on the second verse. “We have to do something that has become a favorite here this week,” said Scott, beckoning their families to come up on stage to be introduced. Howie began with his family, and after introducing his wife, he announced that they would be celebrating an anniversary next month, then he paused a moment and said, “To me, it’s not January yet,” – realizing we had entered the new year, he corrected himself, saying he and Kelly would celebrate their anniversary next week! He introduced their children and passed the mic on to Glenn. Glenn introduced his family beginning with his wife,Kristi, and then proceeded to his daughter, Chloe. Speaking of his little girl, he said, “Contrary to what my wife may think, she (their daughter) is not completely wrapped around my finger…but how can you look at that little face and say, ‘no?’” Glenn’s mother-in-law was there also and Scott made Glenn tell his mother-in-law how he would spend the “last hour of his life.” (L5 fans will remember this “concert joke” told all the time about Glenn, who claims that he would spend the last hour of his life with his in-laws…because it would be the longest hour of his life. LOL!) Needless to say, Glenn was a little embarrassed to actually say that with her there, but after Scott pulled it out of him, his mother-in-law said, “Me too!” Trey introduced his wife next, (he was so nervous!) He began to say that they were married in October, but the date fled his mind, so the poor guy turned to her and said, “When did we get married?” All the L5 guys were eating that up and teasing him, as you can imagine – all in good fun. Next, Scott Fowler introduced his family rattling off he and Taryn’s wedding date and number of anniversaries like it was second nature, and then turned to all the others guys and pretended to put his nose up in the air! (Those guys just had a little too much fun with the anniversaries!) Scott had quite a bit of family with him for the weekend, including his mother, wife, sister, brother, and extended family Hanna and Patty. Gus’s family was last but not least! And I don’t recall him having any trouble remembering anniversaries either! As everyone walked off the stage, Scott had Patty stay and tell a little about her journey in life…
I just have to share the amazing testimony Patty gave b/c we are the ones who get to marvel at what the mighty hand of God can do in the lives of others if we will be obedient to His Word. Five years ago, Patty was assaulted by three men, and they went to prison for life. After becoming a Christian, she knew the right thing to do was to forgive them. Patty sent letters to them to let them know she had forgiven them for what they had done, but what they really needed was God’s forgiveness. Two of the men are brothers. The one brother was so impacted by her forgiveness, that he accepted Christ as his personal Savior immediately! His brother was so moved by the change in his life, that he too accepted Christ as Savior. Two weeks before Celebration NYE, this brother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given six months to live. Patty told everyone, “God used a horrible incident in my life and made something good out of it.” I’m not sure which of the brothers, but one of them wrote home to their families and shared the gospel, and both of his daughters accepted Christ as Savior as well!!! There’s more to this story. The warden has been so moved by the difference he has seen in these prisoners, that he contacted the 20/20 show and wants them to do a story about these guys and include the forgiveness Patty gave. The guys are witnessing in their cells and to their families … they’ve been changed! Patty’s strength and courage are an inspiration and example to all of us – she truly is a hero of the faith!
As Patty walked off the stage, L5 came and sang Hello After Goodbye, then closed their set with a very powerful, Great Is Thy Faithfulness.
The Collingsworth Family was the last group to perform at Celebration NYE. As the audience applauded their welcome to the stage, the family began their set with an updated version of Unspeakable Joy that was full of energy. Olivia was featured next on a song called Grandpa, Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Ole’ Days, then Kim played a solo on her baby grand. That solo was a great classic I’m sure we all know, Goodbye World, Goodbye. When she finished, Phil said that they didn’t have time to call in a tuner before the show started, so there is this one black key on the piano that has a piece of tape on it that says, “Don’t play this one.” LOL! With a family on the road like the Collingsworth, Kim and Phil always find songs with a message that will impact their children for Christ, and the ballad I Found It All When I Lost Everything, is just that. After introductions Brooklyn and Courtney played a duet on their violins. This had to be my favorite part of their program! They played Power In the Blood and it was just beautiful! Their next song was a fun, up-beat number called When God Says Build an Ark. The audience clapped along to the beat and the very nature of the lyrics gave an energy to the room that inspired all to get up and do something for the Lord. A Melody of Hymns came next, and then Kim quoted the words to A Mighty Fortress Is Our God and played it with some other hymns on the piano. When she began playing the Hallelujah Chorus everyone stood to their feet. After the solo, Kim stood up and informed the audience of something that I just have to repeat! She said, “The Lord is neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but in the end…He’s gonna’ win!” Their up-beat number I Know closed their time on stage.
And so, another Celebration NYE came to a close. The Gaylord Resort is an amazing complex unlike any other. I’m thankful they put together such a wonderful package for the attendees of this event – they really do give an amazing rate! Legacy Five put together yet another amazing line up of artists for our listening pleasure … a spectacular combination of southern gospel music! The weekend is made complete with the comedy and inspiration brought by Ken Davis. This is one well-rounded event. I believe the event will be moving to another ballroom for next year, affording closer seating and a higher stage. Tickets have already gone on sale … this event always sells out, so if you are thinking about going, get your reservations made early! Remember, concert only tickets are available by calling the Legacy Five office! Oh, Diana – Triumphant will be there next year!!!