“It’s the kind of music that makes its way into your heart – and stays with you for a lifetime.” – Gerald Wolfe
…That’s the kind of music we enjoyed the second night of the Truthseekers Homecoming – Southern Gospel Music. In a couple of weeks, months or years, I’m sure we’ll forget the songs that Greater Vision and Legacy Five sang that night at the Marion Civic Center, but the special moments we shared that night will always be remembered. Like Gerald said, “It will stay with you for a lifetime.” Those memories are the ones I hope to preserve through this post, ones that will bring a smile to those who enjoyed the evening in person, and ones that will transport you to a different time and place as though you had been there if you didn’t make it out to the sing.
The second night I enjoyed a seat in the center section, row M, seat 19 to be precise! It was an excellent view! When the time rolled around for the program to begin, we enjoyed a few opening acts before the concert. A young lady sang a ballad the Talley’s made popular, His Life for Mine, then Dustin Leming came out and performed an up-beat song called Walking With My Lord, which everyone clapped along with. The Truthseekers took the stage next, leading the audience in congregational singing of I’ll Fly Away, Amazing Grace and I Want To Love You More. After a word of prayer by Jim’s sister, Jane, Rick from Singing News introduced Legacy Five, who are celebrating their 12th year as a group,… the evening was off to a good start!
Legacy Five opened their set with a song that bears the same title as their current project – A Wonderful Life. Lead singer, Scott Fowler performed both verses on this medium temp song. The first couple of songs that L5 did were back to back, the next of which was God Cares For Me. The guys were so into what they were doing that night! They weren’t just singing words, the expressions written across their faces and every motion they did on stage spoke of something deeper – pure joy. Scott exclaimed, “Let’s have fun tonight,” and slid his mic stand behind him as the guys went into singing Feeling Fine. On the turn-around Scott instructed the crowd, “Now, if you’re feeling mighty fine tonight, I want you to wave at me like this…” Many raised their hands and swayed them back and forth with the requested motion. “I can already tell that we’re going to have a fabulous night!” Scott exclaimed. “And I can already tell you that our bass singer is warmed up…” Fowler said, waiting for the crowd to respond, but when they didn’t, he added, “not as enthusiastic as I hoped.” Then he went on to tell of how Glenn Dustin is their resident “freak of nature.” I’m sure you’ve heard Scott express before that not only does Glenn not sound normal – but he doesn’t think normal either! LOL. A few years ago, the guys saw a survey question on Fox News that asked, “If you knew that you only had one hour left to live, what would you do with it?” Scott made Glenn tell us what his answer was, so Glenn said, “I would spend it with my in-laws.” Howie remarked, “That’s not sweet – that’s weird!” Scott prompted Glenn more, “Tell them why!” “Tell the truth too!” interjected Howie. Glenn shrugged up his shoulders and replied, “Cause’ it would be the longest hour of my life…” After all the teasing, Glenn sang his solo, I’ve Been Changed with passion and emotion. I’m Thankful For the Change followed. Towards the end of the song the guys were really wound up and encouraged everyone to clap along with them – which they did! Scott whispered something to Trey and the track for Strike Up the Band came on. This quartet number features Scott Fowler and favors the traditional style we’re so fond of hearing from L5. “This guy has only been with us one year,” Scott announced standing in front of Trey Ivey, their pianist. “I can tell that they love you already.” Scott teased, “Now don’t read anything into that…because they love you only because they first loved us.” The crowd chuckled at the play on words. Once Fowler informed the audience that Trey was 22 years old, Howie jumped in, “I can see from the crowd that everyone here has been 22 at one point in life”…then, turning to the audience asked, “did anyone clap for you?” When the crowd kept quiet, Howie triumphantly exclaimed, “I didn’t think so!” Scott turned to Howie, “How old are you? – I don’t even know.” Howie answered, “I’m 52.” Scott turned back to Trey, “Thirty years older than you.” Then Howie exclaimed again, “See! Not a soul clapped for that!” After that, Fowler skipped over and took Howie’s mic off of him so he couldn’t talk! LOL. Of course, after Scott finished introducing Trey, Trey played a classical piece that went into Leaning on the Everlasting Arms. After teasing their piano player some more, Scott introduced their tenor, Gus, and the great classic he sang for us – For What Earthly Reason. “How many are thankful for the gift of salvation tonight?” Gus asked half way through the ballad. Up-raised hands answered his question. Scott brought out his Bible and began quoting verses, “He loved us so much that while we were yet sinners, he died for us. I’ll tell you this – an ordinary man would not have done that. In case you are new to this, maybe you’ve not heard the exciting news that happened on that day. Let me read it to you.” With Bible in hand, he read out of Luke, “and they found not the body of the Lord Jesus…for He is not here but He is risen. Thank God the tomb is empty! One day, every single knee will bow, and every single tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…and we will see Him just as He is.” Glenn and Scott sang the verse of We Shall See Jesus, and by the chorus, hands were raised and everyone was on their feet and singing along! “Have you enjoyed Legacy Five so far tonight?” Scott asked. “Stay standing for a minute if you can…these guys are the real deal, give a welcome to Greater Vision!”
Greater Vision kicked off their set with He’d Still Been God – which, when they came to the chorus, the clapping of the crowd was so loud it was almost deafening! 🙂 Keeping their set up-beat, He Could’ve Passed By came next. “Well, we have looked forward to tonight,” Gerald said, “did you enjoy Legacy Five?” Howie just happened to walk out on stage to do something with L5’s sound board at that moment, and Gerald touched his arm and lightheartedly said, “Hey, you’re not supposed to be out here!” A slower song that Chris wrote followed, called, I Could Never Praise Him Enough. “Well, it’s great to be here with you all,” said Gerald, and explained that they have received many requests that they were going to do, but they were going to sing some new songs too. Like the next one, No Longer Chained, written by Rodney Griffin. “Isn’t that a great song?” asked Gerald. Thirteen years in a row Rodney has been named songwriter of the year! Gerald introduced the guys then sat down at the keyboard. “You might have noticed that they’ve changed my mic five times since I’ve been on stage, it’s not because there’s something wrong with the mic, it’s actually me – they just haven’t figured that out yet.” LOL. Gerald began telling of a concert date they had in California to introduce the next song. They were singing at a Baptist Church, and the sanctuary was full, so he walked up to the front. “Here’s a hint,” Gerald shared, “if you ever go in to a Baptist church and can’t find a seat, go to the front, it’s always empty.” After a story of how they came to sing this next song for the first time, Chris sang I Know A Man Who Can with Rodney playing bass and Gerald on the keyboard. The guys couldn’t hide their grins as Chris belted out the powerful notes…neither could the audience – not a hand was still after that one ended – everyone applauded. Gerald expressed his thoughts on another new song that Rodney wrote. He said that when he first heard the song he told Rodney, “That melody is the most memorable melody that you’ve ever written.” But when he heard the song for the second time, he told Rodney, “Now, I’ll tell you that is the most memorable lyric you’ve ever written.” He went on to explain why, “Because everybody in this room has something in their past that they wish thet had a second shot at. Maybe it’s something they said or a relationship. Many Christians are held captive by that memory, this song says that it can start tonight…you can live the rest of your life like you’ve wished you lived.” Chris sang Like You Wished You Lived with tenderness and conviction. “It’s a beautiful song, isn’t it?” Gerald asked at its close. Gerald then switched into his “jokester” mode and began teasing Rodney. The story began at the Awards Ceremony that Gerald hosted at Dollywood last year, where a lady asked him, “Does that bother you that Rodney wins that songwriting award every year?” He replied, “No ma’am, in fact, not a day goes by that I don’t thank the Lord for Rodney’s ability to write – cause I don’t know of one other thing that he can do.” Continuing on with the story, he said that Rodney is the only one in the group who has a degree. “A bachelor degree in Biology,” Gerald informed, “which is really important if you want to write songs, ya’ know.” After some more teasing, they sang The Only Way, performed by Rodney and Chris. “I cannot get this song off my mind today. I don’t know who this is for because we rarely sing it, but this is for someone here tonight.” Then Gerald began singing the most powerful rendition of Til’ The Storm Passes By that I’ve ever heard. Wow – Gerald put his all into that ballad! Standing ovation!
We enjoyed a 20 minute intermission before the second half, and then Legacy Five came back on stage with New Born Feeling. “Trust me when I tell you that you are in for a treat,” Scott said, and explained that the man who holds the Guinness World Record for the lowest note was there that night! “…Don’t you think you need to hear it?” Scott teased the audience. Roger came out on stage and said hi to the crowd in the highest tenor voice he could muster! LOL. As they guys prepared to sing Just A Little Talk With Jesus, Rodney came out to play bass…and Chris Alman was off to the side videoing the whole thing on his phone! LOL. Roger took the chorus to show off his low notes, but on the very ending, just as they were getting ready for that last note – the mics suddenly went off! He blew the fuse!!! All the guys began laughing on stage, Rodney couldn’t even stand he was laughing so hard! Chris (still videoing on his phone) came out on stage and did something to the sound board to get the sound back. Once Fowler stopped laughing he said, “Every head bowed, every eye closed.” Roger asked if he could do that last part again. Scott asked him, “You want to blow it again?” They did it again, and Roger promised not to blow the fuse, and they did it perfectly. The crowd offered a huge applause and cheers at the end. L5 sang a very energetic I Never Shall Forget The Day, and that finished off their second set.
“I know that you are ready for them…Gospel music’s favorite trio! Greater Vision!” Scott announced as Greater Vision kicked off their second set with When They Ring The Bells Of Heaven. Trey accompanied them on the keyboard during that first one, and then Gerald announced that they were going to give away some prizes. He recruited a boy from the audience to come up on stage and draw a name from the bag and run the prize out to the lady who won. Funny enough, the winner was a lady in the same row as I! After the prize was delivered to its new owner, Gerald said, “Here’s a song that we’d not be able to leave the building without singing.” Now, we all know that Gerald only says that about one song – My Name Is Lazarus! “This has been fun tonight,” Gerald said addressing the crowd, “thank you so much…it wouldn’t have been this much fun if you wouldn’t have been here.” (Chuckle!) Gerald began talking to the boy, Parker, who ran the bag of product to the lady who had won. He asked Parker how old he was. Parker said that he was 11. Gerald mentioned that he loved the boy’s voice…it sounded husky to him, then asked if it always sounded that way. Parker replied that it did. Gerald added, “I bet girls like that, don’t they? Do they ever catch you? – no, don’t answer that!” Then GV went into the next song, Hallelujah Square, sung by Chris. “I know that song is old,” Gerald admitted when they finished singing it, “but it’s good. Ya’ know, there is only one way that you’ll see me in Hallelujah Square…that is if you have a relationship with Christ. I’m not talking about going to church, being baptized as an infant, or if someone told you that you were a Christian. You have to know that you know, that you know you have to put your eternal trust in Jesus Christ. If you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who came down to earth and lived a sinless life and died for your sins on a rugged cross. That He was buried, but rose from the grave three days later, ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God…If you believe that, then you will see me in Hallelujah Square. – The question isn’t, ‘Do you love Gospel Music?’ – the question is, ‘Do you know who Jesus Christ is?’” Gerald went on to say that they would like to give anyone who doesn’t know the Lord the chance to receive Him, and led us in prayer. I liked what he said at the end of his prayer so much that I just had to write it down! “We thank You, Father, for showing up tonight, because if you hadn’t, it would be a complete waste of time…” After the prayer, L5 and GV sang Champion of Love together. Scott Fowler took the first verse and Gerald the second. Everyone stood to their feet in ovation. It was the perfect ending to a perfect night…
Conclusion: When Greater Vision and Legacy Five are together it is always a blast! This night was no exception! The last song, Champion of Love, reminded me of a miniature “Jubilee” concert! Throughout the night, both groups provided a mixture of humor and devotional thoughts. GV picked on Rodney – L5 picked on Trey and Glenn, and then both Scott and Gerald lifted our thoughts heavenward to the One whom every song spoke of…our Champion of Love, Jesus Christ. Though I have to say, my favorite part of the night was after the give-a-way, when Gerald had a conversation with 11 year old Parker from on stage. Watching that reminded me of the uniqueness of this genre. Where else would you find an artist interacting with an 11 year old in the audience, if not in SGM? Gerald was so comfortable with it too, he acted as if it were the most natural thing in the world to just put the concert on hold for a moment and have a conversation with Parker on stage! It was great! We really have something special with Southern Gospel, don’t we? I think things like that come from the purpose behind ministries like Greater Vision and Legacy Five – they get up on stage to impact lives for the cause of Christ, and so they do! Thanks guys, for a wonderful example of what a ministry centered on the love of Christ looks like…
“It doesn’t make a difference how close you are to the Lord, every once in a while, you need to be reminded that when you go through something difficult, you’re not walking alone.” – Gerald Wolfe