As Southern Gospel Fans huddled together along the building, Mark Bishop walked by and asked, “What are ya’ll standing in line for???”…

…A chuckle from the crowd was Mark’s response. Yet, the answer to that question ended up being more than anyone could have imagined! This concert was unimaginably unique! The Ozarks big Gospel station, KWFC 89.1 FM, hosted their 42th Annual Anniversary Concert at the Dowell Field House on the campus of the Baptist Bible College in Sprindfield, MO. That Friday night we enjoyed the Mark Trammell Quartet, Mark Bishop and The Collingsworth Family. Unfortunatley, a chilly 47 degree breeze and light drizzle accompanied everyone who stood outside waiting for the doors to open! But I do have to say, our second row seats were well worth the wait!

While we were waiting for the concert to begin, the DJ’s from the station entertained us with some games that they conducted for their give-a-ways. Usually, for giveaways they have you fill out a card and draw from a box…not this year! This year the radio station decided that they were going to get members of the audience to play the popular TV game show … Minute To Win It! Oh, was this fun to watch! I took some video clips for my video blog so ya’ll could enjoy the fun too! The first “blueprint” was to create a free standing tower of four five gallon jugs on top of each other – mouth to mouth, base to base, and mouth to mouth again. The first “Minute To Win It” (SGM version?) contestant was a middle aged man, and he completed the task in 60 seconds! He won a couple of CD’s and other goodies.

Mark Bishop came on stage and greeted the audience, “Howdy ya’ll!”, and began his set with Remember Who He Is, Remember What He Does (perfect selection for Easter just a week away!) “If you know Who I’m talking about wave at me!” Then, at the turn around Mark added, “He is worthy and He’s the reason why we’re here.” As an intro to his next song, he asked how many remembered it and began singing You Can’t Ask Too Much Of My God – an applause answered him after the first line of the song. After finishing the song, Mark spoke to the audience and said, “Well, there are a couple of songs right there and I don’t know about you, but I liked both of them!” The audience laughed with him. I Got Here As Fast As I Could followed, and I’d dare say that there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, this song always blesses the people of Springfield. In fact, after the song Mark said, “If that one didn’t bless you, your “blesser” is broke!” Mark introduced himself, then, told a little about when he sang with his family (The Bishops) and also how he was debuting his brand new Cd, I Still Need Him, that very night! Well, you know what happens next when an artists says that…we get a sample! Mark asked if he could practice some of his new songs on us. Unfortunately, the crowd that night wasn’t very enthusiastic, as they ought to have been. Mark said of the crowds response, “Well, that was only about 30% of you, but, that’s enough to win an election in Florida, so we’ll do it!” One of those songs was Your Easter Sunday Is On It’s Way, a very unique song that likens life’s trials to the days that Jesus died and was in the grave, and blessings to the day that Christ rose. Mark said that he had a lot of requests that night, so he was going to try to get them all in and talk less. Perfectly Honest was one of those requests, you could tell because when Mark began singing it the crowd erupted in an applause. He said that he writes all of his own Gospel songs, and when he writes, he firmly believes that it is the Lord who inspires the themes of the songs…but on this next song, he claims the Lord said, “Mark, you are on your own with this one!” What he did was take the old song Cool, Clear Water from the Sons of the Pioneers and updated the lyrics to – Bottled Water! Mark’s rendition of this song is hilarious and the faces he makes are just as good! Of course, he just so happened to have a bottle of water on stage to sing and demonstrate it. The audience just ate this one up, so much so, that when Mark was done singing he said, “Now it’s just not right that ya’ll responded better to that one than all the spiritual songs…but sometimes that’s what we need.” Up next was the snappy tune Cloud Nine Headed For Ten. The audience clapped the whole way through this one and Mark was pretty wound up himself. After, he said that particular song is really good for burning calories (or so he tells us! – it‘s good for 110.) He went on to introduce his next song by telling the story behind why he wrote it. He watched his good friend and next door neighbor take care of his wife as she struggled with alzheimers disease. The disease became so bad that she didn’t even recognize her husband…yet, he continued to take care of her and love her all the way through it. Mark said, “The greatest expression of godly love down here on this earth is to love and expect nothing back.” This set up for his song Pay Attention, which was followed by an accappella chorus If That Isn’t Love, which the audience sang with him. Another “resurrection” song was next, called Bring Lazarus Back. He said, “That’ll preach! Where are all my Baptist deacons when I need them to take up an offering?!” Continuing on, he told of how he always wanted to preach, but was called to write instead. “My sermons only last about three minutes and rhyme…” One Drop Of Blood was another new song he staged from his new Cd. Even though this was a slow song, the crowd really responded to the message and as the track finished playing the last few notes Mark said, “Thank You Lord!” (You could tell he really believes what he both writes and sings.) In the middle of the closing song, Jesus Can Lift You Up, there is a part where it almost sounds like rap music…to which Mark smiles big and manages to get in between words “That’s all the rappin’ I can do!” The audience got a real chuckle out of that! The radio station manager came out on stage as he finished his set and said that Mark Bishop was one of their most requested artists.

Before the Mark Trammell Quartet (MTQ) came on stage, another installment of the Minute To Win It game took place. Though this one was a little more intense! They drew six names from a box and asked the winners to pick a partner, the names who were drawn would compete against each other in three rounds of elimination for the grand prize – a SGM cruise! The popular “hanky panky” was the first blueprint, where contestants are only allowed to use one hand to empty a box of Kleenex in 60 seconds. This was very fun to watch, and the audience enjoyed it very much. I would almost say that the crowd cheered more for the games than they did for the singers! LOL! They eliminated two couples and did another blueprint named “face the cookie”. In this challenge, contestants had to use their facial muscles to transport an Oreo cookie from their forehead to their mouth without using their hands! Within the first few tries, one of the men got it, but none of the other three could…so they substituted a cookie eating competition instead! Yep, be the first to eat three Oreo cookies with out using your hands! That time around they only eliminated one couple, and the top three had to wait until MTQ was done singing before they competed for a winner.

The Mark Trammell Quartet opened their set with the old classic Bloodwashed Band. Mark let the audience know that it was good to be back in Sprindfield, Missouri again, then he went on to tell that for eight and a half years they were a trio and a just over a year ago they became a quartet. After introducing all the guys, Mark had Pat Barker (bass singer) featured on a solo, How Big Is God. Mark took up his bass guitar and Dustin Sweatman sat down at the keybored and for the next few songs they sang with their “live band.” Just after the first few words of the song, the crowd applauded, and when the song ended there were many cheers and whistles! The next song you may remember from the Cathedrals, it was the snappy Old Convention Song. The guys (especially Pat) really got excited about singing this one! You can tell that these guys are happy doing what they do! Gentle Shepherd, another old song, was next on the set – the audience was glad to hear this one too, for yet again, an applause followed the first few words! (I think that Springfield, MO likes MTQ!) When Dustin began playing the intro to their upbeat, Hallelujah I’m Going Home, the crowd began clapping and clapped the whole way through the song. After this tune Mark asked, “How many of you like older songs, wave your hand“ He continued, “Funny thing is, most of you who waved at me have the same color of hair I do!” (At that time he thought that was really funny!) Mark went on to say that they are in the studio recording a new Cd, and this time when he picked songs, he did something different. A good friend of his told him if people request that you record a song – record it. But this time, he decided that he was going to record a Cd of all of his favorite songs. This next one was selected for that unfinished project, Mark wanted the audience to let them know if they liked it, and when they began singing Wedding Music, the crowd gave a roaring response! Echoes From The Burning Bush followed…the guys really had fun on that one as well. They did a lot vocally with the dynamics ~ I personally was spellbound, they made it look so easy! In the middle of the song, Mark stops and tells all the guys to hold on and huddle up! There was a girl in the front who stooped down to take a picture and they stopped the song to pose. (That was so sweet of Mark!) Then after the picture, they started right where they left off as if nothing had ever happened! (Now that is good!) When they encored it, Joel’s part (tenor) was very soft dynamically and so Mark stopped the song again and said, “That’s the best I’ve heard you sing since you’ve been with us, that was really good, sounded just like a little girl! Do it one more time just for me.” So Joel sang that part again and Mark stopped him for the second time and said, “Oh, I think they (the audience) liked that, do it one more time for them!” So he sings it again, but this time Joel stops and says that he liked the way it sounded and wanted to do it yet again! The crowd just loved that! Their next song was Leave Your Sorrows (and come with me). On this one, Dustin and Mark left off their instruments and just sang. Mark addressed the audience, “See if you remember this one.” Another great old hymn, Mansion Over The Hilltop, followed. On the last chorus, they had everyone sing along with them – it was beautiful, just like listening to a big choir! Their current radio single that features Dustin was next on the set. The crowd loved Testimony, and clapped through the whole song. (Which, for this audience, was really something!) The guys were excited about this number too. It was evident from their countenances the whole evening that they love what they are doing, but this song had a special way of communicating that to the listeners. Mark introduced How Long Has It Been by stating that it is his all time favorite Mosie Lister song. Another up beat quartet song came after that called I’m Standing On The Rock Of Ages. This song received the first standing ovation of the night! Clearly pleased, Marks commented, “Ya’ll really do like old songs don’t you?” Continuing along the thought line of “older songs”, Mark reminisced of the times he had with George and Glen (of the Cathedrals) and how they picked songs that the fans came back to again and again. He said that he really wanted to sing this song that formerly featured Glen. “We’re no longer going to the last days…we’re in them,” said Mark, “listen to the story.” It’s Almost Over was the next song, as it built both musically and lyrically it brought the audience to their feet! I was a little disappointed, because I thought that was their last song of the night and the time went by so quickly! You can imagine my delight when Mark announced that they had a request and were going to do one more! He introduced it as being a bass feature, if we liked it, Mark instructed us to, “rip the lights out of this place,” and if we didn’t like it, we were to look at Pat like we were looking at him right now! The song was I Want To Know. When they began with the first few words someone screamed really loud and Pat took a moment and looked as if he were speechless. This song was encored three times and on the last two choruses everyone was on their feet clapping to the beat. This song closed MTQ’s set and I have to say, it’s so refreshing to see a traditional group enjoy and love what they are doing on stage the way these guys do. It’s evident in everything they do ~ and that is no exaggeration!

Well, the next installment of the Minute To Win It game began, and after two more challenges, they determined a winner! Beginning with three couples, they competed against each other with a blueprint called “spaghetti something?” In this game, you had to transport three pop cans (tabs pulled up) from one table to another using a spaghetti noodle in their mouth! (No hands of course!) During the course of this challenge some of the noodles broke but were quickly replaced. Down to just two couples, the final blueprint was given. In this last task two poles with four rolls of toilet paper on each of them was held up by volunteers, while the contestants had to unravel them as fast as possible. The first couple to do this won! The shouts and cheers were deafening when the first couple emptied their rolls of TP!

The Collingsworth Family was the last artist of the night to perform! Since there was no intermission at this concert and I had been sitting for a few hours, I got up and walked around a little. (Folding chairs are evil!) I tried to stay close to the doors so I could hear, but after catching up with a few friends and purchasing product I did miss a little of what they sang, so I’m going to do the best I can! I’m thinking that their first song was Fear Not Tomorrow. Kim Collingsworth played an outstanding arrangement of Goodbye, World, Goodbye on the piano. Their youngest, Olivia was featured on a song called Grandpa, Tell Me About The Good Old Days, which talked about simpler times when spouses stayed together, etc. When Phil introduced his family, he proudly announced the marriage of their oldest daughter Brooklyn, and the engagement of their second oldest, Courtney, but when he introduced their son, Phil Jr. he good naturally announced, “And the good news of the night is, he is not getting married!” The audience chuckled on that one! Phil went on to tell the audience that Courtney and Brooklyn have been playing violin for a long time and he wanted them to come and play a solo together. While they gathered their instruments, Phil went on to tell of how when the girls first started taking lessons, they didn’t know how much of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star they could take! But with the beautiful music they can make now, it was more than worth the wait. They played an old hymn, No One Ever Loved Me Like Jesus. Courtney played the first verse by herself, Brooklyn was featured on the second, and then they played the last part of the song together. The harmony was gorgeous! Kim talked a little about how their family began traveling on the road with their ministry, and also shared about how the church is falling away because they deny the Blood to be spoken of in their services. A very powerful ballad about Jesus’ blood followed, then they closed their time on stage with a lively number and Kim softly played on the piano while everyone hurried out to the product tables when the concert was dismissed.

Conclusion:
Mark Bishop: Mark’s new songs are awesome! It was the first night that he had his new Cd available and it was obvious that the audience enjoyed being “practiced on”. His songs about Easter both new and old were a perfect fit, considering the celebration daywas just around the corner.
Mark Trammell Quartet: It is so evident from their stage presence that here is a group of guys who LOVE doing what they do! That night I saw a passion in these guys that transcended the ordinary. These guys are traditional, but they get excited about Who they are singing for! They saved the best for last! I’ve been to the KWFC’s Anniversary concert for the last four or five years, and I have to tell you, three standing ovations in a row does NOT happen with this crowd! The Mark Trammell Quartet received the best response of the night.
The Collingsworth Family: The talent in this family is outstanding! The audience sat on the edge of their seats during Kim’s piano arrengments and soaked up the vocal harmony throughout the singing.
All the artists were awesome and I hope they can all come back next year! Many blessings were received that night because of the ministry of these groups – keep up the good work everyone!

Author: Lynn

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