Wednesday morning was bitter cold – just one step outside my hotel room proved that! Then again, when my gaze fell upon the mountains and I saw nothing but white peeks, the temperature no longer mattered – it had snowed in the mountains! Now if seeing that didn’t cheer you up, nothing would! It sure did my soul some good…and so did the morning session at Praisefest!
Mike Speck was first on stage and took requests for congregational singing, hymns like: Blessed Assurance, How Great Thou Art and Farther Along were among the chosen ones. Before another could be requested, Mike called Melody out on stage and asked her to sing I Wish I Could Have Been There. “I know it’s early, but you can do it!” he encouraged her. The early hour sure didn’t keep Mike from a little jump when they came to the line in the chorus that said, “The lame could leap!” LOL The crowd enjoyed the number and some stood towards the end. Mike explained that the next song that Melody wanted to sing was a “praise song.” It was called We Will Remember and after a minute or so, the audience was asked to stand and sing it with them. The impromptu sing-a-long continued into the hymn that Mike sang next – Great Is Thy Faithfulness. Their final song though, was dedicated to Mike’s Mom, First Day Of Forever, and Melody stepped up to the mic and sang the verses of the ballad.
Geraldine and Ricky came out and sat down on the other side of the stage while Stan Whitmire sat at the piano fanning himself! (Guess it was hot up there!) LOL As they sat down, their conversation quickly turned to the previous night, “Did you see my new dummy last night?” Ricky asked Geraldine. (On the second half, Geraldine used Michael Booth as her dummy instead of Ricky – and from what I heard, he was even sitting on her lap!) LOL “When I got through with Michael,” Geraldine said, “I was sick too!” (Referencing Ronnie’s sinus infection.) Then, Ricky went on to tell a little story of his own, “I swallowed a quarter.” Geraldine pondered, “Is that right?” “Um-Hum,” intoned Ricky, “ and Stan said, ‘Get a doctor! Get a doctor!’ So they brought Dr. Stanley, and Dr. Stanley said, ‘Get Gerald! He can get money out of anybody!’” Well, everyone started laughing at that, but serious as ever, Ricky exclaimed, “That’s not a joke!” LOL Next, they called Chris Allman out to talk with Ricky and Geraldine. Ricky became all excited and said, “Oh look! A new dummy!” Towards the end of their “conversation” a sadness came over Ricky because he didn’t have a “heart.” He began to cry, because if he didn’t have a heart, he couldn’t get saved and go to heaven and be with Gerald, Ronnie and Stan. “So,” Ricky concluded, “I’ll have to stay down here with you, Chris!”
With a bounce in his step and a grin on his face, Gerald walked out and articulated how excited he was about Wednesday. “Hey! These guys that are coming out to sing,” said Gerald, gearing up for the introduction, “When I want to listen to quartet music when I’m driving the bus late at night, I listen to them – you ain’t gonna’ get any better quartet singing than the Mark Trammell Quartet!” Eric, Nick, Mark and Pat kicked off their set with some fast and powerful songs – Meet Me Over On The Other Side, I Sing The Mighty Power and Way Past Ready were the first three. “What a joy it is for us to be at Praisefest,” said Mark, and then he introduced the group after inquiring of the crowd how many were seeing them for the first time. Calling out to the side of the stage, Mark asked Gerald to come play the piano for them. Spontaneously, Mark asked Gerald, “Where’s Ben?…I don’t know if I can do this, but I want to borrow your son.”
As Ben came out and strapped on the bass guitar on stage, Mark whispered something to Gerald and then they launched into Old Convention Song. While one team of father and son sang, the other provided the music! The quartet reached that last note and held it, and when the voices began to pull back and fade, Gerald went into a lick on the piano and everyone thought they were going to encore it. Until, they realized that Mark was singing Echoes From The Burning Bush and everyone else was still singing Convention song! Ben, who was standing more in the middle of the stage looked over to his dad while Eric gave Nick a funny look and finally everyone stopped. Just figuring it out, Pat apologized, “Is that what we’re doing? That sounded like Convention Song and I thought I was going to sing my verse again!” Mark Trammell? He laughed! “Oh, that’s right,” Mark casually interjected, “I didn’t tell you guys!” Gerald and Mark were the only ones who knew they were doing different songs back to back!!! LOL So they sang Echoes From The Burning Bush. Afterwards, as Gerald and Ben were leaving the stage, Mark mentioned that they had a number of requests and were going to fulfill as many as possible! The first one was I Thirst and featured Pat. Mark said this of another, “I’m not too crazy about it, but ya’ll like it…” If you know Mark, you’ll know that song was Glory Road! After informing the audience that they had a number of requests, simply asking to feature their bass singer – Pat sang I Want To Know. An encore or two later, Mark said this of their closing song, “If I could sing one song for the entire world at one time, it would be this one, because I believe the message with everything in me.” The King Is Coming was that ballad. As the MTQ guys were leaving the stage, Gerald asked, “Now you know why this is my favorite group to listen to when I’m driving?”
The second half began with Greater Vision, and just like MTQ, they were going to sing requests! The first was With All The Many Miracles, featuring Chris Allman. Waiting By The Well, one of my favorites, came next. “Hey, we’ve got to do this,” said Gerald, and went on to say that watching Fox News about the 17 inches of snow and talking about Christmas has put him in the mood! Naturally, a Christmas song was the result! For GV, that song was God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – as they sang, the background became a cluster of giant swirling snowflakes. Coming to the edge of the stage a little, Gerald joked about how all of their fans come to Praisefest and sometimes he can’t remember their names and where they’re each from. The question, “Do you remember me?” – is one that he’s come to “hate.” So, true to form, on Monday night a lady came up to him and said, “Do you remember where I’m from?” He said that he replied, “Yeah, we were in jail together.” A look of panic apparently crossed her face and she asked him, “What were we in for?” You know what he said to her? “See! You don’t remember either!” LOL He added that he didn’t want to embarrass her, but she was sitting on the second row – pointing at her all the while. LOL Rodney sang Pile Of Crowns next and Gerald made this comment, “You’re a whole lot better off, if you’re sensitive to the Lord.” Next he asked, “How many here have taught Sunday School?” 95% of the crowd lifted their hands. He went on to say that Sunday School teachers do not have any idea how many lives they have impacted, and gave example of his Sunday School teacher and how he can still recall things they said over and over. “You don’t have to be famous to be effective,” Gerald reminded, “all you have to be is faithful.” They sang Faces, and a quote from Merle Haun (a gentleman Gerald grew up with in church who impacted him greatly), was put up on the big screens that simply read, “Jesus loves you – and so do I.”
Charles Stanley closed the morning with a talk on the Holy Spirit – Our Helper. Here are some points that really stood out to me.
“All I want you to see is this: you have someone on the inside to help you make wise decisions, comfort you, strengthen you and enable you. All the things that you and I need emotionally, physically and psychologically.”
“The Holy Spirit is inside of us to do what Jesus would do for us if He were still here!”
“We should make all of our decisions based on the principles of Scripture, what does God teach us to do and not to do.”
“We have Someone in us that is willing to give us clear direction.”
“If you’re in deep, deep trouble, and heading in the wrong direction – who do you want with you, God or some friend? You want God…you know what, you already have Him.”
Conclusion: What a morning!!! I’ll tell you what, Geraldine and Ricky were hilarious! When Ricky told the joke about him not being able to go to heaven, he was wailing so much that I almost had tears in my eyes! Then he had to imply that Chris wasn’t going and immediately the spell over the crowd was broken. Geraldine is a master at that! The Mark Trammell Quartet was great! Watching Ben and Gerald play with them was a very special treat!