It is always a treat to get out and see your favorite artist, but I think we’d all agree that seeing a group for the very first time is special in its own right. It gives you a first impression, sets a tone of what you expect from the group in the future, introduces you to new songs and new singers ~ it’s just a good time. A few weeks ago I had the privilege of having this experience once again, This time, it was my first concert with the LeFevre Quartet. Not too far from where I live (and at a church I’m very familiar with) the LeFevre’s were scheduled to sing in Willow Springs, Missouri. You may recall the LeFevre Quartet has had some changes in the last few months, so let me update you as to who’s singing! In the tenor position is Harold Reed (formally of the Kingsmen Quartet), singing lead is Jordan LeFevre, filling the baritone spot is Mike LeFevre and singing bass is Brandon Berry (you’ll remember him from the Old Paths). These four make up the quartet…so are you ready to hear how the night went?
The LeFevre Quartet kicked off their set with a medium tempo song called, Must I Go Out Empty Handed? It was arranged so that bass vocalist Brandon Berry and baritone Mike LeFevre shared a duet on the second verse, very neat to hear! Speeding things up a bit, Mike was featured on a fast number called Hold On Until the Morning. After a round of applause, Oh, The Glory Did Roll followed and Mike reminded us why they traveled to come sing that night – to lift up the name of Jesus Christ. Once Mike asked the crowd if this was their first time to see the LeFevre Quartet, he went into introducing the group, beginning with his son, Jordan. At the young age of 13, Jordan joined the LeFevre’s as their drummer and is now 20 years old singing lead. “I don’t know what it is, but everyone loves the bass singers,” Mike said in wonder as he introduced their bass vocalist Brandon Berry. Brandon was featured on the next song, Let ‘Em Find Me Guilty. Though it was a new one to me, I fell in love with it immediately! The last line of the chorus says, “If they ever judge me, let them find me guilty of serving you all my days!” Next, it was Harold Reed’s turn to introduce Mike. “My three favorite groups growing up were the Kingsmen, the Cathedrals and Gold City. This next song was off of my favorite project they recorded and featured this guy… he is a great guy, great Christian man, this is Mike LeFevre … make him welcome!” When I Get Carried Away was the song that Huggy Bear was talking about off that favorite album of his, and they featured Mike on it right then and there! When the last chorus rolled around, Mike asked the fans to sing along with them if they knew the words, then he introduced Harold Reed, their tenor singer. After his intro, Harold shared a little about the next song and what it meant to him. There is no way to re-phrase what Harold shared, so I’m just going to tell you what it sounded like in “his words.”…
“To be honest with you, it’s a privilege for the four of us to stand up here and lift up the greatest name that has been given among men, and that name is Jesus Christ, our Savior and our Lord. Tonight, we pray that we will say something or sing something that will up-lift your spirit, that’s gonna’ encourage you, that’s going to let you see the love of Jesus every day. When I came with the group I knew about four songs that they did, but when they gave me this next song to learn, it wasn’t really hard to learn, because I was actually in the position of this song. Where I knew what was right from wrong, but I had strayed away from God. You have to come to yourself, just like in Luke 15 where the prodigal son came to himself. I learned where I was – it was time to come home to God. I am here tonight, and the guys are here tonight, that if you have anything in your life, … it doesn’t matter if you’re away from God or if you have something in your life that’s financial, something that you’re dealing with in your marriage, family, something with your next door neighbor. Just remember this: that no matter what your problem is, you are never, ever too far away from God that He can’t step in and handle that problem. We want you to listen to the words to this song, it tells a good story of my life…”
This set up for a beautiful ballad entitled, You’re Never Too Far Away, a song about straying away from the Lord and finding that you can always, always go back home to Him. “I don’t normally get into words of a song,” Harold said when the ballad closed, “but that song should stir and every one of us. Because we’ve all been through troubles…I could go around the room right now and start asking, ‘Have you been through something, have you been through something, have you been through something?’ Even the guys you see, we’re still just as human as everybody else, we have struggles every day, but because of God the Father we are able to make it through. We have storms that come up in our life, but thank God we know the Caption of the ship. He’ll take you right through the storm and if He doesn’t calm the storm, He’ll calm you. I’m thankful that tonight if you’re in that spot, as the song says, ‘You think you’re too far away that God can’t get into your problems and intervene for you,’ we want to encourage you tonight and sing a little more of that song…you are never too far away.” And they sang the chorus again accapella – just beautiful!
Lightening things up a bit, Mike told a little joke of what it was like growing up with the all night singings they use to attend in Atlanta (where Mike is from). He said, “I use to think, if I could only get on one of those buses – now I think, if I can only get home!” While he was telling us that joke, the guys set up two old RC mics so they could sing some old stuff! Three gathered around one and Brandon had the other all to himself for the first oldie but goodie of the night, Sing His Praises. Mike commented, “You like those don’t you?” when the song finished. “Do you want to hear another one?” Turning to Harold, Mike went on to tease him by saying that it was only Huggy’s fourth week with them and he just didn’t understand why Harold couldn’t remember all the words! They only have 60 songs, you know! To make “matter’s worse,” Mike began saying that back in the Caravan days they actually had girls to sing certain parts…and the next song was one he wanted Harold to sing “like a girl!” Huggy’s face was priceless! Brandon interjected, “I thought that was all of them.” With Harold clearly distressed, Mike tried to put his mind at ease by saying, “But they’re smiling at you…they won’t know the difference!” Harold replied, “Oh yes they will!” Nevertheless, the next track played and they were off into the old convention song. Harold folded his hands in prayer as he walked up to the mic…then about half way through the song, he had a bit of fun and began kicking his leg up in the air. Then it was time for Mike to look shocked! So, when they came to that part in the song again, Harold began dancing with his suit jacket and the mic – that time the others guys just stopped singing altogether! Harold, with his best look of confusion, asked, “What are ya’ll looking at?” It was hilarious! There is nothing like having some good ole’ fun at a concert! Next, Mike told us about their radio single…or, the song they wanted to send out to radio. When they decided they wanted to send this one out, their record company advised them not to for two reasons. Number one, it was too long (over five minutes) and number two, the song said the name of Jesus too many times. (Mouths dropped at that one) Mike assured us that we did hear him correctly. Yep, it said the name of Jesus too much. The Christian radio stations are owned by the secular market, so they get to moderate what gets played. Mike’s response to that was this: “God’s Word is what it is and we’re going to proclaim it.” After thinking about that info for “half a second,” they sent it out to radio anyway! You know what? Mike said that was the fastest rising song they have EVER had on the charts. Amen! To set up this song, Mike shared some things that he learned while on a trip to Israel last March. He talked about Bethlehem, the Sea of Galilee, the garden of Gethsemane, Calvary and the tomb. When he came to the tomb Mike said, “I looked in there and guess what? – it’s empty!” Then the track played at the perfect moment and they began singing the song that they sent out to radio, the one that rose the fastest, and the one that others said people wouldn’t like…simply titled, Jesus Saves. To see the LeFevre Quartet sing this was outstanding! They put their hearts into it and sang from their very souls! Even though they had a very, very tough crowd that night, they still received a standing ovation for this song. What a message proclaimed!
That signaled the end of the first half, so while Pastor Scott came up to announce the offering, he called Harold back up on stage and said, “You dance pretty for a guy.” Harold replied, “I watch Dancing with the Stars a lot.” LOL. But Pastor Scott was on another mission, he insisted that Harold Reed looked like someone familiar…someone local. Steve Grant (from KY3 [News Broadcast] in Springfield, or better yet, Jim Ed Carter, the undertaker in Cabool!
Without intermission the second half began with an upbeat number called, I Want To Be Just Like My Lord. This fast number had the crowd clapping to the beat and Brandon showed off some of his bass notes on the chorus. Another ballad, Then I Met The Master, featured Harold also. While they were singing this song, I couldn’t help but notice that the pastor walked right up on stage and set a stack of cards on one of the chairs. I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember the last time a person walked up on stage uninvited while the group is singing…well, actually, I do – but that’s beside the point! I just didn’t think you did that, it was very distracting. Mike went into a short summary of what it’s like to be a singer: “Whether you’re sick, not feeling good, you get out there and do what God called you to do.” They also did a give-a-way that night and a lady won one of their DVD’s. Mike talked about some of the trying things his family has faced over the last year. His mother was diagnosed with cancer, they moved out of the house that they raised their family in, and their dog, who had been a faithful companion for 15 years, passed away. In the end he said this, “If you’re a born again Christian, God’s got something for you to do.” A song all about that brought the evening to a close, Little is Much when God Is In It.
Conclusion: Can I critique the church instead of the group? LOL. I have to slip in this mention about the Church in Willow Springs – it seems to me that there are some churches who have groups in and they take it upon themselves to be hospitable. Then, there are others who bring artists in and almost forget that they are the hosts. This church fits the latter category. Without being too harsh, I just want to mention something that caught my eye about the congregation of this church, they were so caught up with talking to their friends, no one spoke to the artists! Oh my!
Ok, now for the LeFevre’s! Like I said, this was my first time hearing them, and I think they have a great ministry. Harold Reed fits right in with them and so does Brandon Berry. The LeFevre Quartet is laid back, and because of that, I was able to see a side of Harold that I didn’t get to see too many times when he was with the Kingsmen – that being the side he gets to show on stage when he just talks to the people he’s singing to. (He did this with the Kingsmen a few times, YouTube videos will testify to this, but what I saw that night very was different.) The LeFevre’s have good songs, Jesus Saves being an immediate favorite! Mike seems like a great guy and it is so encouraging to see father and son (Jordan) stick together! This was also my first time to see Brandon Berry sing live and I thought he did an excellent job. Overall, the concert was good. They had a tough crowd, but handled the situation very well…(I can’t wait to see them with a more lively audience though!) LOL! The most important thing is that they are proclaiming that “Jesus Saves” – and we know that His Word never returns void! Thanks guys, for coming to Missouri to minister to us!