Last Saturday, I was grateful for a sunny drive on my way to a concert in the St. Louis area. A few trees were even turning yellow and red along the highway; so peaceful compared to our last concert in St. Louis. (During the summer, we went to a concert and all ended up hiding from a tornado in the basement of the church! True story, I promise!) LOL! So, while weather may seem inconsequential to you regarding a concert, to me, it brings back many memories! Fortunately, this time we didn’t encounter any wild weather and just had a “normal” concert with the Mark Trammell Quartet at Hazelwood Baptist Church.
I was pleased to sit in a pew near the front with some friends for the concert. To begin, Pastor Jim Walker stood on stage and mentioned Mark’s recent induction to the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame in September and reception of the Favorite Baritone of the Year Award for 2018 as well. “I’m telling you these things,” Pastor Jim added, “Because Mark won’t say it about himself. It’s an honor to have him and the quartet here tonight.” With that introduction, MTQ came on stage, and the evening began!
The quartet kicked off with “Leave Your Sorrows.” As the track played for the following tune, “To Know He Knows Me,” I felt that this concert was going to focus more on singing and less on talking. (My favorite kind!) The next few songs came one after another, and I knew my hunch was accurate. We enjoyed songs like “Treasures In Heaven” and “Go Show John,” then Mark greeted the crowd. He thanked everyone for coming out to the concert then asked how many were seeing them for the first time. I looked over the crowd as hands went up. Mark exclaimed, “A whole bunch! Well, let me do this here…” Time for group introductions! After Mark shared a couple stories about Blake, Nick and Randy, he introduced Trevor, then asked him to play a piano solo. Trevor played “The Redeemed Medley” and received a rousing applause from the crowd at the end. “Listen to one of my all time favorite hymns as our tenor singer sings for you,” said Mark, introducing the next ballad, “He Hideth My Soul.” I love hearing MTQ on that soothing arrangement brought back from years ago. Up next, was a good old bass feature! Randy took off on, “Led Out Of Bondage” and soon, the crowd was clapping along to the peppy beat. Afterwards, Mark chuckled, “Y’all are awfully easy to sing to… and I love that.” He went on to explain that their next song was a request and why the message of the ballad is so needed for today. “It talks about the most important thing,” said Mark, “It talks about where we should place our faith. In Jesus.” Then they closed the first half of their concert out with the ballad, “My Faith Still Holds.”
Pastor Jim came up and prepared to take the offering, explaining the need to support Christian ministries like MTQ’s. He asked the people to give generously and make the offering a “good one.” “We should make it a good one,” he teased,…”’cause I saw how much they ate at lunch today!” LOL! He then prayed for the offering and Trevor played “Until Then” on the keyboard while the offering plates were passed.
After the offering, MTQ came back on stage and started their second set with “Meet Me Over On The Other Side.” As Nick cued the next track, Mark exclaimed, “Here’s a request!” A few seconds later, we heard the acoustic guitar pick out the intro to “Your Walk Talks.” Next, Randy was featured on “Thanks To Calvary,” Nick on “I Know” and Mark on the classic, “He Is Mine and I Am His.” As the last few notes of Mark’s feature were sung, I couldn’t help but notice Trevor over at the keyboard. Though his left hand was still playing the bass notes, his eyes were closed and right hand lifted up in praise. That song has such emotion and power! After, Nick sang “Jesus Is Coming Soon.” “Thank you,” said Mark, “Thank you so much.” He went on to introduce their last song and shared how over the last five or six years, it has become their most requested song. “I dearly love this song,” said Mark. “I believe the reality of this song will take place very soon.” After quoting the first few verses of John chapter fourteen, they sang “The King Is Coming.” Before the ballad ended, everyone in the church was on their feet. I never get tired of hearing that song. Especially in concert! There’s something special about the arrangement and emotion MTQ puts into the ballad.
Conclusion: I enjoyed the concert at Hazelwood Baptist Church, not just because we didn’t have to worry about a tornado like our previous visit to the city, but because I love getting the chance to sit down and enjoy a full concert in a church with a great quartet. It was a great night with many favorite tunes and a special time with our dear friends from St. Louis!