The last day of the Indian Creek Baptist Church Memorial Day Gospel Singing was also the warmest day, but with Thursday and Friday’s beautiful weather, who could complain? And with the Mylon Hayes Family, Jonathan Wilburn and the Blackwood Brothers Quartet appearing on stage?… Well, it was bound to be a great evening!
Before the first group came on, Gary Farmer came on stage and once again, asked the audience to help him honor all the Veterans who bravely served our country. This time, he invited Richard, an attendee who had a camper out back, to share a little bit about his time in the service. After that, a pastor from Florida came and opened the evening in prayer. Before leaving the stage, Danny Jones made sure everyone knew that Pastor Paul was one of the few who have been at Indian Creek for all of the 17 years!
“If you’ve missed the last two nights,” Danny began, “then you’ve missed some of the best singing you’ll ever hear. But don’t worry! We have three groups lined up for you tonight that will make you feel like you haven’t missed out on anything. Coming to the platform right now is one of the best family groups out there…The Mylon Hayes Family!” When this family comes on stage, you can be certain of one thing, they’ll sing some of your favorites. One of those opened their set – the hymn, “Jesus Saves.” After that, they went into one of their newer songs, called, “One More Opportunity.” “Whoa, is it hot!” teased Mylon. He went on to share with the audience how they are glad for the opportunity to lift up our Lord and Savior through music and then he introduced his family. “We love the hymns of the church,” said Mylon, “and this was one we weren’t familiar with when we recorded it, but Wendy’s going to sing it for you…” Bailey provided the music at the piano and Wendy sang a beautiful lyric, “Jesus Is Walking With Me.” Their next hymn, “Spend A Little Time With Jesus In Prayer,” featured Kennedy and then Wendy asked the crowd if they had a chance to sing this weekend? She led the crowd in singing the simple tune, “Jesus Loves Me,” and observed that though the lyrics are the first thing we learn as a child, they’re also the first thing we forget when tough times come. But His love never fails. This theme flowed into Wendy’s feature, “The Love Medley,” which followed. If you’ve seen the Mylon Hayes Family in concert at any time, you’ve probably heard them sing “convention style.” It was no surprise that a tune from the Red Back Hymnal came next. Not only did they sing the classic “O Happy Day,” they did it a’cappella! Afterwards, Conner sat down at the keyboard and played an instrumental of “Since Jesus Came Into My Heart.” They closed their first set with “I Choose To Stand,” “Oh, What A Morning” and “There Is Coming A Day.”
As the Hayes Family left the stage, Danny came back on to introduce the next artist. “If you were here last night you know that we had a little excited guy, Josh Franks,” said Danny. “He’s not the only guy like that…welcome, Jonathan Wilburn!” Jonathan, in the same energetic manner as Josh, came on stage with an equally energetic song, “When He Calls I’ll Fly Away.” Not stopping to take a breath, Jonathan exclaimed, “Oh, we’re gonna have a good time!” and went right into “Let’s All Go Down To The River.” As that tune came to a close, Jonathan greeted the crowd with a “How-dee!” The folks answered in the exact same manner. Grinning, Jonathan said, “I love that! Let’s do it again!”…and they did. He went on to share a few words and remind us of how thankful we should be this weekend not only for our freedom as Americans, but also the freedom we have in Jesus Christ. This led into his song that’s #2 on the Singing News Charts – Living Proof. He called it a “toe-tapper” and it sure was! After that song, he took a few moments to explain that his son, Jordan, has taken a few months off the road and how he and Sandra were on their way to Gatlinburg for vacation. Which meant that he had both his granddaughters with him that weekend! He called them up to the stage and together, the little trio sang a chorus of “Jesus Loves Me.” As the girls ran back to their grandma, Jonathan went into “There Rose A Lamb,” with “I’m Rich” following. On the encore of that last one, Jonathan came off the stage into the middle aisle to shake people’s hands ad he sang. “Danny,” Jonathan cried out, “do we have time for one more?” Danny’s reply was drowned out by the crowd’s loud shout of, “Yeah!” Then Jonathan asked the crowd, “Can I get a drink of water first?” With the same enthusiasm, they hollered, “Yeah!” Jonathan introduced his last song with the story of how his grandfather, a WWII Veteran, came to know Jesus at a revival meeting and how once again, the old rugged cross made the difference…
“We couldn’t have this weekend without a good quartet,” said Danny, getting ready to bring up the final group of the night. “Not many groups can say they’ve sang in 47 different countries…not many groups can say they’ve sang at the White House…or in Russia…not many groups can say they’ve sang in Carnegie Hall…and there are few groups who can say they’ve sang at Indian Creek!” The Blackwood Brothers Quartet can claim all of the above and more! Jimmy greeted the crowd with a “good evening!” as they came on stage and they started their set with a few classics like “Dear Jesus, Abide With Me,” “That’s What Heaven Will Be,” “I’ll Fly Away Home” and “That Old Country Church.” Jimmy introduced the group then featured Butch on a tune called, “I’ve Got To Walk.” After singing “Long Gone,” Jimmy chuckled and explained how they were in a unique situation tonight because the song they planned on doing next had already been sung by another group! Yet, because Doug was trying out for Michael’s part, and this song would feature him…and Jimmy really wanted us to hear Doug sing, they were going to do it anyway. As they went into “There Is Coming A Day,” I observed the crowd and they didn’t seem to mind hearing the classic ballad again. When they finished, they surprised the crowd and wheeled Michael on stage. Jimmy had explained earlier that Michael had decided to come off the road and focus on his health, but always comes on the bus for a weekend here and there when he feels up to it. Lucky for us, this happened to be one of those weekends! Michael sang “The Blood Will Never Loose It’s Power” and you could see the joy it gave him to be singing again. He stayed on stage for their last few songs, which were “Cross To The Other Side Of Jordan” and their closing ballad. Leading into this last song, Jimmy explained that they mostly sing older songs – after all, 80 years’ worth of music gives you a lot of songs to work with! Yet, there are new songs that come along that are just as meaningful as those classics. He continued to point out that music psychologists say that people have the tendency to love the songs of their youth and that’s why we love so many of the old hymns and gospel songs of the past. But…we must keep in mind that those songs, at one point, were once new. Somewhere in the past, someone stood up in church and said, “I want to sing a new song I wrote,” and sang the lyrics, “on a hill far away, stood an old rugged cross…” Maybe some folks weren’t impressed and said, “Awe, that’s okay.” Here’s the point, people haven’t stopped writing great songs and if we allow, new songs can bless us just as much as the old ones. That was the desire of Jimmy as they finished their set with a beautiful ballad called, “Forever Forgiven.”
After intermission we heard another short round of singing from each artist. This time, Jonathan Wilburn sang first and kicked off with a Christmas song – God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. “That’s from our brand new Christmas album,” exclaimed Jonathan, “Surprise, surprise!” His second song was “Prayer Is All I Need” and then he closed with the iconic “Midnight Cry.” All throughout that classic were hands raised and shouts of approval and praise.
As the Mylon Hayes Family came on stage Danny mentioned that he had several folks tell him how much they loved the convention style singing during intermission. So that’s what they sang! “When The Morning Sweeps Across The Eastern Sky” and “Rock Of Ages Keep My Soul” filled their set. They closed with Wendy starting the popular “Little Is Much When God Is In It,” which, eventually worked its way around to feature Kennedy as well.
If one thing could be said of Saturday night, it would be that the older songs had a chance to shine once again. The Blackwood Brothers continued the theme with a medley of “Happy Rhythm” with “Everybody’s Gonna Have A Wonderful Time Up There,” “Who Am I?” and “Beulah Land.” As Jimmy said, “These songs deserve to be heard again.” But the closing song was the moment of the night… Jimmy took a few moments to share how Michael had requested to sing a certain song when they went into the studio to record their hymns project. Why this song? Because it was the first one Michael remembered singing in church, and it was the last song we heard Saturday night at Indian Creek; it was none other than “I’d Rather Have Jesus.” The sweet spirit that filled the tent was indescribable. Before closing the night, Danny took a moment to share with the crowd how he’s seen Michael’s passion for spreading the good news of Jesus behind the scenes. One of those ways is through the Singing News, where Michael has a monthly column. But what folks don’t realize yet…is that Michael has sent in enough articles to last years. He’s not wasting a minute of his life – and that’s quite an inspiration to us all.
Conclusion: Wow. This year at Indian Creek has been amazing. Any time you hear music such as these groups have delivered, you will be blessed; but to have a word of testimony just as encouraging to go along with them…hmmm, that’s when it gets really good. Every group that came across the stage lifted up Jesus with every song and each complemented one another in many ways. Last but not least, the church members at Indian Creek Baptist did an amazing job of serving their community, honoring our Veterans, fallen heroes and bringing the gospel to many. This…this is why I spend Memorial Day weekend in Georgia.
Interested in reading more about the sing at Indian Creek? Read my other reviews from the weekend!
Thursday night —> Here
Friday night —> Here