Once again, hundreds of Southern Gospel fans made their way into the Cowan Civic Center in Lebanon, Missouri, for the very last night of the Brumley Sing. I was privileged to be among them. This year I took a seat in a place I try to avoid at all cost – the balcony. To my great delight though, the view was great and the sound was great up there, however, the actual seats weren’t. They were bleacher seats that didn’t have a back. But I didn’t let that dampen my spirits! . . .though, after the first three groups, I took a much needed walk! (For those of you who are not familiar with the Brumley Sing, it is much like the National Quartet Convention – no intermission. So if you can’t sit for three or four hours straight, you’re going to miss seeing someone sing.) The night began with all the groups on stage with some congregation singing. Duane Garen, a very popular Brumley staff member here in Missouri, said that the week has left him very tired. He continued with his own version of a well know nursery rhyme, it goes like this, Mary had a little lamb, and would have become a sheep, but it went to the Brumley Sing, and died from lack of sleep! Well, I might have applied that to SHSM the previous week, but not to Brumley! Anyway. . .
Tribute was the first quartet to take the stage that night. Every song they sang was from their For This Time project. The first was a snappy quartet song called I Love Living In Grace. During the turn around in the track Gary said, “look at your neighbor and say, ’I’m so glad you got to see me’.” Everyone laughed. Next was their new radio single, I’ve Been Blessed. Watch out for this song! It’s one of those you will find yourself humming all day! Another new one they sang was, I Heard It, I Believe It. Then Gary introduced everyone; Dennis, Josh, Riley, and himself. He introduced the next song as sounding like a good old John Wayne song. He turned to Riley and said, “You’re probably to young to remember John Wayne,” then he turned to Dennis and said, “And you’re old enough to remember John the Baptist!” The song did have a very Western feel to it, but it fit the song perfectly and the crowd loved it. Josh’s piano solo was next. He sat down at the piano to play and Gary said, “Josh, I want you to play my favorite song from your Cd, Every Day With Jesus.” Josh stands up and walking over to Gary, says, “Well Gary, I wanted to play my favorite song off the Cd tonight.” – shrugs his shoulders and sits down at the piano again … and gives one of those laughs that only Josh can give, (which makes the audience laugh). Gary then asked, “Joshua, what is your favorite song off of your Cd?” Josh casually replies, “Every Day With Jesus.” Gary said that their next song was requested by many, it was That’s Why I Love Him So. The audience started clapping when they sang the first line! Their closing song was a very power ballad called Calvary Wins Again. It is one of those that sends chills up your spine! It received a standing ovation. I hope they release this song to radio, it would do well! When they stepped off stage, the mc called Riley back up on stage to tell him how glad they are that he is singing with Tribute and also at the Brumley Sing. You could see that Riley took that to heart.
The Kingsmen were the next quartet in line to sing. They opened with their classic Traveling Home and went into one of their new songs, When It’s All Said And Done. I Will Rise Up From The Grave was the next song they sang, they audience loved this one, they were on their feet in ovation before the song ended! Randy took the lead on Someday, an up tempo song with a great message from their Missing People’s Cd. Bryan introduced everyone, he said that their bus driver wasn’t on the road with them this weekend and that Harold was driving their bus AND singing! Go Huggy! When Bryan introduced Ray, he made mention that Ray has been singing with the Kingsmen for 45 years this year. I personally think that is awesome, 45 years is a long time to do one thing – yet, alone with one group. (Anyone that follows SGM knows that is rare.) I greatly admire Ray’s dedication to the Gospel, and to Gospel Music. Well, continuing with the evening, Cody played A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, as his piano solo. Just getting back from the Steve Hurst School of Music for piano, watching him play amazed me! Number one, every time I see the Kingsmen (which is fairly often) he is always playing something different! Two, he always gets a standing ovation no matter what he plays! (He did receive one here also.) Bryan introduced the next song as being the best song they have lyrically, sung by Randy also, which was God Knows. Harold introduced God Saw A Cross by saying that it is his testimony song, the message really gripped the audience because they were on their feet before it ended. The Kingsmen closed their set with Stand Up – which brought everyone to their feet yet another time. Bryan encouraged all to help them out with the “stand up’s” and soon the whole auditorium shook with everyone shouting “stand up” at the appropriate times.
Legacy Five was the next group of the night, opening their set with their worshipful rendition of What A Friend We Have In Jesus. New Born Feeling followed, warming everyone up for L5’s new radio single My Soul Is Firmly Anchored. Everyone clapped to the beat, enjoying the “new” song that sounds “old”. Scott told the “Florida Story”, how when a church in FL said they couldn’t pray using the name of Jesus, give any personal testimony, or read from the Bible on stage, Scott said, “With all do respect, Legacy Five isn’t coming to your church.” . . . “you need the Booth Brothers!” (Everyone laughed at the joke). Scott said that he just “had to get ’em back!” Scott Fowler was featured on When They Found Nothing, the truth and power of that song brought the audience to their feet in a standing ovation. Scott introduced their next song being a five part harmony, it was the Cathedral classic, Life Will Be Sweeter Someday. On the end of the song, Gus really hit a high, long, powerful note. The crowd loved it! Glenn sang, what I’m going to start calling his trademark song, I’ve Been Changed. Fowler told a story about Preston and Bailey, he pointed out how God can use kids to teach parents things. The story went something like this: Taryn was taking the boys to an activity and stopped at Sonic on the way to get one of those 45 ounce drinks. When the waiter brought it to her door window, she took it by the top and the lid came off, spilling the contents all over herself and the car, plus knocking over a cup of coffee from the previous day. She cleaned it up and went on her way. On the way home, she wanted to make it up to the boys for being late to their activity, so she stopped back at Sonic and told the boys they could get anything they wanted. Preston took ice cream and Bailey wanted a Sprite. This time when the waiter brought the drinks Taryn took the Sprite by the bottom, and handed it to Bailey who took it by the top . . .yeah, it fell and spilled, just like the two previously! This time, as Taryn was cleaning it up she said, “This has been a terrible day.” Bailey said, “Mommy, you shouldn’t say that, that’s not a nice thing to say to God. This is the day the Lord has made.” Taryn agreed with him, and there in the Sonic parking lot, she prayed with the boys, thanking God for the wonderful day. Scott used that story as an introduction to God’s Been Good, which was their closing song.
As Dennis Swongburg came on stage, we went to stretch our legs and visit the concession stand. We walked among the booths and visited with the artists, then made it back to our seats in time to see the Mark Trammell Quartet.
The Mark Trammell Quartet was the last quartet of the evening that we stayed to see. They began their time on stage with the smooth sounding Gentle Shepherd. Dustin played the piano and sang, and Mark played the bass guitar. (All they need is a drummer now!) Anyway, their next number was a fast quartet song called, Hallelujah I’m Going Home. They encored it once, and when Dustin went to encored it a second time, Pat went over to the keyboard and slapped the keys as a sign that they weren’t going to sing it again. The look on Dustin’s face at the thought of Pat “abusing” his keyboard was very comical. Mark talked a little about how they became a quartet after all these years of being a trio, then featured Pat Barker on How Big Is God – which received a standing ovation! They sang Amazing Grace and a new song Dustin Wrote called One Drop Of Blood. The crowd really liked that one. Next was the classic Leave Your Sorrows and Come Along. When this song started, there was such a bad feedback the guys stopped singing by the chorus, waiting for the sound tech to fix it. The sound tech though, threw her hands in the air as if to say, “I don’t know what it is.” But Dustin saved the day when he went over to their system and turned off a button – wha-la, problem fixed! The funny thing was, when I went to Steve Hurst School of Music for piano, my sister went for Sound. At Brumley she was sitting next to me and after the concert on the ride home she said, “I only went to SHSM for one week and I knew how to fix that sound problem!” Mark was featured on the Calvary Melody, which closed their time on stage receiving a standing ovation.
All the groups were wonderful that evening. I think that the Kingsmen received the best response from the audience as a whole. They were the only group to receive four standing ovations that night, with the entire auditorium on their feet, and they just sang their hearts out up there.
Tribute was great, I loved the songs they sang, all had such a great message to them. I highly recommend their Cd For This Time! Legacy Five highlighted the night with their classics and inspirational stories which complimented their songs perfectly. The Mark Trammell Quartet brought the “vintage” side of the evening alive with the hymns and good old quartet songs they sang. I say we had a very balanced variety of music that night!