“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
A few weeks ago I sat in the bleachers at a Gospel Sing and watched a season come to pass. The only problem was…I didn’t want it to end. As I looked down on what would be the last concert I’d see Pat Barker sing with The Mark Trammell Quartet, I tried to push away all the memories of previous sings and concerts that rose to my mind so I could enjoy that moment. I wasn’t very successful. In my minds eye, I saw The Dixie Echoes singing on Main Stage at NQC – that was the first time I heard Pat sing. A few years later, he joined Mark Trammell’s group, extending it to a quartet. Around that time all the former members of the Cathedrals were doing their Remember The Music Tour, one date was in Springfield and I recall watching Pat sit out in the bleachers as Legacy Five’s bass singer, Glenn Dustin sang most of the concert. When Gerald brought Pat up to sing Wedding Music the crowd went wild. Then there was that little church just over the border in Arkansas where we saw them not long after Treasures was released. After the concert I walked up to the table (the foyer wasn’t very big, in fact, I remember that they couldn’t even fit all four guys behind the table!) and met Pat for the first time as I purchased some Cds. We struck up a conversation and from that night on, he always remembered my family and I when we would come out to see MTQ in concert. He brought his great personality to the quartet and his interpretation of the lyrics was always done with great depth and passion. Pat, you’ll be missed – not just on stage, but off stage as well!
Another major change in the quartet industry is the absence of Jeff Stice from Triumphant Quartet. When I saw the press release that he was leaving the road, I was saddened once again. Jeff taught piano at the Steve Hurst School of Music and for three consecutive years I watched and listened as he passionately explained to others the music that’s been his life work. Every year he helped us (myself and the other students) to understand how music works in each of our callings, whether that be church music, quartet music or a solo ministry. He taught it all. Then I saw him work as a master of his craft in concert. I can’t remember one time that he didn’t receive a standing ovation for one of his solo arrangements. And I know if Jeff were reading this he would probably remind me, like he did all of us at SHS, that it’s not about how many standing O’s you get…but to me, when a crowd responds like that all the time, it testifies that the one they’re standing for is called of God and has been given the ability to do what they do. I certainly hope Jeff doesn’t stay away for long!
And yet, I have one more change to reflect on before we move on…and that is the announcement from Daniel Mount that his news website, Southern Gospel Journal, will retire in June. I cannot think of another source that’s considered more reliable by bloggers, fans and artists than Southern Gospel Journal. To every blogger, Daniel’s work is the standard. I personally applaud Daniel for the amount of material that he published on a consistent basis over the years. That is no easy task! On the other hand, it is exciting to see the new season the Lord is bestowing on his life and his obedience to follow. Many are aware that Daniel is a published author and has written a number of songs. His latest work, the biography of Dianne Wilkinson, The Life and Times of a Gospel Songwriter, is a must read for those who have enjoyed the songs penned by Dianne through the years. I can’t wait to see what Daniel’s next volume will be!
Now, we move on to the happenings of May. As far as traveling is concerned, I have stayed close to home. This should have given me the chance to catch up on all the other reviews I’ve been trying to squeeze in the time to write! LOL (For reference, the Singing in the Sun reviews are on their way…I promise!) There are a few concerts lined up for this month. On the 8th I made the two hour drive to Pocahontas, Arkansas to see the Mark Trammell Quartet and I also planned to see Legacy Five last Friday, but a stomach virus said otherwise! I hope to see Brian Free and Assurance at the end of the month in Lebanon (Missouri). There is another new Gospel Sing I may go to over Memorial Day weekend, but plans are not “in stone” yet. We’ll have to wait and see about that one! (If I go, you’ll see an update on FB or Twitter for sure.)
If you’re one of my Facebook friends, you’ve most likely noticed that I read a lot. It’s one of my favorite hobbies. Every now and then I’ll post a review on this site that is not related to Gospel Music and I’m planning on doing so again. This isn’t a habit because you guys come here to read about SGM, but I also know that many folks who love this music enjoy Christian Fiction as well and I feel that it doesn’t hurt to pass on a good recommendation whenever I can. So if you enjoy reading Historical Fiction, come back and visit in a few days. Also, I just finished reading 3, the third book published by our very own Danny Jones of the Singing News! This book will also be reviewed sometime in the near future…I fear to talk about it too much lest I give it all away! *wink*
Well, that’s all for now!