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Here we go…

“Just think of the blog,” said Pat Barker with a mischievous grin on his face.  At that moment, the only thing I could think of, or maybe, trying to think of, was why a perfectly sane girl from Missouri was going on a ride that was sure to make her sick.  It was a rather hot day and the sun beat down its fiery rays upon all who were not privileged to be in a shaded area.  An employee of Silver Dollar City hollered, “Hands in the air everyone!” as she began to fasten the safety bars on the other side of the ride.  I still wasn’t sure what I had gotten myself into when I followed Mark Trammell, Pat Barker and their friend Kathy onto the Barn Swing.  “Close your eyes and scream, it helps,” Pat suggested as the lady securing everyone in came around the corner.  “That’s what I told Andy when we went to Six Flags,” he added.  “Think I’ll do that,” I replied.  As the safety bar sunk low, strapping me in, there was one thing I was pretty sure of…I was going to die.  At least partially!  wink

Truth is, aside from “kiddie rides,” I had never been on a real roller coaster before.  Now, the Barn Swing isn’t really a roller coaster, but it certainly wasn’t in the “Grand Expedition” area of Silver Dollar City either.  My synopsis of the ride is simply this: It was pretty crazy!  From the Barn Swing our group meandered over to Powder Keg and Wildfire.  (Though I took my chances on Powder Keg I did not ride Wildfire!)  Instead, I decided to watch and snap a few photos.  Anyway…

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Working hard to get those specials together!

Cardboard fans bent back and forth as folks sat in Echo Hollow in Branson, Missouri waiting for the evening concert to begin.  The staff opened the gates for Echo at four o’clock and from that point on, the Hollow began to fill.  Every evening during the Southern Gospel Picnic at Silver Dollar City a different artist appears to end the day with a “grand finale” of sorts.  On the sixth day of the Picnic, the group to do that was the Mark Trammell Quartet.

The emcee for the nightly concerts, Duane Garren, kicked off the night with a congregational.  Thousands of hot music lovers belted out Keep On The Firing Line while clapping along to the beat.  From there they went into the National Anthem and a pastor from Texas opened the evening in prayer.  When Duane introduced the Mark Trammell Quartet, he made special mention that MTQ was the first male quartet to sing in Echo Hollow this year!  The quartet kicked off the evening with Leave Your Sorrows and Guide Me Oh Thou Great Jehovah.  As they neared the final verse, Mark hollered to the crowd, “If you know the last stanza, please help us sing it!”  When the last note of the upbeat hymn ended, they went right into How Long Has It Been.  It’s amazing how you can create a spirit of worship even with the heat of the August sun pouring down on those in the audience.  Yet, it happened quite clearly, because at the end I heard someone say, “Wow.”  Ransomed and Redeemed followed.  “How many of you are here for the whole picnic?” Mark asked, “We are so envious of you because tomorrow we make an 1100 mile trip to Pennsylvania.”  Then he asked those who were seeing them for the very first time to raise their hands.  A lady from the front row hollered, “That’s too many!”  Mark turned to her and asked, “Did you take your medicine today?”  When she answered yes, he said, “You must have had too much frozen lemonade.”  LOL  Mark introduced the group and then sang a song that featured Pat, Echoes From The Burning Bush.  Wedding Music and Testimony, a good upbeat tune that features Nick Trammell, were next.  “How many of you are currently involved in ministry or have been at some point in your life?” asked Mark.  Hands raised and he went on to tell a little about the next song and how it applied to them.  “I sent this song out to radio and when I did my record company kind of scratched their heads,” (they didn’t think it would be a song that could go #1, but Mark went on to tell of the reason why he wanted it on radio), “I want the message to be heard.  To you who have asked the question, ‘Is what I’m doing or have done effective?  In the 21st century, does anyone care?  Why do I keep doing what I do?’…this is for you who raised your hands.”  The ballad that he spoke of was Too Much To Gain To Lose, and when they sang it, everyone stood to their feet in ovation.  The following tune was a bass feature called Wonderful Time Up There.  When it ended, Mark asked, “Ya’ll like quartet music, don’t you?”  He went on to talk about the men that he sings with, “I’m proud of these guys, they have worked hard to preserve the music we love and present the best.”  Continuing, he spoke of their current project, Lifetime, and how it chronicles his life from the time he was 14 up to now.  Pat Barker, always ready to interject a joke here and there, said, “I don’t know if I’d call it Lifetime, I’d call it Overtime.”  LOL  When the teasing had  ceased and Mark went back to his original topic, he gave a little history lesson on that song, Wonderful Time Up There.  It was the first to sell a million records in Gospel Music and when Pat Boone went back into the studio to re-record it, the Cathedrals (whom Mark was singing with at the time) sang back up for him.  When Pat Barker mentioned that he didn’t know who Pat Boone was, the crowd booed him!  Pat quickly recovered and asked, “He was the frontiersman, wasn’t he?”  Mark answered, “No that was Daniel Boone.”  Nonchalantly, Pat replied, “Didn’t you sing with Daniel Boone too?”  Mark laughed, “Even the Yankee (their new tenor Dustin) knew the answer to that one!”  LOL Those guys sure have fun together on stage!  Getting ready to close their first set, Mark turned to a serious topic and explained how important the message to their last song was with these words, “If I could sing one more song and then my career would be over, it would be this one.”  That ballad was The King Is Coming…and from the first line the crowd applauded.  They barely made it to the chorus before the people began to stand and when they came to the bridge that triumphantly proclaimed, “I’m free from the fear of tomorrow…” the audience fervently clapped again.

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Finally, the singing!

Intermission lasted 15 minutes and then MTQ came back on stage and Mark announced, “We’ve had a lot of requests and we know we can’t get them all in 22 minutes, but we’re gonna’ try!  Here’s the first, Meet Me Over On The Other Side!”  The track began and they sang that very tune, with a ballad called I Thirst following.  Master Builder and I Want To Know were next.  “If you have served or currently are serving in our nation I want you to stand,” Mark began, “I love what I do.  Almost 40 years of singing the greatest music in all the world, as far as I’m concerned, and I get to do that without fear of someone trying to stop me…because those who just stood went and stood between me and harm’s way.  I want to sing this song especially for those who paid the ultimate price.”  With that tribute, MTQ sang Statue Of Liberty.  People began to stand during the first verse – with Labor Day right around the corner; it was quite the song to end with!  Duane came up on stage and asked, “Have you really enjoyed these guys tonight?  Let ‘em know it!”  And the crowd roared…

Conclusion:  Impressed = is being able to take someone who has been sitting out in the sun with the temperatures in the 90’s and get them on their feet because you sang something that blessed them.  The Mark Trammell Quartet did that more than once.  I love seeing these guys sing, and though I get to see them quite often, they never get old!  By the way, for all you roller coaster fans, Pat Barker wants you to know that Outlaw Run, “…was phenomenal!”

Author: lynnschronicles

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