A mixture of yellow, red and orange whizzed by as I drove down highway 60 towards Mountain Grove. It was a beautiful fall day. When you plan on attending a Gospel concert, you should always allow extra time for road construction…as I should have done last Saturday. Suddenly, I had plenty of time to observe the fall color! The concert I was driving to was the 10th Annual McCune’s Homecoming. We have been attending this sing the last couple of years and I always enjoy seeing the artists that Duane and Micki Garren bring in. (The first couple of years we attended they had the Booth Brothers. Last year they had the Mark Trammell Quartet and Karen Peck & New River, and this year they were having the McKameys!) Each year, Micki sings with her sisters, the McCunes, and Duane emcees the concert. We always have a blast!
When I walked in the high school to purchase tickets to the 10th Annual McCune’s Homecoming, a choir of little voices met my ears as they sang, “He’s still working on me! He’s still working on me!” With a sigh of relief I thought, “Good! That means I didn’t miss too much!” Then the children began belting out I Saw the Light. Quickly (and what I hope was quietly) I slipped in the back of the gym and looked for my seat. Section 3 – Row 12 – Seat 6. By this time the kids had left the stage and the McCune’s were playing an instrumental made up of piano, bass and saxophone. I smiled. I may have been sitting on the back row, but I still had a good view! After their instrumental and a good ole Gospel song by the name of I’m Feeling Fine, Micki introduced their next song. She said, “We’ve been told that we would be really good if we had a bass singer.” (The McCune’s are an all-female trio of three sisters, Teresa, Toni and Micki.) Micki made some more comments about bass singers then said, “But in true McCune girl fashion…we have two songs with bass leads.” The first of those two songs was I Want To Know. Until that moment, I had only heard male quartets sing that song but let me tell you, those girls sang that one! I must not have been the only one to think so either, because it wasn’t long before folks began to stand and clap along. Afterwards, Micki teased, “Pat Barker, eat your heart out!” lol “We had them (the Mark Trammell Quartet) last year,” Micki explained, “but we didn’t get that song from them, we’ve been singing it for years and pull it out every now and then. We thought you would enjoy it this afternoon.” Their second “bass feature” song was On the Jericho Road, which also featured their sister, Toni. A ballad, When Ten Thousand Angels Cry and an upbeat tune, When Jesus Passes By, followed. Finishing up that last one, Toni teased Teresa about how fast they played it and asked if they could “play at a normal speed now.” (The three sisters sang with their live instruments – the piano and bass guitar.) That next song was called If There’s No God – by the close of the second verse, a strong applause came from the risers in the rear of the building. “On behalf of the McCune’s I want to say again, thank you, for coming out to Mountain Grove on a beautiful Saturday afternoon,” said Micki. She went on to say that they were going to sing one more song and when she thinks about it, she could cry. And she did cry a little as she went on, “If there’s no God to explain all of this,” she said, gesturing toward the audience. A “hmm” from the crowd expressed their agreement. “We serve a God who can heal…I think of the brother sitting on the second row and how they told us 15 years ago that he wouldn’t be here, but he is. They told us Macy was going to be Downs Syndrome, she’s not. We serve a God who can mend all things. Broken hearts, broken spirits, all things.” Then she began to sing their last song acapella, O Holy Night. As their voices began to fill the room, the words that were just spoken before filled the minds and hearts of those who needed to hear, that yes, God is still in control. Slowly, all over the room, folks began to stand.
“Somebody say, “Praise the Lord,” Duane said, when he stepped on stage. After a few announcements the McKameys made their way to the stage and Duane welcomed them, “The rest of the afternoon we have given to the McKameys. They are here and we have told them to take as much time as they need to sing the songs that you want to hear. Would you make welcome, the McKameys!” When the McKameys walked on stage a portion of the audience stood to their feet. They opened with The Beatitudes Song, one that featured Peg and had a good beat. As Peg introduced their second song and told about Mary, Martha and Lazarus, she slipped her hanky out. The song was their classic Here Comes Jesus Right On Time. I had a feeling the crowd was anticipating this song because they applauded at the end of the first chorus! I Sing A Song and The Blessed Old Book came back to back. When Ruben began to sing the tune about the Bible, Peg stepped back and picked up the copy they brought on stage, holding it up as a visual. “Thank you so much, it is indeed an honor to be here,” Ruben began, greeting the crowd. “I liked their singing (referring to the McCune’s). When I met Peg, she was singing with her two sisters.” He went on to introduce Peg and shared with the audience that they’ve been married for 54 years! Then Peg talked about how surprised she was to see all the folks who came out on an afternoon and introduced her husband, Ruben and the rest of the McKameys; Connie, Sheryl, Roger and Eli. (I had to chuckle a little. As they began introducing everyone, just outside the building, a marching band walked by making a racket! I looked over at the double doors just in time to see a police car cruising along followed by a row of brass instruments blowing their hearts out! LOL) Roger’s solo, Unspoken Request and the Shepherds Point of View, were next. “It is just so good to be here. I’m a little overwhelmed,” said Peg, “…and I’m a little hyper anyway. I talked to one lady from Nebraska who drove eight hours to be here.” Then she asked how many folks drove in from out of state and if they would raise their hands. Then she asked how many grandmas were in the building. Almost half of the room raised their hands and the audience giggled. She went on to say how proud she was of her grandson, Eli, and asked him to come sing a solo. It was called More Like Jesus, Less Like Me. “I want Connie to come sing my favorite song,” Peg said after Eli’s feature. “Hold on. Hold on to God’s Word.” She shared that their pastor had been preaching on Elijah during the Wednesday night services and that topic was the exact same as the lyrics in the song. The song was called Hold On and God On the Mountain followed and finished the first half of the program. Standing ovation! After an encore, Duane climbed up on stage and asked, “Have you enjoyed the McKameys so far?”
Duane announced that they would take an intermission and then the McKameys would come back and sing some more. When the second half of the program began, they sang Christmas music! Now, I’m not sure if these song titles are going to be correct, please bear with me! The first was one that played off the words “Joy To the World” and even had a portion of that carol in the bridge. Afterwards, Peg said, “Ya’ know, a lot of people don’t like Christmas music. If that’s you, I hate to burst your bubble, but they already have the Christmas trees out at Wal Mart!” Another Christmas tune, Who Do You Think, followed. When Peg finished telling a little story about that last song, she looked at Ruben and asked, “Now, what were we gonna’ do?” I think the next one was called The First Christmas. Sadly, that was the last Christmas song! From there, they went back to singing their regular material, which began with He Can. The next number was a fun tune that featured Roger, called If You Have the Robe On. Concerning the following ballad, Ruben said, “This is one of my favorites. It tells us like it is, He’s still God, it doesn’t matter what mess this world’s in, He’s still God and He can do anything He wants to do.” The ballad Ruben spoke of was one that featured Peg, You’re Still God. When Peg finished singing that one, she talked about growing up in a poor family of 12 children. She went on to say that for some reason God singled her out to do what she’s doing. Out of millions of people in this world, He picked her…because He wanted to. The reason she’s made it – through God’s amazing grace. Those two lines were the subject of their final song. As the McKameys bowed, everyone stood to their feet and gave a robust applause. Duane walked on stage and asked Ruben to dismiss us in prayer, which he did.
Conclusion: The McKameys captivated me! This was my first time to see them sing a full concert and I loved every second of it! This was my 5th year to attend the McCune’s Homecoming and I have never seen that audience applaud more than what they did for the McKameys. It was nothing for them to clap two or three times within one song. And the way the audience stood when the McKameys walked on stage! I’ve seen folks stand for preachers (like Charles Stanley and David Jeremiah) at events, but rarely have I seen fans stand for a group when they walk on stage like that. The experience was amazing. I enjoyed all of their songs, especially the Christmas music! Every year at the McCune’s Homecoming, no matter who the guest artist is, everyone always sings some Christmas! I will definitely be looking forward to seeing the McKameys more in the future!