I think we can agree that the best way to start a new year is with Gospel Music. Surprisingly, when 2018 rolled around, I didn’t have to wait long to find a concert to attend. In fact, I only had to wait five days. That’s quite unusual for Missouri. We’re known for having ice that time of year, but hey, the lack of bad weather and a Gospel concert could be an omen for good things to come! So, when the fifth of January dawned, we put on our winter jackets and headed to Silva, Missouri where The Mark Trammell Quartet was scheduled for their first concert of the year at New Hope General Baptist.
The church filled in nicely for a cold winter night. As always with local concerts, we saw many friends whom we had the pleasure of visiting with before and after the concert. When the pastor stood up to welcome everyone and introduce the group, he kept it short and sweet – before we knew it, MTQ walked on stage and kicked off with “Leave Your Sorrows.” While Trevor played the turnaround, Mark grinned at the crowd and clapping to the beat, said, “Do this! It will warm you up!” Their second song was the mid-tempo “To Know He Knows Me,” which featured Nick. Mark took a minute to ask the folks how many were seeing MTQ for the very first time and that he would introduce everyone in a little while, but until then… “I want Randy to come sing a song that I dearly love,” continued Mark, “it’s called, ‘Led Out Of Bondage’.” Randy sang the upbeat tune and then they went into a ballad that was equally as well loved, “He Hideth My Soul.” After the popular “You Walk Talks,” they sang “Jesus Is Coming Soon.” When the applause died down, Mark said, “I’m glad you all liked that one, I did too. As you can tell, I like things that are a little bit older, and songs are one of them.” He shared that their current CD, Great Moments, was a salute to the National Quartet Convention’s 60th Anniversary and how he felt that all of the songs they recorded had an exceptional impact on Gospel music. “Great cornerstones of our music,” he said. After introducing the group, Mark encouraged the newest member, Trevor Conkle, to play a piano solo for us. Trevor played the “Hallelujah Chorus,” and you could tell that the folks really enjoyed it. After the “Hallelujah Chorus,” MTQ sang “My Faith Still Holds” as well as the classic, “I Know.” The last song of their first set was introduced by Mark, who took us back to the days of the Speer Family. Dad Speer wrote the song, “I Am His and He Is Mine,” and as Mark reminded us, no one wrote about heaven with the confidence and peace as Dad Speer. After Mark sang this moving lyric, the pastor came to take up the offering.
We didn’t break for intermission, and I for one, was happy to get right back to the singing! Though MTQ sang only sang a few more songs, I think they saved the best for last. First off was the upbeat, “Meet Me Over On The Other Side.” Up next was “The Lighthouse,” and I was so thrilled with another chance to see Mark perform this one live. It’s quickly becoming one of my favorites! “Go Show John” and “Wonderful Time Up There” followed, and then the evening closed with “The King Is Coming.”
Conclusion: You can’t go wrong with a concert in a church setting! There’s just something so warm and inviting about sitting in a pew and watching a male quartet sing songs of the faith. As mentioned above, a concert like this is rare in our part of the world in January, and so the opportunity to get out of the house and hear Gospel music made this night extra special. The Mark Trammell Quartet did a great job and I loved how they’ve integrated songs like “The Lighthouse,” “I Know” and the others into their concert. With Mark’s 44 years in the music, the way he introduces each song with a special memory makes them even more enjoyable. It was a great evening!