The last day of the cruise was a full day at sea. We were on our way home. This was sad for me because I so wanted to spend more time exploring the Bahamas! But even the best vacation must come to an end. On a brighter note, I was determined to enjoy every minute of what we had left on the cruise!
In the morning we made our way to the Passage to India Lounge where a sign reading “private event” stood tall. On Friday, we were invited to a special concert with our hosts, the Mark Trammell Quartet and the Whisnants. The India Lounge was an intimate setting with a few rows of chairs in a half moon circle around the stage. To the left of the platform were booths and windows looking out on the water. As implied by the name, the décor in the lounge was Asian in taste. Giant elephants stood on each side of you as you walked in and a beautiful burgundy tapestry hung on the wall behind the stage. If you leaned up against a pole, you wouldn’t be surprised to find an elephant head with a torch wrapped around its trunk next to you. The setting was very warm and inviting.
The Whisnants sang first with the smooth tones of We Are So Blessed opening their short set and then moving into The Gloryland Way. Susan took a moment and pointed out her parents on the front row and how thankful she was that they taught her about the Word of God. This led into Ethan singing a solo called The Book – it was a sweet moment. Continuing on, Aaron sang The Depths of the Sea and Jeff explained how Mark called him and asked if they wanted to do this special event again for their folks. He mentioned how much he enjoyed the close setting that the India Lounge offers them and how thankful he was to have such a close relationship with MTQ. He remembered the time when Mark was singing with the major groups of the day and how he thought, “I would like to meet him.” He never thought that down the road they would become best friends – yet, here they were! Getting ready to sing another new song, Jeff said, “We can do nothing but trust. He’s faithful. I don’t care how troubled the waters are…you can trust Him.” Then he sang I’m Not Afraid To Trust Him (from their new CD “That’s Why We’re Here.”)
The Mark Trammell Quartet stepped up to the stage next and began with God’s Been Faithful. Mark said of their next song, Your Walk Talks, “This seems to be the most talked about song on the cruise.” After that new peppy tune they sang Don’t Stop Running. “I’m especially proud of that one,” said Mark, “Nick wrote it.” Then he took a few minutes and shared with the crowd how much they love singing with The Whisnants. There is a spirit of unity and like-mindedness with them and when they get together it’s just like family, he explained. Before they started Mark asked if they wanted to sing first and they said, “You can sing first.” To the folks, Mark said, “It’s always like that.” No competition – they just love singing with each other. The next two songs featured Pat, one was a slow song and the other a barn burner! They were Thanks To Calvary and I’ll Take It To the Grave. Of that last one, Mark said, “That’s a brand new song we’re just learning…ya’ never know, when we learn it, it might be alright!” LOL Their last song is my favorite from their new Your Walk Talks CD, it’s called Man of Sorrows. This song was really special to me because I didn’t expect to hear them sing it on the cruise, but they did and Mark did an excellent job on it!
It was almost time for lunch but before they let everyone go they wanted to do a quick question and answer session with the folks. The first question was who wrote Your Walk Talks – and the answer was Rodney Griffin and Babbie Mason. The second question was directed at Mark and made me chuckle, “Why do you pick on Susan?” Before he had a chance to answer Susan jumped in and said, “The last time I left my phone on the product table and I picked it up again everything was in Chinese!” Mark casually added, “The Bible says a merry heart doeth good like a medicine – Susan is my medicine.” (Poor Susan!) The next question came from a little girl in the back and she wanted to know, “How did Pat lose his brain?” Everyone burst out giggling! Mark answered, “You have to have one to lose one, baby!” Jeff Templeton asked a question about lobsters that I missed but after Mark answered him MTQ and the Whisnants sang The Next Time You See Me together – then we were off to lunch!
The rest of the day was spent enjoying…well, everything! We saw many more artists sing and had fun hanging out with friends. We saw Geraldine and Ricky, The Browns, Brian Free and Assurance and Mark Bishop. It was also pretty cool that the last group of the night (that we saw!) was our hosts, The Mark Trammell Quartet, sing in the Palace. Which, if you remember my post on Monday, was the first artists we saw sing. So it was neat that the first and last concert we went to featured our host group and was in the same theater, the Palace!
The 35th Annual Singing at Sea will always be special to me…not just because it was my first cruise, but because there were so many memories that were made on that trip! It was an overall wonderful experience! I will never forget the first evening in the Palace where my first concert “at sea” took place. It could have felt like you were at any other theater, if not for the slow rocking of the ship. The very next day my feet touched the Bahamas soil in Freeport…at Half Moon Cay we walked the beach and let the turquoise waters splash against our feet as The Fascination bobbed in the distant waters. And Nassau. In Nassau we experienced the Straw Market and the magnificent structures at Atlantis. (I’m almost sad they aren’t going back to the Bahamas next year so we can explore some more!) Then there were the moments on ship, Tracy Stuffle singing I Rest My Case At the Cross in the Palace, Ray Dean singing Beautiful Home with Karen and Susan, Mark singing Man Of Sorrows from their new “Your Walk Talks” CD and then all the time we spent with friends at dinner, onshore and enjoying the deck. I could go on and on!!! After this trip I would never go on a cruise unless it was a Christian cruise like Singing at Sea.