Yesterday afternoon, I stood on my front porch and watched three baby raccoons cackle as they made their way across my yard. Mentally, I was trying to keep track of what needed done before I left to drive to a concert, but with three adorable masked fur balls in my yard I was a bit distracted…where was their mama? And what were they doing at my house?
Hours later, I sat in the third row of the Cowan Civic Center’s theater in Lebanon, Missouri. The Truelove Quartet, a local group that pulls in a variety of talent throughout the year, was hosting a concert with The Whisnants. Truelove’s lead singer, Darrell, had just came out on stage to welcome everyone to the concert. A child screamed at the top of its lungs as he asked the audience how they heard about the concert. In the newspaper? On the radio? Posters? Hands went up and down as the various questions were posed. Curiosity got the better of me and I had to do it…slightly turning my head I scanned the audience for the miss-behaving child. There. A flash of white running across the aisle about mid-way up the rows of chairs wasn’t too hard to find. However, the child’s destination held no particular end and from the disinterested attitude from the folks in that section, the parents obviously weren’t in the building or didn’t care. I kind of felt sorry for Darrell as he prayed sincerely while that child filled the concert hall with high pitched squeals. It was going to be an interesting concert.
The Truelove Quartet opened for the Whisnants with I’ve Come To Bless Your Holy Name Again, Meet Me Over on the Other Side, Saved by Grace, and Tis So Sweet. “If you let it, the world will tie you up in a knot,” Darrell said after singing Tis So Sweet, “Oh for grace to know Him more.” Group introductions were next; Chris, Paul, Jeff and Darrell all stepped up and took a bow. This was my first time to see the quartet since Wayne Truelove’s passing earlier this year. Darrell then pointed out Wayne’s wife in the audience and said, “We love you Miss Betty.” The Browns song, What a Beautiful Day followed with I Believe There’s a Place Called Heaven, then the last song Wayne Truelove wrote “Get Up” and How Great It Is. Paul stepped forward, told everyone that he was going to be serious for a moment and explained why the next ballad would be the most powerful song they would do that night. It was called Beauty of the Blood and featured Darrell and Chris. Battle Stand and Midnight Cry closed out their half of the program.
Chris took up his mic to introduce the main group and said, “I listen to them every time I’m in my car, and my girlfriend can vouch for that, would you welcome from Morganton, North Carolina, The Whisnants!” Jeff, Susan and Aaron stepped on stage and began their set with I Call Him Lord. “Alright folks, one of these days the trumpet’s going to sound and we’ll be glorybound.” Jeff exclaimed. As they went into their up-beat song, Glorybound, a sharp squeal of interference came through the speakers. The Truelove’s sound man ran up to the stage and quickly fixed the problem. If only it were that easy to “fix” the screaming child that’s off stage, I thought. It would be a good half way through the Whisnants set before that toddler would finally stop excising the abilities to hit high C’s one right after another! LOL! “Praise the Lord, it’s good to be here tonight,” Jeff greeted, “Here’s a song that says if we don’t meet again down here its okay, because we will meet again.” The song by that same title was next, We’ll Meet Again and afterward Jeff shouted, “I like that!” He took a moment to introduce the trio. With a grin, Jeff announced, “Last week we celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary.” I’ll Pray For You, Be Not Afraid and King Jesus followed. Susan explained that normally, at this time in the program they would feature both of their sons on a song, but Austin wasn’t with them that weekend because he was at the rehearsal dinner of Trey Ivey’s wedding that night! Instead of their regular routine, Ethan sang a solo 1+2+3, with Jeff and Susan. When they went on to the next tune, On the Road to Emmaus, Aaron took Austin’s part with Ethan and Jeff. “Aaron had never sung that before,” Susan mentioned when they finished. “That was Austin’s part and they have never done it before with Aaron.” Before Ethan resumed his place running sound, Susan introduced a song that she wanted him to sing, called Live for You Today. Ethan sang the stirring ballad with sincerity; I couldn’t help but contemplate the lyrics and the message they gave.
Susan began a chorus of God is So Good and asked the audience to sing along. They went into a quick chorus of Even In the Valley God is good before the next song, I’ll Trust the Potters Hand. He’s Living Today, which featured Jeff, followed. “That’s our hope friends,” Jeff explained afterwards, “He’s alive today. Aaron, I want you to do a song…it has a simple little message that talks about the blood of Christ.” That song was I’m Trusting the Blood, which Jeff introduced by talking about the politically correct movement and how it has targeted Christians. He said, “It’s ‘open season’ on Christians nowadays. The same people who persecute preachers because they are ‘narrow minded’ can do anything they want to Christians on the media.” “But,” Jeff stated, “popular opinion will never change the truth, it never has and it never will.” When they finished Trusting the Blood they went right into the popular New Day Dawning. It didn’t take long for folks to stand. After two encores Susan exclaimed, “They’re not sitting so do it again!” So they did another chorus. Susan told the story of how the doctors thought her mom had cancer a while back and the stretch it put on her faith. She talked about the day she drove her mom to Charlotte, North Carolina to receive the final results; she asked her mom, “Mom, what are we gonna do if they say you have cancer?” Continuing, Susan told us, “With all the peace in the world she looked at me and said, ‘Sue, all is well’…”
After singing their powerful ballad “All Is Well” Susan led the audience in another familiar chorus. A sweet spirit had filled the room and Jeff went into a time of invitation. A short time of prayer followed and then we were dismissed for the evening.
Conclusion: I will probably never know what happened to the three babies. When I left the house to go to the Whisnant’s concert they were nowhere to be seen and when I came home, they were gone. As for the screaming child, I really wish parents would “be parents” or have the courtesy to take their little one out in the hallway where they could be as loud as they want without disturbing the whole audience. On the other hand, the Whisnants were wonderful! I always love seeing them in concert and finding them so close to home was a real blessing.