The National Quartet Convention once again hosted their Spring Break in Louisville, Kentucky, on April 16 through 18, 2015. Hundreds of eager fans filled Highview Baptist to
hear artist favorites including Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, Jim Brady Trio, Greater Vision, Triumphant, Ivan Parker, Whisnants, Booth Brothers, Isaacs, Mark Trammell Quartet, Legacy Five, Tribute, Hoppers, and the Sneed Family.
In this photomontage, SGN Scoops photographer Craig Harris, gives us an exciting look at the concerts that made this a truly wonderful break from the cold, snowy winter experienced by so many across the country. Thanks to NQC for whetting our appetites for a summer full of musical events and the swiftly approaching National Quartet Convention 2015!
For more features, pictures and artist columns, read the latest edition of SGN Scoops here.
Follow the link for more great pictures! Read more »
Tags: booth brothers, Craig Harris, ernie haase and signature sound, Greater Vision, hoppers, Isaacs, ivan parker, Jim Brady Trio, legacy five, mark trammell quartet, nqc, sgn scoops, Sneed Family, Tribute, Triumphant, Whisnants
Posted in artists, christian entertainment, Christian interest, sgn scoops magazine | Comments Off on Through the Lens of Craig Harris: Gospel Music Greats in Pictures
By Matt Baker
It was 2006. I was scheduled to sing in a church in Clovis, New Mexico. I didn’t realize whom I was opening for until that week. The group I opened up for that night made a lasting impact on me; they became my favorite group and still are to this day. I’m talking about Greater Vision, from Morristown, TN: lead singer/emcee Gerald Wolfe, baritone Rodney Griffin, and Chris Allman singing the tenor part.
Gospel music fans from all over the world have fallen in love with the smooth harmony and the timeless lyrics heard on each project they release. What I’ve come to love is their class and consistency on and off the stage; the Greater Vision I saw in 2006 is the same Greater Vision I saw a couple weeks ago in Morganton, NC. Their love for the Lord is evident in their music, and in this conversation, we’ll see some of the heart behind this faithful journey they’ve been on for 25 years now.
Gerald Wolfe is a powerhouse in the world of Southern Gospel, and it’s hard to imagine Greater Vision, or the Southern Gospel industry itself, without his presence. However, he says, that almost happened. “During High School, my plan was to go to the Navy after graduation, using the ROTC Program to pay for my education, since I had finished my High School’s three-year ROTC program. Thankfully, God had a different plan that brought me to where I am today. If I had followed my plan, I would probably be retired from the Navy by now, and playing the piano or organ in a church in Morristown, TN., or leading congregational worship.”
Chris Allman is the most recent addition to this bunch and after a break of several years you’d think there would be changes to the focus of Greater Vision. “Well,” says Allman, “At this point I wouldn’t really be considered the newbie anymore. I’ve been back nearly five years. Believe it or not, it’s not much different. We’re just all older and more patient!”
This older group of Greater Vision still has the powerful singing and heart-gripping songs of the earlier version. It’s not often that in a group, you have at your fingertips two of Gospel Music’s most prolific songwriters. Rodney Griffin and Allman have written literally hundreds of songs in their career and they say this desire to write came out of the need to express themselves more personally in their music.
“Sitting at my desk in Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia in 1989, I wrote my first song,” says Griffin. “I found myself writing during my lunch breaks. The only problem was I didn’t have an outlet for any of my songs. I wasn’t singing with a group at the time, yet I had a desire to say something. I had written 25 to 30 songs before I had the nerve to try to pitch something to a group.”
Allman notes, “I just had a real desire to say something through music. It was as if just singing other people’s thoughts wasn’t altogether satisfying. I prayed for the gift to write and God granted it.”
Occasionally the writers will bring forward a song that just doesn’t work for the trio, and other artists then record these works. Griffin comments, “I’ve been blessed to write several songs that we haven’t recorded. One of those that touches me deeply is: “Will You Marry Me.” I believe it was recorded on Lauren Talley’s first solo project. Musically, it doesn’t fit us, but wow, when I think of the message, it is deep.”
Griffin and Allman songs have garnered awards and accolades for the group, but this doesn’t make the Greater Vision men stand-offish or place themselves apart from their audience. On any given night, a concert attendee will find any of the men, or all three of them, at the product table. Griffin comments, “It’s always a treat for me to hear how a particular song we sang encouraged someone in some particular instance. There is nothing more encouraging to a writer than to hear what God did with a song in someone’s life – especially when you are looking them in the eye!” Read more »
Tags: Cathedrals, Chris Allman, Gerald Wolfe, gospel music, Greater Vision, Hymn Sings, Matt Baker, Rodney Griffin, sgn scoops
Posted in artists, christian entertainment, Christian interest, guest, sgn scoops magazine, special feature, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Greater Vision: A Legacy of Faithfulness
By Erin Stevens
It’s one thing to impact thousands of people’s lives through the example of your ministry, songwriting, and personal life, but it is entirely another thing when you are your children’s hero. The shoulder they run to in times of defeat, the hug they crave after a long day at school, and the sounding board to all life’s ‘wonders and whys.’ That is exactly the case in the life of Rodney Griffin. Today I am delighted to introduce to you his darling daughter, the lovely Miss Reagan. Get to know this young lady, budding with talents, and a remarkable dedication to serving others. Reagan, take it away…
Erin: What was it like growing up with your dad being such a prominent figure in Gospel music?
Reagan: It was always normal for me to see him leave every weekend. That’s just who he is. Dad loves what he does and I love being his daughter. I take so much pride in his ministry.
Erin: When did you first discover your love for the piano?
Reagan: My love for playing began in church a few years ago; that was a huge push for me! I’ve recently started having fun playing the ukulele too.
Erin: It’s apparent on social media that you are becoming quite the scarf maker! How are you enjoying your latest businesswoman endeavor?
Reagan: Honestly, it’s a blast! When I have spare time, I love to just sit and crochet. It’s quite relaxing.
Erin: For those who are missing out, try to put into words the magical joy that comes from growing up with your family at ’the happiest place on earth?’
Reagan: Disney World is such an exciting place! It has always been somewhere I look forward to going back year after year! I feel like I’m a little child all over again when we walk inside.
Erin: What is your life-verse or verses? And why?
Reagan: One of my favorites is Proverbs 3:5-7: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.” It reminds me that, yes, I will fail me, but God won’t.
Erin: While being a junior in high school, what are the most effective ways you have found to be an example of Christ to those around you?
Reagan: My youth pastor has a quote he always says: “Treat everybody like somebody.” There is much truth in that statement. Everyone wants to be appreciated. I’ve discovered that when you take time and really listen and pay attention to someone, they will notice something different in you. Another way is to simply go out of your way to do extra, tiny deeds. Whether it’s picking up empty water bottles left after practice, or throwing away the gum wrappers left in the church pew; these are things that are overlooked as ‘unimportant.’ Someone has to do them. Let’s be that person.
Erin: Who would you most likely be found jamming out to on your iPod?
Reagan: I love the 1940-50s swing music: Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney, and Nat King Cole.
Erin: If there was one defining moment in life you could relive, what would that be?
Reagan: Last year, I was chosen to be the Singing News Fan Awards ‘Trophy Girl.’ I had the privilege of walking on stage and presenting the awards to those I look up to. It was an incredible experience that I’ll remember for a long time!
Erin: Being surrounded by Southern Gospel fans since you were little, what is the craziest thing a fan has said to you?
Reagan: I was standing to the side of a walkway with some friends, listening to my dad sing, when an older lady came up behind me and said, “You know I’m stalking you, right?” With a nervous giggle, I said “Uh, okay.” and moved a little closer to my friends.
Erin: Are you a songwriter like your dad?
Reagan: When I was growing up, my best friend, my sister, and I wrote several little songs with the most obnoxious tunes. “Poor Little Doughnut,” “Mr. Dan and The Hotdog Stand,” and one about cowboys. I don’t think you’ll be seeing those up on the ‘One-Hit-Wonders Chart’ anytime soon.
Erin: In closing, how would you personally encourage young ladies in their walk with the Lord as you make steps every day to become closer to Him?
Reagan: I am learning more and more all the time about how much God cares for me. As young ladies, we tend to compare ourselves to the other girls around us; therefore, finding our self worth in the wrong things. God wants to be that one person we go to when those insecure thoughts cross our mind. He wants to wrap you up in a big hug and say, “I love you. I made you just the way you are.”
We all come from different walks of life, but I am certain that Reagan’s moving words can speak to every heart. You may be 18 or 80, it doesn’t matter; insecurities plague every age group. Coming from a mind so sharp and a heart so full as Reagan’s, I pray you can see that YOU are enough. You are capable enough when you lean on Jesus as your Rock. When we are weakest, that’s when He is the strongest in our lives. Thank you, Reagan, for gracing us with your presence and allowing us to see a glimpse into your life today. May God’s hand of blessing rest upon you. Until next month, Scoops fans…
And that’s my take on it.
For current Younger Perspective features, see the latest SGN Scoops magazine here.
Tags: Erin Stevens, gospel music, Greater Vision, REagan Griffin, Rodney Griffin, sgn scoops, Younger Perspective
Posted in announcements, artists, guest, sgn scoops magazine | Comments Off on Younger Perspective: Reagan Griffin
Hendersonville, Tenn –Daywind Records artist, Greater Vision, is excited to announce the release of their newest album, entitled As We Speak. This project marks the group’s first national release in nearly two years and carries on Greater Vision’s tradition of quality Southern Gospel Music. The 2013 release of For All He’s Done saw three songs reach #1 on the Singing News Radio Chart.
As We Speak, produced by Gerald Wolfe, features several songs from the pen of Chris Allman and reigning Songwriter of the Year, Rodney Griffin. This project was also one of the last CDs to be orchestrated by the legendary Lari Goss before his recent passing. The first single, “Put Out The Fire,” was released to radio in March and supported by a well-received lyric video on social media.
“Greater Vision is the epitome of consistency and class, proving themselves to be a true staple within Southern Gospel with CD after CD full of quality music” shares Scott Godsey, VP & Director of A&R at Daywind Records. “As We Speak is no exception to this and I am anxious for fans to hear this new collection of songs skillfully delivered by this solid group. We are proud to have Greater Vision as part of the Daywind family.”
As We Speak is available at Christian retail stores across the country and digitally at iTunes and other outlets. Bulk purchasing for gift and ministry purposes is available by calling 1-800-635-9581.
Tags: Greater Vision, Southern Gospel Music, Southern Gospel News
Posted in announcements | Comments Off on Greater Vision, AS WE SPEAK, Available This Week
Happy Easter! Christ is risen…He is risen indeed! We hope that you will join us in remembering and celebrating the resurrection of Jesus this month in SGNScoops Magazine. Several of our writers delve into what this season means for us as believers. I trust that you will read about the love, grace and eternal life of our Savior on every page.
Tags: Faith, Greater Vision, SGNScoops Magazine, Southern Gospel Music, Southern Gospel News
Posted in announcements | Comments Off on April 2015 SGNScoops Magazine
Bill Bailey and Josh Franks present Jackson Sings The Gospel on July 15-18 in Jackson, TN.
Artists include: Mark Lowry, Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, The Martins, Josh and Ashley Franks, Booth Brothers, Greater Vision, Legacy Five, Jason Crabb, Triumphant Quartet, Jeff and Sheri Easter, The Perrys, The Guardians, Ivan Parker, Gold City, Brian Free and Assurance, The McKameys, Karen Peck and New River, the Bowling Family, Michael English, The Nelons.
Tickets on sales now. For information go to Bill Bailey Concerts.
Tags: Bill Bailey, booth brothers, brian free and assurance, ernie haase and signature sound, gold city, Greater Vision, ivan parker, JACKSON SINGS THE GOSPEL, Jackson TN, Jason Crabb, jeff and sheri easter, Josh and Ashley Franks, karen peck and new river, legacy five, Mark Lowry, Michael English, The Bowling Family, The Guardians, The Martins, The Mckameys, the nelons, the perrys, triumphant quartet
Posted in announcements, artists | Comments Off on Jason Crabb to appear at JACKSON SINGS THE GOSPEL
Tags: daystar, Gerald Wolfe, Greater Vision, Jim & Melissa Brady, Jim Brady, Lari Goss, legacy five, Taranda Greene, the booth brothers, The Hoppers, The Mark Trammell Quartet, the nelons
Posted in announcements, artists, christian entertainment, Christian interest | Comments Off on Tune In Alert: Lari Goss – The Man Behind The Music
[Editor’s note: See below for link to the Jubilee Christmas concert review.]
IMC Concerts and Greater Vision, Booth Brothers and Legacy Five bring the Jubilee series to many States throughout the year, as well as performing a special Christmas series in December. Gerald Wolfe who does most of the emcee work for the Jubilee presentation, is looking forward to having some time off from the stage work. “By the time I get home, our house will be in full Christmas mode, probably have a half-dozen trees up. We go out and run around, look at lights, go to the mall, eat, do what everybody else does. Then right after Christmas week, we get right back on the road. I’m looking forward to it though, I’m looking forward to putting my feet up!”
Wolfe is not the only one looking for a bit of rest. Fellow Greater Vision singer, Chris Allman says, “I look forward to relaxing, but that usually doesn’t happen. Because we are out here so much, when I get home there is a lot that my wife wants me to do. Then I will be just hanging out with the family. I always take my wife and my two daughters who still live at home (my two sons are married), to a city like Atlanta or Cincinnati and we shop for a couple of days. We like to go to big cities to get away. So when I’m away, I’m on the road, and when I get back home, I’m on the road! But it’s just different when you are with your family.” Allman adds, “And this year of course my grandkids are going to be with us. My two grandbabies are going to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with us. So Santa is going to come to see them at our house, so that’s going to be fun.”
Rodney Griffin is looking for to a couple of celebrations once he gets off the Greater Vision bus. “I’m looking forward to seeing my wife and two daughters. The day after we get home is my wife’s and my 20th anniversary. So that will be a fun day. I’ve got her a gift kind of hidden away. I hope she doesn’t find it!” (Note: Rodney told us where but we aren’t saying!) Griffin continues, “A couple of years ago we moved back to Kentucky where we are from. My mom and dad are there as well as my wife’s mom. I look forward to home cooking from my mom. She cooks as often as we will come over! We love that.”
Legacy Five’s Matt Fouch comments, “This Jubilee stretch is 12 days and last year was 17 days. So we got five days less this year, so that’s good. I look forward to doing what everyone else does at Christmas: spending time with the family, especially after having been gone for 12 days. I get to see my little boy and my wife. I look forward to just relaxing and getting to go see our extended family.” The other Legacy Five members may need some rest, but Scott Howard isn’t planning on going home to put his feet up; at least, not for his entire vacation. “We finish on the 15th in Chattanooga and I will get home the morning of the 16th. My family will already be out of town for our little Christmas get-together. My son and I will catch up with them in Texas. We are doing a big deer-hunt down in south Texas. We’ll get back home around Christmas Eve and spend a few days there and then start in on the New Year’s sing. It’s right around the corner…it’s amazing how quickly it’s gotten here.”
With the New Year swiftly approaching, we asked the guys about their New Year’s Resolutions. Trey Ivey intends to keep abstaining from soda pop, and Scott Fowler intends to stop making New Year’s Resolutions! Scott Howard says, “I’m not a good resolution maker because I’m not a good resolution keeper. I think my resolution will be to try to be healthier in 2015. I have discovered that the older I get, the faster my health deteriorates.” He laughs and continues, “So I think that is going to be a resolution of mine; to eat a little bit healthier, live a healthier lifestyle, work out a little bit more, try to be not quite so fat and happy as in 2014.” Howard smiles and says, “Well, I still want to be happy, just less of the fat and more of the happy!”
IMC’s Landon Beene comments, “I say ‘lose weight’ every year, but this year it needs to be a reality. And to find a nice balance of being at home and spending time with my babies, and doing more of what I love and less of what I don’t.” Matt Fouch remarks, “It’s too early! I still have a month or so before I have to decide that. We do a New Year’s Eve thing at the Opryland Hotel so I try to hold all of my resolutions off until after that because the food they have in the green room is awesome. So any type of diet or food resolutions, I try to hold off on until after that event.”
Gerald Wolfe is not a Resolution maker. “I don’t make them because I’m no good at keeping them. My New Year’s Resolution, this coming year, is to eat. That’s the only one I can keep!” Chris Allman says he wants to keep his weight off. Rodney Griffin comments, “I want to draw closer to the Lord. I want to read my Bible more intently. I try to read it through every year but I don’t want it to become mechanical. I want the Lord to speak to me next year, give me songs He wants me to write, to live for Him and be a blessing to someone.”
It seems that Michael Booth is also on a health-kick for his New Year’s Resolution. “It’s pretty much just my health, to exercise and have a little better diet. I’m 43 now and that is still young, but I’m feeling the miles more than I used to. And I can feel it in my voice too. If you want to sing well into your sixties, you need to be really careful and eat right. And you know, God says it’s a temple. I’ve ignored that because it’s hard to do on the road. This is the hardest part of the day [following the evening concert] because I’m starving, and we will soon be going to bed. If you eat wrong then you get acid reflux and all that stuff. It’s really challenging.”
Ronnie Booth is working on his spiritual health for the New Year. “Keep walking closer, staying more in the Word and being more obedient. True success in life is doing the will of God.”
We also asked some of the men what they foresee for the coming year and whether there were any changes ahead. Scott Fowler comments, “The older I get, the more I don’t like change. I hope there are no changes on the horizon. When things are going well, I like for them just to stay put. I’m hoping things will just stay as they are and life is good.” He says there won’t be a new Legacy Five release for a little while. “We are still kind of enjoying our latest recording which is Great Day, and we’ve had two radio singles off of that so far. We will start recording again in 2015, but nothing in the next couple of months.” Scott Howard echoes Fowler’s remarks when he says, “I don’t know of anything I would predict. There’s always change and the older I get, the less I like it. I don’t really plan for change but I’ve grown to kind of accept it. I don’t foresee anything changing. Our group will still be out doing our thing, unless the Lord tells us something different. I feel like we are doing what we are supposed to be doing now. I tell people all the time that it is subject to change. Sometimes God will steer you in a different direction, for whatever reason. I don’t foresee that, but I never know. So I just wait and see what happens.”
The Legacy Five men are looking forward to their New Year’s Concert and Fowler is also looking forward to his family’s New Year’s celebrations. “We usually spend New Years Eve at our event in Nashville, Tennessee. We have a three-day event at the Opryland Hotel. 12-million Christmas lights are up, 12 life-sized nativity scenes, and it’s just a lot of fun. When the hustle and bustle of that is over, we’ll have a delayed New Year’s party and celebration dinner at my in-laws. They are of Norwegian descent, so they have some Norwegian dishes they prepare for us, so it’s a lot of fun to taste that culture.”
Gerald Wolfe is looking forward to the New Year, though maybe not so much any of the inevitable alterations that life brings. “There’s always change. That’s the only certainty in life. We are releasing a new album in March, the first major one we’ve released in two years. Also, we are now getting into our 25th year, so all of 2015 will be leading up to our 25th anniversary. So we will do some special events along the way, we are giving away a cruise to the Caribbean, all kinds of special stuff like that!”
In 2015, Chris Allman is looking forward working on his personal projects and with Greater Vision. “There are different goals that I have. I enjoy producing. I’m producing a group right now called The Wrights from Kansas; we just did tracks with them. I’m very excited about what is happening there. They have a great CD that is going to be released next year. I’d like to produce some more groups and do several more of those during the year. So we’ll try to get that underway.” He continues, “We have a new project coming out in 2015; it’s already in the can as they would say. It’s already mixed and ready for release. It has some new songs I’ve written and some new ones that Rodney’s written.” Allman notes, “This past year was the busiest we have ever been. Ever, ever, ever. It’s good and bad. It’s good because there is a demand, and bad because it wears you out. You have to have a balance and this year we got close to crossing that balance. So we are getting pretty tired here at the end of the year. We are still enjoying it though.”
Rodney Griffin is looking a little closer to home for changes in the New Year. “The biggest news in the Griffin household for 2015 will be if we get a dog. We had two family dogs and both of them lived about 19 years, and we lost both of them this year. It was a tough ‘dog year’ at our house as both of them had lived the extent of their lives.”
Legacy Five’s Matt Fouch is excited about an unusual trip that they will be making in the fall. “In 2015, Legacy Five is going to Israel! We are doing a Holy Land trip and that is exciting and something new for me; I have not done that before. As you hear from other people who have gone there before, it’s one of those things that is an experience of a lifetime especially for Christians, because you get to see with your eyes and walk the places, physically, that you read about in the Bible. I am looking forward to that and I know most of the guys in the group are looking forward to it as well. We are going in October 2015, so I have a little time to wait, but that is one of the things I am most excited about in the New Year.”
Fouch says the unrest in the Middle East doesn’t worry him, when it comes to the Israel trip and personal safety. “Scott went there with Dr. Charles Stanley and In Touch, as well as Greater Vision. Scott wanted to check it out and he was there when the fighting was at its peak. He said that he never heard anything, or saw anything, because it was taking place in a different part of the country. He said that with all the different religions of the people that lived in that area, everyone was peaceful. I think it’s a thing where everyone understands that this is a tourist area, so they stay away from it. Scott said there were no problems, no issues with security, so we are not really concerned about that at all.”
A Social Media interview guru; Matt plans to continue his On The Couch With Fouch in 2015. “I love doing it. For those who are reading, one of the really unique things about the interview series is that the audience gets to ask the questions! It’s Social Media driven. So if you are reading this, you are probably on the Internet, or on Facebook. I read a statistic that about 70 or 80% of Americans have a Facebook account. So I put out there whom I am interviewing and you guys get to tell me the questions. I ask the questions you guys want me to ask. That’s what makes it so unique. So if you want to follow me on Facebook, you can go to Matthew Fouch – Bass Singer, or if you are on Twitter you can follow me @L5bass. When I do have upcoming interviews you guys can let me know what you want to know!”
With a big smile, Fouch adds: “I love Legacy Five, I love being here, and everything is going wonderfully. I’ve been here for over two years now. September 2012 was my first date with the group. It fit like a glove from the beginning. They made me feel very comfortable. I guess they don’t have a problem with me because they haven’t run me off yet!”
We hope you have enjoyed these insights into the lives and hearts of the men from the Jubilee series and Jubilee Christmas. To read the concert review on Jubilee Christmas, visit http://www.sgnscoops.com/2014/12/11/jubilee-christmas/
For more information on the following groups, visit their websites:
IMC Concerts http://www.imcconcerts.com/
Greater Vision http://www.greatervisionmusic.com/
Booth Brothers http://boothbrothers.com/
Legacy Five http://www.legacyfive.com/
Find them on Facebook and Twitter too
First published on SGM Radio website in December 2014
For more artist features, visit SGM Radio today! Click on the button to listen to Gospel music 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Tags: booth brothers, Chris Allman, Gerald Wolfe, Greater Vision, Gus Gaches, imc concerts, Jim Brady, Jubilee Christmas, Landon Beene, legacy five, Matt Fouch, Michael booth, Rodney Griffin, Ronnie Booth, Scott Fowler, Scott Howard, Trey Ivey
Posted in artists, SGM Radio | Comments Off on Jubilee Artists Look Forward To Christmas and 2015
By Lorraine Walker
Jubilee means ‘celebration’ and that’s exactly what we had when the Jubilee singers came to Hamilton, Ontario on December 5, 2014. IMC brought the Jubilee Christmas with Greater Vision, Legacy Five and the Booth Brothers all the way to Canada and the audience couldn’t have been any more grateful. Over a thousand people filled Bethel Gospel Tabernacle, where they were delighted to see a platform full of lit Christmas trees, ready to host this special musical celebration.
Having traveled many hours through the night to reach their destination, Landon Beene of IMC said, “It’s been a wonderful trip. We’ve had great weather and great ticket sales. A lot of people are excited about this tour. It was a breeze through the border last night, so as the Road Manager, that makes me really happy! We’ll see how it goes tonight on our way back through.” He added, “This is the first time that we’ve ever presented one of the Christmas Jubilee programs in Canada. We are sold out tonight, so I think the people are excited about the guys being here.”
The crowd certainly was eager as the ticket holders burst through the doors to find their seats. The decorated foyer was filled with the colors of the season and the merchandise of the artists. Preparing for the evening, Scott Fowler of Legacy Five remarked: “It’s good to be back in Canada. We always look forward to coming here and the Canadian folks are fun to sing to, so we are glad to be back. This is our last tour of the year and we are doing 12 Christmas shows in 12 days, so we call it the 12 days of Christmas. The Christmas Tour is the highlight of our year.”
The artists were as energized as the audience as they filed on stage for the opening number. What a delight to hear 10 voices in four-part harmony fill the sanctuary with the opening notes of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” along with a huge quartet-ending. Following this, Chris Allman of Greater Vision entertained the crowd with “The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.” Allman later remarked, “My favorite thing about the Jubilee is hanging out with the guys, of course. We love the shows and we love to see the people enjoy themselves. Tonight was a great crowd. If we can see them having fun, it’s a lot of fun for us. We have fun on the stage, just hanging out with the guys. It’s a really special experience.”
Everyone certainly did have fun during the course of the evening, with emcee Gerald Wolfe of Greater Vision often playing the straight man to jokesters Scott Howard, Michael Booth and Rodney Griffin. One example was the “Twelve Days of A Gospel Singers’ Christmas,” where even Trey Ivey joined in the hijinks. Howard remarked, “It’s always fun when we get together with all our buddies from Greater Vision and Booth Brothers, our best friends out on the road. We always have a good time. I tell people that we are going to have fun and we just hope you do too! The Christmas stuff is fun to do and I think everyone enjoys Christmas music. We only do it one month a year but I think people would like it year-round. So we may extend this tour next year.” There were several hints of a tour extension and a return to Canada during the evening, but as we know, a lot can change in a year!
One group who is dealing with change is the Booth Brothers, who sang the Evie Karrlson classic, “Come On, Ring Those Bells!” Jim Brady, who is leaving the Brothers to form his own group, the Jim Brady Trio, in the New Year, blessed the crowd with leading the Booths in “It Came To Pass,” written by Gerald Wolfe. Ronnie Booth showed his ‘crooner’ side by smoothly singing about “Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire.” The addition of Rodney on saxophone was a surprise to the crowd and one of the many laugh-out-loud moments of the evening.
Legacy Five sang such Christmas favorites as, “I’d Sure Like To Go To Grandma’s House For Christmas,” and “Christmas With A Capital C.” Their pianist, Trey Ivey showed his prowess on “Here Comes Santa Clause,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and this writer’s personal favorite, “O Holy Night,” on which Legacy Five lent their vocals to bring the carol to a powerful, worshipful end. Bass singer Matt Fouch had his work cut out, as he was the only bass on the platform. His rendition of “I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas” turned dreams into reality with more comedy from his fellow singers.
Several times during the evening, different members of the groups would join together to bring different songs, carols and comedy. Rodney Griffin stated later, “My favorite part is how the three groups kind of forget their identities as individual groups. As Ronnie Booth explains it, when we get on this tour, the three groups become one. So there is no Greater Vision, Legacy Five and Booth Brothers. It’s just a team of 11 of us working toward the same goal. Right now we are hauling everything out together. A few moments ago we were greeting the people together and now we are hauling out Christmas trees together. We do as much as we can to make it a success together.”
From the big ballads to the acapella numbers to newer songs like, “It Will Always Be Christmas To Me,” as well as fun songs like “Hunting For Christmas,” the men kept the audience on the edge of their seats. Wolfe led the crowd in the favorite carol, “Silent Night.” Later in the evening, Wolfe commented, “The best thing about the Jubilee is hearing the audience sing. They are better than we are! You heard it tonight: “Silent Night”…that’s my favorite part of the whole evening.” He added, “I would do it all year. I just love this kind of music, I love the guys and it’s a lot of fun. It’s different every night because our memories [of how it was done the night before] aren’t that good!”
At the end of the second half, Ronnie Booth opened up the Bible to Luke 2 and reverently began the Christmas story. Scott Fowler followed this with “Welcome To Our World,” beautifully sung as only he can do. The men then sang the energizing, “Go Tell It On the Mountain,” and the lovely, “Christmas Benediction.” Ronnie said later, “My favorite part is the Benediction and the arrangement of that particular one by Larry Goss. That is my favorite of all the songs we do. The other one is the one we sing called, “The Right Time,” written by Mosie Lister. It says so much in such a little space. Obviously there is a lot of fun and people need that, but we are not here just to have fun, we also get very serious at the end, presenting Christ and the Gospel.”
Matt Fouch agreed with Ronnie. “I enjoy the laughter, the fun stuff; but one of my favorite spots is coming to the very end when Gerald brings it all together and shares with everyone, ‘You know, we’ve talked about how the story began with Jesus, and that’s the season that we celebrate. But let me tell you the rest of the story…’ That’s the part I look forward to every night, because that is where we see the hope with His resurrection.”
Michael Booth, one of those who certainly kept up his part in the comedy routines said, “Selfishly, my favorite part is that it is an easy night for me because in our programs I do all the emceeing, for the most part and I’m singing on every song. So it is a very easy program for all of us because we share the load. I also just like being with the guys. We are all pretty good friends. People ask us if we are having as much fun or getting along as well as it looks we are, and we do. We will get up on each other’s buses tonight and ride across the border, then when it gets around 2:00 or 3:00am we will get in our own buses to sleep.”
Many thanks to IMC and Greater Vision, Legacy Five and The Booth Brothers for presenting a beautiful, professional program, suitable for all those who enjoy Christmas music. If they come near your area, be sure you attend and bring an unsaved friend. The music will thrill them, the comedy engage them, and the presentation of the Gospel will bring them closer to the Christ of Christmas. Special thanks as well to Landon Beene, Brian Hutson, the Jubilee crew and the staff and ushers of Bethel Gospel Tabernacle, Hamilton, Ontario. We certainly had a Celebration of Christmas!
For more information, visit http://www.imcconcerts.com/tour
Tags: booth brothers, Chris Allman, Gerald Wolfe, Greater Vision, Gus Gaches, Jim Brady, Jubilee Christmas, legacy five, Matt Fouch, Michael booth, Rodney Griffin, Ronnie Booth, Scott Fowler, Scott Howard, Trey Ivey
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“Bill Bailey’s 2015 Winter Gospel Music Convention” will be held Monday–Saturday, February 2-7, 2015 in Palmetto, Florida at the Bradenton Area Convention Center. Over 40 of gospel music’s top artists will be appearing throughout the week – including award-winning artists, MARK LOWRY, ERNIE HAAASE & SIGNATURE SOUND, BOOTH BROTHERS, GREATER VISION, TRIUMPHANT QUARTET, COLLINGSWORTH FAMILY, ISAACS, plus a special GOLD CITY “Reunion”. This event is recognized as the largest southern gospel concert event in the nation during the winter. This year’s event also marks Bill Bailey’s 29th anniversary promoting southern gospel concerts throughout the southeast.
Monday, February 2nd 7pm
Mark Lowry, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, Martins, Browns
Tuesday, February 3rd 1:30pm
Nelons, Wilburn & Wilburn, Jay Parrack
Tuesday, February 3rd 7pm
Gold City, Kingsmen, Brian Free & Assurance, Mark Trammell Quartet,
plus a Gold City “Classic Reunion”
(featuring Tim Riley, Jonathan Wilburn, Mark Trammell, and Jay Parrack)
Wednesday, February 4th 1:30pm
Tony Gore, Hoskins Family, Southern Raised
Wednesday, February 4th 7pm
Collingsworth Family, Triumphant Quartet, Taranda Greene, Freemans
Thursday, February 5th 1:30pm
Gerald Wolfe’s Gospel Music Hymn Sing!
Thursday, February 5th 7pm
“Jubilee Night!” with the Booth Brothers, Legacy Five, and Greater Vision
Friday, February 6th 1:30pm
Exclusively….the Booth Brothers
Friday, February 6th 7pm
Booth Brothers, Hoppers, Ivan Parker, Primitive Quartet, Guardians
Saturday, February 7th 1:30pm
Harvesters Quartet, Songfellows Quartet
Saturday, February 7th 7pm
Isaacs, McKameys, Perrys, Tribute Quartet, Soul’d Out Quartet
VIP Reserved tickets are $135, and include a reserved seat for all six nightly concerts and all five matinee concerts. General admission tickets are $18 per night or $95 for a six-night pass. Children ages 3-11 are $5 per night at the door only. Advance tickets go on sale after January 2nd at Family Christian Store and the Happy Gospel Church office – BRADENTON; and Yoder’s Restaurant & Gift Shop – SARASOTA. Tickets are not required for the 1:30pm matinee concerts – love offerings received. Doors open at 12:30pm for the matinees, and at 5:30pm for the evening concerts.
The Bradenton Area Convention Center is located at One Haben Blvd in Palmetto, just off US Hwy 301/41. For more information, call (941) 756-6942.
Tags: Bill Bailey’s 2015 Winter Gospel Music Convention, booth brothers, collingsworth family, ERNIE HAAASE & SIGNATURE SOUND, Greater Vision, Isaacs, Mark Lowry, Southern Gospel Concert, Southern Gospel News, triumphant quartet
Posted in announcements | Comments Off on Bill Bailey’s 2015 Winter Gospel Music Convention returns to Palmetto, FL!