Last night at New Hope Church in Portland Oregon, the atmosphere was filled with anticipation. This was the first appearance for Ian Owens with Ernie Haase and Signature Sound since Tim Duncan left the group last week. I had gone to the church earlier to turn in the money for the tickets I sold for the concert on our website
SouthernGospelPDX.com. The boys were running through the songs for the night and doing a sound check. I was able to get my first look at Ian and already my mind was set at ease. I had enjoyed Tim Duncan as EHSS bass and as always change brings anxiety. I found Brian Hutson and turned in my money and headed to Macaroni Grill to meet some friends for dinner, with my wife Kathie. It was still early for the concert and we had some good food and conversation and then headed over to New Hope to anxiously await the great gospel singing we had come to expect from EHSS.
The doors opened at 6pm and the crowd rushed in to find a good seat. We were on the third row and the seats gradually filled up around us to almost capacity. It is a large church that seats around 3000. From the first note on the piano and the drums and electric guitars the place was electrified. No one can compare to the performance that EHSS puts on right now in Southern Gospel. Right away we were assured by Ernie that we would come to appreciate his new addition and he had Ian featured on a song early in the night, a song familiar to all, “I Believe”. The crowd was overwhelmed and there were claps of appreciation all through the song and a standing ovation at the end. I think Ian knew right then that he was in the right place. I talked with him a little before the show and he displayed a unique sense of humor when I told him of our ticket sales. Without a beat he says, “Oh did you sell all those tickets because they knew I would be here?”. My kind of guy. At intermission I patted him on the back and said “the reviews are in and they are all good!” He seemed to appreciate my words of encouragement. His only comment was “ I am going to have to work out more to keep up with those steps!”. I am sure he will do fine.
The whole night was a Blessing to all who attended. “The Cathedrals Influenced Tour” on the West Coast has begun and I believe it will be one that will go down in Southern Gospel history.