The March Facebook convention of the WE OUR LOVE SOUTHERN GOSPEL MUSIC HISTORY (WLOSGHM) truly went down with lots of music, memories, stories and excitement.
The Holiday Inn Airport Opryland hosted the event once again with full service in the quaint ballroom. Staging the intimate concerts and activities for the two day event was coordinated by WLOSGMH Admins (Harold Timmons, Ann Downing, John Crenshaw and Hannah Kennedy). Attendees enjoyed days filled with video clips, music performances, browsing/ shopping for that one of a kind collectible with fellowship and stories filled with lots of laughter.
Gospel music fans from across the USA attended the convention. By car, bus and plane fans arrived to find vendors with music and collectibles, fans clustered around renewing friendships while sipping coffee, flipping through records and photos and those conversations of what was.
The handing down of our history has been part of humanity since the beginning of time. Only in recent years has the fervor impacted gospel music. As the mantles of gospel music are being passed onto a newer generation, there are those who want the rich music history to impact the newbies. The WLOSGMH Convention does that and more.
Sharing how the NQC got started, what it was like to sing on stage with Hovie or to remember the iconic voice of Reverend J Bazzell Mull and the Mull Singing Convention on radio or TV gives pause to reflect and thanks for those who paved the way. The respect given to WB Nowlin, JG Whitfield, The Chuck Wagon Gang, Jimmie Davis, the Inspirationals, Weatherfords, Blue Ridge Quartet, Oak Ridge and Speers plus other is inspiring to hear with the tones of admiration and friendship. Added in the convention mix the concerts by legacy groups as the Blackwood Brothers Pine Ridge Boys and Sheltons just shows the impact and richness of southern gospel music.
The Dove Brothers whose rise to fame centered on “classic” quartet music shows how people are demanding to remember and know the music. McCray Dove states, “I had a great time. Seen some friends I haven’t seen in years. Enjoyed the singing and seeing and hearing the History of this great music we all love.”
Among the talents who highlighted the WLOSGMH stage this convention are artists Jordans Bridge, Ellen Marsh, Gary Timbs, Jeff Stice, Buddy Burton, Charlie Griffin, Rita Spillers, Charles Yates, Harold Timmons and others. The reunion of the Downings proved to be another convention memory for countless fans.
Humor has always been a part of gospel music programs. From the history annals JD Sumner’s classic record pitch to the amazing staging of “Go out to the Program,” these performances brought countless ovations. Yet this year the
WLOSGMH Convention hosted tremendous unforgettable concert stands by the “Not So World Famous” Collectors Quartet and the skillful renditions of the Administrators Quartet. The clip board antics to those Timmons “I’m Gonna Sing” moments gave concert goers the perfect belly laugh multiple times over during the concerts or at the vendor tables.
Administrator Harold Timmons said, “I think a great time was had by all. I have not heard anything negative. There was a lot of fellowship between the collector tables.”
Gospel music fan, historian and collector Dean Adkins from WV shares, “I loved the convention and camaraderie among the fans, vendors and artists. It was much like an extended family reunion. One of the highlights for me was being able to sing with my buddies in the Collectors Quartet.”
From early morning coffee and donuts, mid-day quartet rehearsals, to late nights at the Waffle House, the convention is all about special friendships. It’s laughing at the awkward moments, sharing the funny stories, and hugging the necks of old and new friends that
make this convention special.” states John Crenshaw.
“This convention was a reunion for me. These people have become my family. It’s hard to cram so many memories into just two days but somehow we did it. Most of my favorite moments were behind the scenes but a few of my favorite things were sharing ‘The List’ and singing on stage with the other administrators,” states youngest page administrator Hannah Kennedy.
Gospel music fan Nancy Carollo says, “This convention has quickly become one of the highlight of the year for me. Visiting with old and new friends that I only see at these special events. Hearing the best music in the universe, and witnessing such a wonderful testimony, as Michael Helwig showed in concert!”
Collector Brent Joiner says, “The WLOSGMH Convention is the highlight of the year for Christina (Joiner’s wife) and myself. Being able to sing with the greatest friends in the world in the Collectors Quartet, discussing SGM History, picking up the latest items for the music collection, seeing and visiting with amazing people, hearing great singing from artists like the Blackwood Brothers, Pine Ridge Boys, and others makes this event one of the greatest in Southern Gospel Music.”
Artist and administrator Ann Downing states, “This is an important weekend for me. I haven’t been in the mainstream of gospel music as far as a performer in a very long time, but I do have a history…and that history includes memories from early childhood ’til now. Gospel music has been very
good to me. I’m thankful! This convention offers me an opportunity to give back, in a way. I’m perhaps being selfish in saying the moments spent with Joy and Dony this year on the stage reliving those Downings’ songs and memories have once again reminded me I’ve been blessed.”
As the concert season rolls into high gear for 2016, people are asking when and where for the 2017 convention. Time will tell as more history is written what will happen at the next convention. Southern Gospel music history is the topic. The talent is the joy while the love of the music is the feature. We Love Our Southern Gospel Music History!
Find the Facebook page of We Love Our Southern Gospel Music History here.