Elaina Smith Music

Creekside Gospel Music Convention

IMC CONCERTS ANNOUNCES POSTPONEMENT OF SOUTHWEST GOSPEL MUSIC FESTIVAL

Written by Staff on August 4, 2020 – 11:05 am -

NEWS RELEASE: IMC CONCERTS ANNOUNCES POSTPONEMENT OF SWGMFJohnson City, TN – In compliance with local and state mandates and recommendations limiting public gatherings due to COVID-19, IMC Concerts has announced plans to postpone the 2021 Southwest Gospel Music Festival, originally scheduled for January 11-13 in Phoenix, AZ.
“We are deeply saddened by having to postpone the SWGMF until 2022,” IMC President, Landon Beene states. “It was a very difficult decision, but our team has been closely following updates by the CDC, as well as the local officials in the greater Phoenix area, and we felt this was the best decision to make at this time.”
HoppersAccording to Beene, the postponement was made in the best interest of the event attendees, as well as the artists featured at the event.
“The health and well-being of our patrons is of the utmost importance. At this time, unfortunately, we are not able to provide a definite date as to when to expect things to be back to normal, which puts us in a challenging position.”
Legacy Five with Scott Fowler at the helm

Legacy Five

Although a definite date is not being announced at this time, the new date is tentatively set for January 13-15, 2022.

“This is the date we are hoping to be able to make happen,” Beene continues, “and we plan to offer the same wonderful line-up of artists that we had scheduled for the 2021 event.”
Beene also states that all ticket holders from the 2020 event will be contacted directly by IMC representatives and will have the first option to renew their same seats once the event goes on sale in the summer of 2021.
“Unfortunately, the capacity restrictions in place make it impossible for us to plan, promote and host our event in January, 2021. With that said, we WILL RETURN, and we are already looking forward to this event in 2022. Our prayers are with the artists and the great fans of Gospel Music during these difficult and unprecedented times.”
Complete information regarding the Southwest Gospel Music Festival, as well as other events presented by IMC Concerts is available at www.SouthwestGospelMusicFestival.com
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UPDATED!! NQC Spring Break To Be Held April 23 & 24, 2020

Written by Staff on March 25, 2020 – 7:48 am -

NQC Spring Break To Be Held April 24 & 25, 2020

NQC – The National Quartet Convention

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (March 24, 2020) – NQC (the National Quartet Convention) has announced that NQC’s Spring Break festival will now be held on April 23 & 24, 2020. The fourth annual event will once again be held at First Baptist Church in Sevierville, TN. Produced by NQC – Gospel Music’s Largest annual event drawing nearly 40,000 from 40 states and half dozen foreign countries to its annual fall festival at the end of September – NQC Spring Break is designed to give gospel music fans a taste of the big fall convention and give gospel music fans an opportunity to enjoy the Smoky Mountains in the Spring as well as the fall.
Featured on the event this year will be last year’s biggest winners at the annual Singing New Fan Awards, the Triumphant Quartet as well as Dollywood’s host group, the Kingdom Heirs, both of whom reside in Sevier County. Also featured will be many artists often featured on the popular Gaither Homecoming series such as the Hoppers, Greater Vision, Mark Trammell Quartet, Jim & Melissa Brady along with the very popular Primitive Quartet and Singing News Fan Awards two-time Soloist of the Year, Joseph Habedank.
In addition to these popular Gospel Music artists, the event will also feature an appearance by the East Tennessee Mass Choir featuring the choir members of First Baptist Sevierville, and several other area choirs. Being lead by First Baptist Sevierville Worship Pastor, Scott Andrews, the choirs will be performing a special to open the second half as well as singing with several of the featured artists.

A packed house at 2019’s NQC Spring Break in Sevierville, TN. Photo by Chip Woods
NQC organizers are set to make an exciting announcement about the future of the Spring event during both the Thursday night and Friday night performances.
The event takes place April 23 & 24, 2020 at First Baptist Sevierville.  Door open at 4:00 and the concerts start at 6:00 p.m. each night.  Additional information can be found at www.nqconline.com
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Bill Bailey’s 2020 Winter Gospel Music Convention

Written by Staff on November 24, 2019 – 11:25 am -

Bill Bailey’s 2020 Winter Gospel Music ConventionBill Bailey’s 2020 Winter Gospel Music Convention will be held Monday-Saturday, February 3-8, 2020 in Palmetto, Florida at the Bradenton Area Convention Center.  Over 40 of gospel music’s top artists will be appearing throughout the week – including special guest artist, Larry, Steve, & Rudy – the GATLIN BROTHERS, along with the BOOTH BROTHERS, HOPPERS, GREATER VISION, ISAACS, TRIUMPHANT QUARTET, LYNDA RANDLE, LEGACY FIVE, PERRYS, GOLD CITY, KINGSMEN, JOSEPH HABEDANK, KAREN PECK & NEW RIVER, INSPIRATIONS, and many others!
Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers

Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers

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 34th anniversary promoting southern gospel concerts throughout the United States.

Monday, February 3rd  1pm
“Early Bird Welcome Party” with the Hyssongs and Troy Burns Family
Monday, February 3rd  6:30pm
“Grand Opening Night” with the Booth Brothers, Hoppers, Perrys, Guardians,
Josh & Ashley Franks
Tuesday, February 4th  1pm
“Up Close & Personal” with the Booth Brothers, and special guests, The Sound
Tuesday, February 4th  6:30pm
Larry, Steve, & Rudy – the Gatlin Brothers, Booth Brothers, Jeff & Sheri Easter, Nelons
Wednesday, February 5th  1pm
The Browns’ 20th Anniversary in 2020!
Wednesday, February 5th  6:30pm
“All Male Quartet Night” with Gold City, Kingsmen, Inspirations, LeFevre Quartet, Dixie Echoes
Thursday, February 6th  1pm
Gerald Wolfe’s Gospel Music Hymn Sing
Thursday, February 6th  6:30pm
Greater Vision, Mark Trammell Quartet, Joseph Habedank, Whisnants, Mylon Hayes Family
Friday, February 7th  1pm
“Exclusively” The Isaacs
Friday, February 7th  6:30pm
Triumphant Quartet, Legacy Five, Lynda Randle, New Speer Family, Erwins
Saturday, February 8th  2pm
“All Day Singing Finale” with Brian Free & Assurance, Karen Peck & New River,
Ivan Parker, Tribute Quartet, Talleys
Ticket options are available for the entire week or just specific nights. (Saturday “All Day Singing Finale” is a ticketed event.)
  DISCOUNTED GROUP TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE FOR GROUPS OF 10 OR MORE! 
Mon-Fri 1pm matinee concerts and 10am chapel services are free admission events, with a love offering received.  Limited amount of overnight parking for self-contained RV’s is located on the grounds.
For tickets, camping reservations, hotels, or general information, call (941) 756-6942.
The Bradenton Area Convention Center is located at One Haben Blvd in Palmetto, just off US Hwy 301/41.

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The Hoppers Inducted into North Carolina Music Hall of Fame

Written by Staff on October 25, 2018 – 7:19 pm -

The Hoppers pose backstage priort to the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

The Hoppers pose backstage priort to the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame members THE HOPPERS can add another Hall of Fame to their list of honors. The beloved Gospel music family was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame on October 18, 2018 during a ceremony in Kannapolis, NC

The group was inducted alongside other noted North Carolinians: John Tesh, Chris Daughtry, Dolphus Ramseur, Luther Barnes, Calvin Richardson and Blind Boy Fuller.
“Living my entire life in the state that I love calling home, I feel so appreciative and blessed that our family was honored by our recent induction into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame,” said Connie Hopper.”
During the event, The Hoppers also performed for the capacity crowd, giving the audience just a little glimpse into this family’s iconic career.

The Hoppers pose with fellow NC Music Hall of Fame Inductee, John Tesh
L-R: Connie & Claude Hopper, John Tesh, Kim Hopper, Mike Hopper, Karlye Hopper, Dean Hopper
The Hoppers join other noted inductees through the years, such as Tony Brown, Tori Amos, Shirley Caesar, Ronnie Milsap, Stonewall Jackson, Randy Travis, Mike Curb, Nina Simone, Eric Church and many more.
Hailing from Madison, NC, GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame members The Hoppers – known as America’s Favorite Family of Gospel Music – have been singing to global audiences for over 60 years with appearances ranging from presidential religious inaugural ceremonies and New York’s Carnegie Hall to singing conventions and church platforms. They have performed throughout the United States as well as in Israel, Europe, and Africa. Their unique blend of harmonies and song choices have created a legacy of musical excellence embraced by leading pastors and event organizers. The family is favorites on the Gaither Homecoming videos and tours, and their recordings frequently land near the top of the BILLBOARD sales charts and multiple radio charts. They are one of the most highly celebrated artists in music with over 50 awards, eight number one songs along with multiple top 5 songs. Additionally, Claude Hopper is a member of the SGMA Hall of Fame and group members Claude, Connie, Kim, and Dean hold honorary Doctorate Degrees from Oakland City University.
Connect with The Hoppers atwww.TheHoppers.com.

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NQC RECAP: THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2018

Written by Staff on September 28, 2018 – 8:31 am -

Gaither Vocal Band at NQC. Photo by Chip Woods

Gaither Vocal Band at NQC. Photo by Chip Woods

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (September 26, 2018) –  It was a terrific Thursday filled with music and message at NQC. The day started bright and early with morning chapel service as the Mark Trammell Quartet and Mike Speck led the crowd in worship, followed by a message from one of the most dynamic preachers today, C.T. Townsend.
Moving forward into the day, Dennis Swanberg gave convention-goers a laugh-break with his comedy.
Bill Gaither at NQC. Photo by Chip Woods

Bill Gaither at NQC. Photo by Chip Woods

Next up was Bill Gaither and his Homecoming Friends, filling the LeConte Center with classic songs made popular on the Gaither videos.

The evening concerts were hosted by Josh Franks. Tonight’s performers were: Gaither Vocal Band, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, Hoppers, Legacy Five, Jonathan Wilburn, Gold City, Ball Brothers, Greater Vision, Tribute Quartet, Mark Trammell Quartet, Jim Brady Trio, Dr. David Jeremiah, Primitive Quartet, Three Bridges, Kingdom Heirs. Power half-hour performances by Tim Menzies, Torchmen, Jordan Family Band, Debra Perry & Jaidyn’s Call
Among tonight’s highlights were the classic harmony of the Gaither Vocal Band, and the comedy of Bill Gaither and his sidekick, Kevin Williams and the moving testimony of Josh Townsend – pianist for Legacy Five – as he told of suffering abuse at the hands of his father in the womb before he was even born. The abuse left his twin dead before birth and Josh suffered a stroke before being delivered. Due to this, doctors told his mother that he would never have use of his left hand, to which Josh testified tonight – “they were wrong.” The crowd – with tears streaming down their face – gave Townsend a standing ovation after he performed the song, “God’s Been Good.”
C.T. Townsend at NQC. Photo by Chip Woods

C.T. Townsend at NQC. Photo by Chip Woods. C.T. Townsend will also be appearing at Creekside Gospel Music Convention Oct. 28-Nov.1

NQC – the National Quartet Convention – continues until Saturday, September 29, 2018, at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, TN. Over 40,000 people are expected to enjoy the concerts and festivities planned.

Coming up tomorrow, Friday, September 28, 2018:
  • Chapel with Jim Brady Trio and the First Baptist Church Indian Trail Choir and message by Dr. Mike Whitson
  • Blazing Pianos
  • Dr. David Jeremiah
  • Matinee Extravaganza
  • Evening Concerts featuring: Erwins, Dixie Echoes, Nelons, LeFevre Quartet, Taylors, Mark Trammell Quartet, McKameys, Lynda Randle, Perrys, Jeff & Sheri Easter, Isaacs, Joseph Habedank, Hoppers, Triumphant, Karen Peck & New River and Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
NQC – the National Quartet Convention – was founded in 1957 by gospel music legend and former backup vocalist for Elvis Presley, J.D. Sumner who co-produced the event with James Blackwood. The annual convention was moved in later years to Nashville, TN and then to Louisville, KY where it was held for 20 years.
Bill Gaither reunion at NQC. Photo by Chip Woods

Bill Gaither and Homecoming Friends at NQC. Photo by Chip Woods

For more information, visit www.NQConline.com.

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A Gospel Music Love Affair with Paul Belcher by Charlie Griffin

Written by Staff on May 31, 2018 – 10:21 am -

Gospel Music promotion is a love affair for Paul Belcher

Gospel Music promotion is a love affair for Paul Belcher

In the early 1980s, I was working with the Singing Americans. As Ed Hill and I were working to fill some dates, Paul Belcher called the office to say he had heard good things and wanted to book the group.

“Whiter Than Snow” had just hit the top five on the music charts, and people were talking. As Paul and I talked, one date led to another. And as the story goes, the rest is history. That day a long-term friendship began with Paul Belcher Promotions.

Promoting gospel music comes easily to a man who has had a 45-year love affair with gospel music.

“Mom and Dad use to book artists in churches in Michigan,” Belcher said. “I went to an all-night singing in Detroit (with the) Blackwoods, Statesmen, Thrasher Brothers, and Speer Family in one package. I was hooked. I thought I would like to try this. I could not have done this without my mom. I wasn’t old enough to sign contracts.

“I started promoting gospel music in 1973. My first concert was in Detroit with the Hopper Brothers and Connie. I was 17 when I booked them the first time. This year makes our 45th year of promoting Southern gospel music concerts in a ticketed format.”

Paul Belcher and Connie Hopper. Detroit MI. 1975

Paul Belcher and Connie Hopper. Detroit MI. 1975

Belcher has been influenced by some of gospel music’s most noted icons.

“I go back a long way,” Belcher said. “When you have dealings with J.D. Sumner, James Blackwood, Hovie Lister, Brock Speer, Martin Cook, Howard and Vestal Goodman, Les Beasley, Wendy Bagwell, and Roy Carter … there’s history right there.”

Some of gospel music’s best men mentored and coached Belcher in concert promotions.

“Martin Cook of the Inspirations gave me sound advice about promoting the right artist and was always suggesting ideas,” Belcher said. “Claude Hopper (was) very business minded, always a friend, but never shy about giving me pointers. Promoter W.B. Nowlin from Fort Worth, Texas, I bought a half interest from him in the Battle of Songs in the 80s. He taught me about packaging the right artists together, who to use, and who to stay away from.”

Over the years, the art of promoting concerts has truly changed.

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GMA Hall of Fame Members The Hoppers Pay Tribute to Gospel Music Pioneers

Written by Staff on March 26, 2018 – 3:19 pm -

The Hoppers: Honor the First Families of Gospel Music DVD cover art

The Hoppers: Honor the First Families of Gospel Music DVD cover art

All-new CD and DVD Recordings Commemorate the Music of The Chuck Wagon Gang, Gaithers, Happy Goodman Family, Rambos and Speer Family

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—March 26th, 2018—Gospel Music Hall of Fame members and award-winning family group The Hoppers have just recorded an all-new CD and DVD in commemoration of some of gospel music’s legendary pioneers who paved the way before them. Produced by gospel music icon Bill Gaither, along with award-winning, veteran producer Michael Sykes, The Hoppers: Honor the First Families of Gospel Music (Gaither Music Group), which is scheduled to release on April 6th, pays tribute to classic hits originally recorded by The Chuck Wagon Gang, Gaithers, Goodman Family, Rambos and the Speer Family.

“This was Bill Gaither’s idea and it was a good one!” stated group matriarch Connie Hopper as she remembered these groups’ impacts on The Hoppers. “The Chuck Wagon Gang was the first gospel music I heard on the radio growing up. Later, after we began traveling and singing, I had the opportunity to meet Rose, Anna and Roy Carter. It is our privilege to honor The Chuck Wagon Gang on one of their great classics ‘Lord, Lead Me On.’”

Other classic tunes chosen for the release include “God Walks the Dark Hills,” “Gentle Shepherd,” “I’d Rather Have Jesus,” “I Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey,” the first radio single “Be an Overcomer,” “He Looked Beyond My Fault” and more.

“Bill [Gaither], along with all The Hoppers, agreed we should musically stay true to the songs as they were first recorded by the original artists,” stated soprano Kim Hopper. “Vocally we are very different from these artists, so naturally we gave these songs a different sound.”

That acclaimed Hoppers’ sound was inspired by many of these pioneering gospel music families. Connie recalled, “We were in concert with the Rambos in SC. I was in my seat listening intently when Buck stepped to the mic to tell the crowd that Dottie had just written a new song—‘He Looked Beyond My Fault.’ It was indeed a special moment.”

“I was fortunate at a young age to be traveling with my family during the years these honored family groups were in their prime,” said Dean Hopper. “You might say I had a front row seat to greatness. I spent time on their buses, and some even visited our home to sit down for my mom’s home cooking. We had many conversations before the concerts, and then I watched the crowd respond as these honored families brought life to these great songs. These are treasured memories.”

Group leader and bass singer Claude Hopper shared another special moment inspired by the Speer Family, “In 1956 I attended my first concert in Winston Salem, NC. The Speer Family was among the featured artists that night. Dad Speer was singing the song ‘I’m Bound for That City.’ He walked the stage rubbing his hand through his white hair and singing with such passion and conviction I thought he was going to that city that night, and I wanted to go with him. That concert inspired me to sing this music. Sixty-one years later I’m still doing it.”

Dean Hopper and The Hoppers

Dean Hopper and The Hoppers

A family group who has been blazing musical trails for over 60 years, The Hoppers are a mainstay in gospel music. For decades their recording and performing have been inspiring new generations of up-and-coming artists. They have garnered over 25 Favorite Groups Awards, six Favorite Alto Awards, 40 Female Vocalist Awards and five Favorite Musician Awards. Their talents have taken them from the stages of Carnegie Hall and the Gaither HOMECOMING tours to platforms in Israel, Europe and Africa; and their radio hits are a mainstay at the top of The Singing News radio charts.

The group’s DVD release The Gaither Gospel Series: The Best of The Hoppers (Gaither Music Group) soared to #2 on Billboard’s video chart while the CD entered the Billboard Heatseeker chart at #4. Additionally, the CD entered the Nielsen SoundScan Southern Gospel chart at #1 and the Contemporary Christian chart at #10.

The group, led by Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame members Connie and Claude, maintain a heavy touring schedule, performing on the Gaither HOMECOMING video series, at the National Quartet Convention, at the Great Western Gospel Music Fan Festival, at the Cove and at Singing in the Sun, in addition to around 180 solo dates annually.

The Hoppers: Honor the First Families of Gospel Music is distributed by Capitol Christian Music Distribution and Universal Music. The 90-minute DVD features a behind-the-scenes interview with the group hosted by Gaither. The DVD and CD will be available at retail and digital outlets worldwide including iTunes, Amazon, www.gaither.com and www.thehoppers.com. It is available for pre-sale now at www.amazon.com, www.cbd.com, www.gaither.com and www.thehoppers.com.

The new recording will air as a television special on RFD-TV, TBN, Gaither Television Network, PBS, DISH TV, DirecTV, FamilyNet, CTN, GMC, GMTN, Guardian, Liberty, TCT and TLN. It will air in Canada on Vision TV, CTS, The Miracle Channel and Hope TV. It will be promoted via a social media campaign, positioned in retail/e-tail outlets everywhere, featured in the Gaither Catalog Collection and on the Gaither web site and aired on the “HOMECOMING Weekly” program on Sirius XM.

The LIVE performance video of “Be an Overcomer” is also featured on the recent CD and DVD release A Few Good Men (Gaither Music Group), which features the Gaither Vocal Band, The Gatlin Brothers and The Oak Ridge Boys. For a preview of “Be an Overcomer” visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAmJpP2SnYY

For further information regarding The Hoppers website.

The Hoppers: Honor the First Families of Gospel Music Song Listing (CD and DVD):

1. Be an Overcomer

2. Lord, Lead Me On

3. God Walks the Dark Hills

4. I’m Longing for Jesus to Come Back

5. One More River

6. He Is Mine and I Am His

7. I Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey

8. I’d Rather Have Jesus

9. He Looked Beyond My Fault

10. Some Glad Day

11. Gentle Shepherd

 

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What I’m Looking For in 2018 in Gospel Music by Craig Harris

Written by Staff on March 1, 2018 – 12:22 pm -

Cana's Voice. Photo by Craig Harris

Cana’s Voice. Photo by Craig Harris

Sure, it’s a new year, and with a new year comes endless possibilities. Here’s a few things that you may want to keep an eye on [in Gospel music] as we journey through 2018 …

 

The Hoppers have faced a series of challenges over the last couple of years, but it took many by surprise when Dean Hopper had two strokes in December of 2016. Then, when it appeared that he had recovered and was almost back to normal, Hopper suffered three more strokes in August. Hopefully, those medical hurdles are over, and the Hoppers can continue to produce great music, such as “Jesus the One,” “Song of Moses,” “If We Ever Gotta Look” and the title track off of their “Life Is Good” project … though one of the hidden gems from the project is the yet-to-be-released track No. 4, “Walk Two.”

 

I’m looking forward to seeing what lies ahead for the LeFevre Quartet now that those fellas have joined the Daywind Music family. Already possessing a commercial sound, it will be interesting to see if being a part one of the elite record companies in the Southern gospel industry leads to even greater success at radio and in other avenues as well.

 

Dean Hopper. Photo by Craig Harris

Dean Hopper. Photo by Craig Harris

Cana’s Voice burst on to the scene two years ago, featuring three dynamic vocalists in Doug Anderson (formerly of Ernie Haase and Signature Sound), TaRanda Beene (the Greenes) and Jody McBrayer (Avalon). Their debut project – “This Changes Everything” – contains hit songs “Heavenly Father” and “Jesus Never Fails.” My only complaint … I didn’t see Cana’s Voice in concert in 2017, due in part to a limited touring schedule as a result of all three group members having their own solo ministries. However, the group has started off 2018 along with David Phelps on the Big Voice Tour. What am I hoping for in 2018 … for my ears and their voices to spend more quality time together in live concert settings.

 

Group changes are never easy. However, as we all know, they’re inevitable. What a soulful asset that Ricky Braddy brought to the sound of Karen Peck and New River. I look forward to hearing the next male vocalist who comes on board with the uber-popular, award-winning trio, and I also look forward to seeing if the group can come close to producing a project that I dig as much as the Wayne Haun-produced “Hope For All Nations” (“Victory is Mine” and “I Know I’ll Be There” are simply top-notch).

 

There’s so many “good guys” in the Southern gospel industry, including Brian Lester, Susan Whisnant and Karen Peck Gooch to name just a few. Count Gary Casto among that contingent. Tribute Quartet’s manager and lead singer seems to be one of the hardest-working individuals in Southern gospel music as he’s involved in many different facets of the industry. With hard work comes reward, such as the group’s 2017 Dove Award nominations for Album of the Year (“Here for You,” produced by Haun) and Southern Gospel Recorded Song of the Year (“Never Forsaken”). What type of blessings does 2018 hold in store for a group that has risen to a point of being considered one of the top male quartet’s in Southern gospel music? I can’t wait to find out.

 

The Kingsmen Quartet Announce Departure Of Chris Jenkins

The Kingsmen Quartet

Speaking of personnel changes, I was listening to a Southern gospel radio station earlier in 2017 and heard a ballad that featured a voice that I was certain I recognized. It had to be Chris Jenkins. Well, it was. The Anchormen’s “I Heard About a Man” had recently been released to radio and has since been spun many more times on the airwaves. Well, Jenkins recently returned to the Kingsmen. His strong, consistent tenor vocals are an asset to any group. It’s sure to be a nice reunion for a group that has experienced significant success at radio with “Here I Stand Amazed” and “They Don’t Know.” Lot of fans will be looking forward to hearing Jenkins reunited with the rest of the Kingsmen.

 

Joseph Habedank has the ball rolling. After winning a Dove Award for Best Southern Gospel Album (“Resurrection,” also produced by Haun) in October, Habedank has now been nominated for a GRAMMY Award for Best Gospel Roots Album. He’s performed with Country Music icon Reba McEntire at the Dove Awards and is one of the few soloists selected to appear on the main stage at the National Quartet Convention. “Here He Comes” and “Just When You Thought” have been well-received releases from “Resurrection,” following hit songs such as “Welcome Home,” “Never No Never” and “Beauty of the Blood” off of his “Welcome Home” project. Can Habedank’s impressive ascension continue at the same pace in 2018? (Side note … Who knows what Haun – who is up for three GRAMMY Awards – will produce this year).

 

The Nelons continue to see doors open for their ministry, recently being invited to perform in front of the Supreme Court of the United States at the live nativity and then attending the White House Christmas Party in Washington, D.C. Two months earlier, the group won a 2017 Dove Award for Bluegrass/Country/Roots Recorded Song of the Year (“When Grandpa Sang Amazing Grace”). They’ve recently released an Americana project, “The Americana Sessions”.  I look forward to seeing how another year affects Autumn Nelon Clark, who has recently blossomed vocally and enhanced the Nelons’ overall sound.

 

Collingsworth Family Photo by Craig Harris

Collingsworth Family. Photo by Craig Harris

Can anybody deliver a ballad quite like the Collingsworth Family? They’re class personified, and it just seems to be one hit after another … “When He Carries Me Away,” “Gotta Get to Jesus,” “You’re About to Climb,” “It Matters to the Master,” “At Calvary,” “Fear Not Tomorrow” … and a couple of my personal favorites in “Tell the Mountain” and “I Found It All.” What’s the next big showstopper?

 

Jason Crabb has a huge fan base. He also has a huge talent, being an elite vocalist and having developed into a great communicator of a lyric. Now, he’s deeply delving into songwriting. Given Gerald Crabb’s immense success as a writer, does the apple fall far from the tree? We’ll get a glimpse over the next few months as some of his efforts will likely be unveiled.

 

Guardians. Photo by Craig Harris

Guardians. Photo by Craig Harris

The Guardians are a picture of consistency with Dean Hickman and Neil Uhrig, who were original members when the group formed in 1988. John Darin Rowsey joined the group in 2012, and now, the group has experienced great success in recent years, on the radio charts and on stages that the male trio has been invited to perform upon. I first heard their latest radio hit – “Present in the Presence of the King” – at Jackson Sings the Gospel last July in Jackson, Tenn., and immediately fell in love with it. It’s no surprise that it was released to radio and has rapidly climbed up the charts. “Packin’ Up,” “It Ain’t Gonna Worry Me Long,” “Somebody Prays,” “Shoutin’ Sounds” and “Let the Healing Begin” are all popular requests for the Guardians. What’s next for those guys? Stay tuned.

 

Southern gospel music fans adore the Mark Trammell Quartet, Greater Vision and Pat Barker. How then could they not love it when Greater Vision’s Gerald Wolfe, Rodney Griffin and Chris Allman teamed up with Trammell and Barker to form the Second Half Quartet. The response they receive is always overwhelming. Surely, there has to be something new – well, possibly a new version of something old – coming from that ensemble soon, right? I won’t be the only one looking forward to seeing what it will be.

 

Goodman Revival. Photo by Craig Harris

Goodman Revival. Photo by Craig Harris

 

And there’s lots of groups that we’re all constantly keeping an eye on. I’ll look forward to seeing what Legacy Five, Goodman Revival, the Jim Brady Trio, Gold City, the Booth Brothers, Triumphant, Jeff and Sheri Easter, the Whisnants, Greater Vision, the Mark Trammell Trio and many others have in store this year. They’re some of your favorites … and mine too. Here’s to lots of great music and many memorable moments over these last 10 months of 2018.

By Craig Harris, writer and copy editor of SGNScoops Magazine

Craig Harris

Craig Harris

First published by SGNScoops Magazine in February 2018

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NQC HEADS FULL STEAM AHEAD INTO WEEKEND

Written by Staff on September 28, 2017 – 6:13 pm -

NQC photos by Craig Harris

NQC photos by Craig Harris

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (September 28, 2017) – It has been an exciting week already as NQC’s 60th anniversary celebration has been marked with moments of patriotism and unity underscored by a talented array of the best in Gospel music – and it’s only just begun!

Sunday began with a special “Welcome Concert” followed by a Monday night full of patriotism. The US Army Quartet performed “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and “God Bless The USA,” at the request of NQC VP, Clarke Beasley, which recieved  thunderous appplause from the crowd.
NQC photos by Craig Harris

NQC photos by Craig Harris

With the controversies surrounding the anthem, the NQC audience sent a clear message of support, patriotism, love of country and love of God. And, it wasn’t just the audience in attendance

NQC photos by Craig Harris

NQC photos by Craig Harris

that took note. The moment grabbed the attention from local and national media outlets including the Independent Journal ReviewFox News’ Todd StarnesWVLT and more.

The night continued to inspire with performances including a very special treat – the reunion of Squire Parsons and the Kingsmen Quartet, peforming hit after hit, including the iconic song, “Beulah Land.” The evening was hosted by Riley Harrison Clark and Lauren Talley.
NQC photos by Craig Harris

NQC photos by Craig Harris

Tuesday afternoon delievered a first: the SGMA Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Benefit Concert featuring the inductions of Troy Burns, Randy Shelnut, LaBreeska Hemphill, and Tony Greene; and performances from The Guardians, Jim Brady Trio, Hoppers, Kingdom Heirs, Karen Peck & New River, Second  Half Quartet, Triumphant Quartet and Tribute. The afternoon was hosted by SGMA Hall of Fame member, Dr. Jerry Goff.

NQC photos by Craig Harris

NQC photos by Craig Harris

Tuesday evening was hosted by Joseph Habedank and Katie Erwin, infusing a youthful joy and excitement into every moment during the night. There were performances from Jason Crabb, The Perrys, Jim Brady Trio, McKameys, Dixie Melody Boys, Talleys, and more.

NQC photos by Craig Harris

NQC photos by Craig Harris

Special clips celebrating the 60th Anniversary of NQC were shared through the evening, including vintage video of The Rambos and Blackwood Brothers. Scott Fowler took the entire time allotted to Legacy Five to highlight the amazing testimony of their new piano player Josh Townsend (JT). There wasn’t a dry eye in the building as Josh shared his incredible journey, ending with the song “God’s Been Good.” (See previously released video here.)

NQC photos by Craig Harris

Photos by Craig Harris

There was no time for slowing down as NQC hit mid-week. Wednesday brought a momentous Hoppers Brothers Reunion and the anticipated Singing New Fan Awards. Wednesday evening concerts included performances by Freedom Quartet, Jonathan Wilburn, Gold City, the Guardians, Kingdom Heis, Jeff & Sheri Easter, LeFevre Quartet, the Whisnants and many more with vintage NQC memories of the Imperials and the Speer Family.

NQC photos by Craig Harris

Photos by Craig Harris

Aaron Wilburn will lead the way with comedy and music as we journey into Thursday and excitment is in the air as Bill Gaither returns to NQC, bringing with him his Homecoming Friends and the Gaither Vocal Band.

NQC photos by Craig Harris

Photos by Craig Harris

This evening is sure to be a hit – with hosts Park Webb and Hannah Webb guiding us through the night of performances from the Gaither Vocal Band, an Inspirations Reunion, the Nelons, Isaacs, Greater Vision, GMA Hall of Fame members The Hoppers, Legacy Five, the Mylon Hayes Family, Booth Brothers and so many more!

NQC 60th Anniversary photos may be accessed at Facebook.com/NQConline and may be downloaded for use. The event is being held at the LeCeonte Center in Pigeon Forge, TN until Saturday, September 30, 2017.
NQC was founded in 1957 by gospel music legend and former backup vocalist for Elvis Presley, J.D. Sumner who co-produced the event with James Blackwood. The annual convention was moved in later years to Nashville, TN and then to Louisville, KY where it was held for 20 years before moving to Pigeon Forge, TN recently.
For more information, visit www.NQConline.com.

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Mark Trammell Quartet welcomes Trevor Conkle

Written by Staff on July 17, 2017 – 8:52 am -

Trevor Conkle joins Mark Trammell

Trevor Conkle joins Mark Trammell

Gadsden, AL – After five years of looking for the right man to sit at the keyboards, 2017 Singing News Top Five Traditional Quartet nominee, The Mark Trammell Quartet announces today that nineteen year old Trevor Conkle from Arab, Alabama will be that man. Mark says, “We are thrilled that Trevor expressed interest in being an active part of our ministry. We believe this young man has a bright future in Gospel Music, and we are pleased that he wants to grow with us!”

Trevor Conkle joins Mark Trammell

Mark Trammell Quartet by Craig Harris

For the last three years, Trevor has enjoyed traveling with the multi-award winning first family of gospel music, The Hoppers, from Madison, NC. Trevor states, “While I am truly grateful for this family and the daily investment they have made in me, my first love is convention style and quartet music. Upon hearing of The Mark Trammell Quartet genuinely looking for a keyboard man, I began to enquire and that enquiry led to my gaining this position. I couldn’t be more pleased, and look forward to traveling with this great quartet. The Hoppers have been wonderful to me and I will always cherish my time with them.”

Trevor will be boarding the MTQ bus on Thursday, July 20, 2017 to begin the next chapter in his musical life. When you see MTQ, be sure to welcome this young man to his new home.

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