I’m having to do this quickly, since I’m between morning chapel and the Gaither showcase. Last night went long, and it was a very tiring, but rewarding day. While there were big moments, the energy in the crowd wasn’t quite as consistent as it was Wednesday night. This time around I had seats in the upper level, and maybe that affected my experience, but I did enjoy being able to see the entire scene from my vantage point, including the crowd.
Quickly, here are my highlights from last night:
1. The Whisnants had probably my favorite set of the night. They sandwiched two emotional ballads, “I’ll Trust the Potter’s Hand” and “All Is Well” around a bouncy version of “The Glory-Land Way” with Gerald Wolfe at piano. Then they wrapped up with “New Day Dawning,” which is a great crowd pleaser. They brought Mark Trammell and Pat Barker on stage for a rousing encore.
2. Greater Vision generously gave up part of their set to a trio of teenagers, who got a huge response with the Martins’ a cappella Doxology arrangement. But Greater Vision wasn’t bad themselves, and there was hardly a dry eye in the house after Gerald told a touching story and they closed with “Faces”.
3. The Collingsworth Family did one gospel song, two Christmas songs, and two patriotic songs. Doesn’t sound like it makes a whole lot of sense, but they got some of the biggest ovations of the night, particularly with their a cappella version of “God Bless America” and Kim’s piano rendition of the “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”.
4. Tribute Quartet sounded great. Though they had the tough opening slot, they rolled out great song selection, with “Thank the Lord,” “Homesick Angel,” “Homecoming Day,” and “Good News From Jerusalem”.
5. The Lesters bring a great energy to the stage, and you can tell they are well-loved among their fellow artists. They brought the house down with “I’ll See You Again”.
6. The last big moment of the night was the Booth Brothers’ “Played in the Band” from their new Gaither tribute CD. They encored it a few times, with Bill Gaither himself coming on stage to help out.
The real highlight of the day for me was having a chance to walk around all of the artist booths yesterday afternoon and meet some of my favorite people in gospel music. I don’t have time to tell about all of them, but I will say there were two that excited me more than any others: Squire Parsons and Dianne Wilkinson. Everyone was just as nice as could be! I also got a chance to meet fellow SG internet personalities Aaron Swain, Brandon Coomer, Jeff Foster and son, and Diana Brantley! It was an honor, y’all!