14 Years Ago

14 Years Ago

Girders in the shape of a cross, preserved from the wreckage of the World Trade Center (WTC), stand over the WTC site in New York September 10, 2004. New York City plans to mark the third anniversary of the attacks on the trade center with an observance at the site on September 11 with parents and grandparents of victims reading their names. The American flag is reflected on the surface of the new 7 World Trade Center Building, under construction, at rear. The original 7 World Trade Center, which stood at the same location, burned and collapsed in the attack three years ago.As a way of honoring and remembering what happened 14 years ago, I’m re-posting an article I wrote on that day.

You’ll notice I only mention the national news in passing as part of my opening remarks. The rest is a report of what I did at NQC that Tuesday. The NQC board seriously considered calling off the event for a day, but they ultimately decided they weren’t going to allow the terrorists that small victory.

Instead, we met together as planned and worshiped the one true God.

As I re-read what I wrote all those years ago, it brings back memories of the instant resolve we all felt there that day in a place called Freedom Hall in Louisville, KY. This sense of unity was felt across our nation. I’m grateful I was there surrounded by thousands of Christian people on that day. Even though 2001 was a year I attended NQC alone, I was with family.

I may be wrong, but I don’t believe our nation would be so quick to unite now. We’ve become desensitized to acts of terror even in our own country. I pray we aren’t put to a similar test again. May we never forget.

So with that introduction, here is my report from the National Quartet Convention, September 11, 2001 just as it appeared on the Usenet discussion group alt.music.gospel.southern (AMGS for short) 14 years ago. You’ll notice a date of 9/12/01 on the image below. That’s because the evening concerts at NQC used to run past midnight. I wrote this article after I returned to my hotel room that evening and posted it via dial-up internet which was billed to my room as a phone call, of course. I believe that was the year I had a $60 phone bill to pay when I checked out. Ah, the good old days…

Image2Tuesday was pretty busy for me here at NQC.
In light of the day’s tragedies, as you’d expect, many references were made to freedom and patriotism today. Many groups changed the programs they had planned in order to do something that related. Jeff Steele even went so far as to re-write his song “We Want America Back,” calling it “We Want America Free.” That was probably the “event of the evening” in terms of what I will remember about this night.

But back to earlier in the day. There was an afternoon showcase of a variety
of artists from 1-4 PM. Some I had heard before. Others I had heard in different contexts. And of course, I heard many groups that I’d never heard before. Lordsong was the only major label group to perform, and they did a great job. They stayed for the first hour and introduced all the groups.

The two groups on the showcase that stood out the most to me were the
Journeymen Quartet and Ken Turner’s new group called New Millennium. The Journeymen have a solid quartet sound and they are pretty energetic. New Millennium has the sound of a group that’s seasoned and polished, and well it should. Ken Turner has been singing for years and he’s joined by Roger Burnette, Derrick Boyd, and Wayne Little. They came out with an a cappella version of “Sweet Sweet Spirit” that was very slick.

Others that I enjoyed included the Diplomats out of Georgia, who sound a
LOT, and I mean a LOT, like the Happy Goodmans. Paid In Full is a good trio that I also enjoyed.

There were three soloists on the showcase, and I enjoyed every one of them,
particularly Stephen Hill and David Patillo. Patillo is refreshing because he’s so laid back. I’ve always admired Hill’s voice on the Gaither videos, but it was great to see him interact with the crowd. I didn’t know how good
he would be at that, but he had us laughing right away. The other soloist was Don Degrate, who did a good job as well.

After the showcases, I browsed thru the exhibit hall for an hour and then
went to meet Clarence Grigsby and Paul Slopak of this group at 5PM. We probably talked for an hour or so. For everyone’s information, they both said they enjoyed Legacy Five’s performance on Monday night. I’m sure you were all wondering about that!

In the evening concerts, I saw Karen Peck, the Nelons, Crabb Family, Talley
Trio, McKameys (don’t faint, Carol!), Old Friends, Greater Vision, Steeles, Jeff and Sheri Easter, Tony Gore and Majesty, Kevin Spencer and Friends, and the Wilburns. I missed about eight other groups.

Gore did all new stuff. Most of the rest did a mix of their standard fare
with at least one special song in memory/honor of the tragedy. Greater Vision did “Redemption Draweth Nigh,” which was particularly powerful. The Wilburns had a choir join them for their final number, which was very moving
as well.

The Steeles pretty much “ruled” the evening in terms of memorable stuff,
though. In addition to what I’ve already mentioned, they resurrected the “Go Out To The Program” imitations, done originally by the Oak Ridge Boys and later by the Kings’ Boys. Their 7 year old kid did imitations of Michael
Combs, Tony Gore, and McCray Dove that brought down the house. I was LOL when he did the Gore walk around the room while shaking hands with folks and singing “I’ll Put On A Crown.” The Dove Brothers joined them (with McCray
running the kid off stage) at the end for “Get Away, Jordan,” but I thought the Gore routine was funnier.


David Bruce Murray

David Bruce Murray

David Bruce Murray is a church music director in Ellenboro, NC. He is the author of Murray's Encyclopedia Of Southern Gospel Music and the owner of both SGHistory.com and MusicScribe.com. David plays piano for Southern Sounds Quartet and the Foothills Community Choir.

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