#NQC2022 – Wednesday

#NQC2022 – Wednesday

(photo courtesy of Chip Woods Photography)

The National Quartet Convention will conclude on Saturday, but Wednesday is my final day in town.

I started the day attending the 9:30 AM showcase for up-and-coming artists. My friends The Pine Ridge Boys performed as well as their baritone Jackson Smith in a solo set. Each day, one group is selected to sing one song on the main stage at night. The Pine Ridge Boys were selected today and did an excellent job later on the main stage. I enjoyed cheering them on.

We went to lunch at Firehouse Subs after the morning showcase and spoke with Scotty Inman of Triumphant Quartet who was also having lunch there. I didn’t ask Scotty what sort of sub he prefers, but I got the beef brisket. It’s messy but quite tasty! I’m glad we happened to see him, because we learned during our conversation that Triumphant was going to close the show Wednesday night even though the program book indicated it would be Gold City.

At the evening concert, I saw sets by the Kingsmen, 3 Heath Brothers, Endless Highway, Heart 2 Heart, Master’s Voice, the Kramers, Tribute Quartet, the Pine Ridge Boys, the Erwins, the Booth Brothers, Lynda Randle, the Perrys, the Griffith Family, Greater Vision, and Triumphant. Whew! And I still managed to spend some time walking through the Exhibit Hall.

The group that demonstrated the most variety tonight was Endless Highway. They started their set with bluegrass, morphed into western swing, and ended using tracks.

The highlight of the evening was Michael Booth’s hilarious setup explaining what was going to happen over the next three songs and then watching it happen with a surprise at the end.

During the day, I enjoyed a good conversation with Luke Vaught of the Inspirations, Travis & Alecia Bridgeman at the SGMA booth, most of the Pine Ridge Boys, the 3 Heath Brothers, and several more.

I still miss the pre-pandemic center stage setup of the big room, but four sets of side risers added this year made the view a little more tolerable for fans who couldn’t secure seats down close.

The only annoyance of note this year was seeing a couple of well-established groups still limited to a one-song set. Credit where it’s due, the NQC board did expand time for some groups that had only sung one song in the past. The Chitans are one example of a group that had been limited to one song in the past singing more this year, plus they backed up Lynda Randle. But why limit the 3 Heath Brothers to one song after they’ve been such a hit with the crowd in the past?

That gripe aside, it’s been a fun trip.

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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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