NQC got into full swing on Monday with the exhibit areas populated with booths and a larger crowd, though the arena was not sold out. Perhaps two-thirds of the arena was filled, keeping in mind that at any given moment, not everyone is in their seat.
I spent time in the exhibit areas reconnecting with several friends and singers that I typically see only at NQC. This, to me, is equally as important as enjoying the music. It’s very much like an annual family reunion especially when you see someone you missed seeing the previous year. It’s also fun seeing a few friends from my home area, because we’re seeing them out of the usual context.
As for the music on Monday evening, I enjoyed:
1. Tim Lovelace doing a comedy routine I hadn’t heard him do previously,
2. The Mylon Hayes Family’s convention-style selections,
3. Randy Shelnut’s guitar solo (“Wayfaring Stranger”) during the Dixie Echoes set,
4. Seeing Jeremy Peace, who has endured so many health issues the past few years, performing with The Pace Family,
5. The Kingsmen with live musicians Richie Works (piano), Brandon Reese (drums), and Randy “Scoot” Shelnut, Jr. (bass guitar),
6. A tribute to the Happy Goodmans by The Erwins joined by Joseph Habedank,
7. The new sound of The Guardians with the addition of Paul Lancaster, especially his solo “Remind Me, Dear Lord,”
8. The Griffins in their new format as a female trio (Tim played piano),
9. The impressive variety of styles Endless Highway is able to present while not sacrificing quality,
10. The ability of the Booth Brothers to transition from a moving song of encouragement into a dramatic song (“Rise Again”) and then ramp up the energy instantly (“Promises Are Promises”) to leave the crowd wanting more,
11. Josh Singletary’s piano skills displayed during the Tribute Quartet segment,
12. The songwriting talents of Phil Cross showcased by his group, Poet Voices enhanced by the same musicians who accompanied The Kingsmen,
13. Karen Peck & New River’s overall quality of presentation,
14. Triumphant Quartet using the familiar song “Daystar” to introduce Sean Barber to the National Quartet Convention audience.