NQC drops Dixie Melody Boys from mainstage schedule

NQC recently posted their 2010 mainstage schedule (hat tip, Nate). Notable changes:

  • The Dixie Melody Boys have been cut from the main stage. There has been some fuss, particularly since the group is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year; there’s even been a Facebook started petition to get the board to reverse the decision. Yet there is another side to the story: Most or all years, the board removes one or more acts who have had frequent lineup changes. (Parenthetically, see here for an earlier discussion on what constitutes frequent lineup changes; this site defines it as an average of more than one change per year, and the board likely uses a similar definition.) Virtually every time over the last 5-7 years that the board has removed such a group, someone has come online and posted something to this effect: “Well, but they haven’t cut the Dixie Melody Boys, who have had more changes.” The board undoubtedly gets frequent and constant complaints every year, and perhaps they just got tired of hearing this one!
  • Other groups pulled: Original Couriers, Liberty Quartet, Soul’d Out, Ball Brothers, HisSong.
  • Dailey and Vincent’s set got one of the strongest responses of any set last year, and it looks as though the board responded; they bumped them up to two nights, and moved the other prominent bluegrass group appearing, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, to opening night.
  • Three acts make their first mainstage appearance: Squire Parsons, Guy Penrod (first time as a soloist), and the Voices of Lee. Let’s put the Dixie Melody Boys question in another light: Will Guy Penrod draw more people? Probably. (Will the other two? Toss-up.)
  • I seem to recall the Browns had their first scheduled mainstage appearance (and second overall) last year; however, it may have been their second, with their first being an unscheduled best-of-showcase highlight from the year before.
  • NQC has listened to numerous fan suggestions to offer some of Southern Gospel’s more engaging artist-emcees the emcee microphone for an evening (in place, by and large, of the Christian comedians, though Dennis Swanberg appears once.) Gerald Wolfe, Karen Peck Gooch, Michael Booth, Susan Whisnant, Jason Crabb, Sisters, Brian Free, Sheri Easter, Debra Talley, and Dean and Kim Hopper will be sharing emcee duties.
  • The Gaither Vocal Band will be appearing once, on Friday; Signature Sound has two sets, but on separate nights from the Gaither set—Wednesday and Thursday.

The NQC board will never be able to make everyone happy. But it seems that this year’s lineup is fairly strong, with a reasonably small number of eyebrow-raising moves.

About Daniel J. Mount

Daniel Mount has written 3191 posts.

Daniel J. Mount is the founder and editor of Southern Gospel Journal.


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69 Letters to the Editor

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  1. There are a few artists that are scheduled for the main stage that I’m raising my eyebrows about!! But I won’t mention names here. I am glad that Voices of Lee will be there. They’ve been on recordings of GVB, Greater Vision, and Legacy Five that I know about, as well as being finalists in a national TV a capella competition that I can’t remember the name of! I’ve seen them quite a few times. They are great kids and I know the audience will enjoy them!

    Another thing to consider is the trickle-down effect of this tentative schedule. I have heard that the artists that get bumped from the main stage will be appearing on the Featured Artist showcases, which means that many of the artists that had been appearing on those will get bumped to the Regional Artist (non-ticketed and non-paid) showcases. I think we’ll see many of the lesser-known but very worthy groups have to make a decision about whether to even go to NQC at all – including some of my favorites. I’m not going to mention their names here either.

    Sometimes I wish I were on the board so I could make the decisions as to who appears on which stage. But I realize that I couldn’t make everyone happy either!

    • Me, either. Suppose, say, I was on the board, and cut the Pfeifers down to one set, or down altogether. This just now occurred to me, but they are only based about two hours from Louisville, and have a very strong local, home-base following. I imagine they pull more people in than a number of far bigger names, due to this.

      • That makes sense. And considering that bigger groups like the GVB or EHSS sometimes get a surprisingly tepid response, the board might want to keep the local group with strong support.

    • I think the ruling about frequent lineup changes is ridiculous. Folks, change is the only thing that doesn’t change. Especially in a volatile economy, and in an industry that frankly can’t afford to pay its workers very well. I admire the 50 year history of DMB and wish them the very best. They deserve to be there.

    • Diana:
      Wasn’t it called “The Singing Bee”? I watched that and the group I liked the most was the ladies barbershop quartet, Max Factor. I don’t see them getting to do NQC–but I guess that would be like asking the Acoustix! (They’d be gooooood!)

  2. Daniel, I certainly agree with your last paragraph. If you have more than one person at a concert or attending you can’t make everyone happy. I’m sure the decisions NQC Board are difficult ones to make. As a promoter they have to make decisions as who they feel will draw more people to the NQC (Concert). I’m sure they are looking every year at the crowd. Is there a mass exit when this group gets on stage to sing? Having been there and watching the exit of people when groups come on stage makes you wonder WHY did they have this group on stage? (Maybe it wasn’t the group, just ice cream time)
    The Board is always making changes in the line-up on main stage for different reasons throughout the year. Nothing has been said about it but they may be looking at having a special showcase celebrating Dixie Melody Boys 50 years with all the former members they can get. We have not considereed the showcase schedule. We are only looking at the main stage event.

  3. If NQC wants to get it exactly right every time, all they have to do is ask me. So far, they’ve not called.

  4. Interesting as well that they upped the Collingsworth Family to 3 nights. Well deserved.

    • Agreed that it’s well deserved – but didn’t they have three last year? Or was it just two?

      • I was thinking only 2 the last 2 years – but I could be wrong.

  5. I think the Nelons should be added back. Certainly they are a bigger attraction than some others I will also not mention here.

  6. I think dropping the Dixie melody Boys is just plain awful. This a group with some history folks. If the reasoning is that they have had personnel changes, then I would also expect to see Gold City off the main stage…let’s get DMB back on the main stage!

    • Would you say that every group that has some history of past prominence deserves a mainstage slot every year – Naomi and the Segos, Weatherfords, Chuck Wagon Gang, Blackwood Quartet, Blackwood Gospel Quartet, etc., etc. – regardless of current membership?

      The last four words are the key part of my question. I think current membership does play a role.

      Now, it is interesting to see Gold City starting to take the place of the DMBs, since the argument there was the argument against every other change over the past few years, just with the DMBs taking the honors. :)

  7. It seems a little classless to drop DMB in their 50th anniversary year. And as for frequent turnover… uh, Gold City anyone?

    • Yet will Gold City – with Tim Riley – pull more people in than the DMBs will?

      GC has two or three sets this year. Suppose that one of them was removed and the DMBs were given that slot. Would attendance be up or down?

      Make no mistake, I enjoy the DMB’s music and would have no problem at all seeing them on main stage. Yet I think we all know the answer to that question.

      • Yes, I’m sure Gold City would pull more people. But at the same time, it seems weird to suddenly decide to pick on DMB in an area where, this year, Gold City would qualify much better.

      • Put that way, I would find myself in agreement . . . except that I’m pretty sure this wasn’t a sudden thing. It’s not like the DMB’s lineup changes have arisen suddenly – they’ve averaged one change or more per year for probably a decade now, and up until this there were people complaining that the board should have pulled them years ago. (Understand I’m not saying that I necessarily agree; I’m just referring to an argument that I’ve heard over and over and over the last few years.)

      • I think one of the current problems with the Dixie Melody Boys is that they are not keeping fresh and releasing new material. The last several years has not brought anything new from the Dixie Melody Boys.

      • The Dixie Echoes do not really produce new material either, but they are on the stage.

      • The Dixie Echoes are putting out new projects every year with new songs or songs so old with a fresh sound to them that they sound new. Plus they have a lot more energy, much stronger drawing power…and…wait for it…Stewart Varnado is one of the owners of the NQC! Three reasons why the Dixie Echoes ARE on and the Dixie Melody Boys are NOT.

      • Daniel:
        I kind of feel like I’m in a “church” squabble here about what kind of music we all want. Anyone else getting that feeling? Or am I splitting hairs, here? And, could you give us the actual lineup of who’s going to be at the NQC this year, please? Thanks!

  8. We has the Voices of Lee at our church a couple of months ago, and they are awesome. They come to our church about once a year and really seem to enjoy being here since Chattanooga is only around 30 minutes from their campus. Our music minister’s youngest daughter sings in with them.

    • That should have read, “We have the Voices of Lee…” Sorry about the typo.

  9. NQC is less and less becoming a force in the industry, and more of just another yearly event where another random bunch of groups goes to sing. The quartets are the minority now in the event that bares the name “quartet”, and the music and uniqueness that once made Convention an awesome event is fading.

    Of course they should have cut a bunch of groups, but let’s be honest, NQC is not really a talent-based event anymore. If it were actually talent-based, then about 15 more groups would have been taken off the performance list. Some of the most overrated groups have 3 nights on convention, more than just the ones mentioned here. The Dixie Melody Boys still have a very strong vocal lineup and they have been exed. But so have really strong musical groups like The Lesters and Southern Sound.

    More legends keep getting thrown under the bus. It’s no surprise to see Gerald Williams and the Melody Boys gone again…they’ve been pushed and shoved around there for years. Same with Naomi. Lily Fern is just spending her money by showing up there. The Couriers, who can still sing well and have been real well-received there, are gone too. And Ed O’Neal should just either find some productive dates that week, or take a nice vacation and play some golf. Either way he don’t have to pay for that booth. Our legends aren’t really welcome there anymore anyway.

    And how can groups keep spending their money to come to NQC year after year? Some groups are making the same $500 for mainstage appearances that they were making in 1960.

    With that all said, NQC is what it is. Will it still be a decent program? Probably…it’s not been really excellent in 40 years, but some of it will still be worth watching. Will any of these factors effect the crowd? Naah. Granted, the crowd’s been dwindling anyway, but NQC is an experience. Gold City or the Hoppers are not the only reasons people go, they go for the whole experience.

    NQC is just another big concert…maybe a little bigger than the rest, but it’s just another concert, and its becoming more evident every year. I’ll stick a little closer to home and attend Grand Ole Gospel and any other good events I can make my time for. The cruises are good. Brumley would be great, a little far and probably not likely, but it’d be great. The Diplomats host some real good ones over in Georgia. I’ll just stay here.

    • Via the Consumer Price Index, $500 in 1960 = $3581.73 in 2009.

  10. personally i think it’s a shame that DMB is not on the mainstage. same goes for the ball brothers and soul’d out quartet. if i’m right, the ball brothers were up for horizon award 3 times and soul’d out quartet finally won it last year. what’s the point of the award if you get demoted after winning? i’m not big on voices of lee, browns, and tribute being on there over the DMB, BB, and sou’ld out. all in all, that’s my opinion.

    • The Fan Awards and the NQC are run by two entirely separate organizations, and the Fan Awards aren’t even handed out at NQC anymore.

    • Soul’d Out got a good response last year—mildly surprised that they’ve been dropped completely this year.

  11. By it’s very nature of being a college group, no group has more lineup changes than Voices Of Lee. It’s more a matter of whether line-up changes maintain or add quality.

    Squire Parsons was scheduled to appear on the main stage in 2010, but I think this may be the first year for the Browns.

  12. I really enjoy going to NQC. My whish list for them though, is get the soloist and so many trios off the main stage, or change the name of the convention. A quartet is four people. So put DMB back on and remove a soloist or trio. Just a thought.

  13. I would personally like to see more quartets, but love Greater Vision and Booth Brother, etc. I could live without the solo artists on main stage and enjoy them more in a showcase.

    So disappointing about DMBs. Pretty low if you ask me. I do not think a group deserves a main stage spot just b/c of the name they carry, but DMB is still a strong and entertaining group.

    I like Collingsworth Family quite a lot, but how did their popularity grow so much? They are quite the talk and have a loyal following to be one of the newer groups on main stage. Just wondering what other people’s thought are…

    I’m still looking forward to NQC :)

    • Let me put it this way Stacy: Last year, a lot of people complained about the quality of the music at NQC, but the Collingsworth family was one of the few artists everyone could agree was stellar, night after night.

      That might help explain why they got three nights this year.

      • Ahhh, I missed NQC last year, but plan to be there this year. That is interesting. I wish them all the best!

  14. HisSong was also cut this year.

  15. This topic is going to get good! I wish Daniel would let all the replies be seen! LOL I bet his finger is really bulking up from hitting the delete button so many times on this one!

    That being said the 2010 NQC was the worst I have ever attended! I don’t want to over spiritualize things, but I felt a strong demonic presence in that place like never before.
    Any of you Christians that sang on the main stage please let us know if you felt that way as well!

    Thankfully Ernie pulled Mark, Danny, Gerald, Scott up and they sang together showing that it is possible to have “humility” and sing SGM, and not come off “FAKE” This was the only fond memory that I have of the “Main Stage.” Which took the crown back from GVB as the “BEST IN SHOW” who won it in 2009 without a doubt!

    • Eh? What’s that you say? A strong demonic presence? Last I checked, mediocre gospel music sung badly a strong demonic presence does not make. And even the mediocre part probably got stretched out of proportion.

  16. You’re right it was probably just me.

    • I don’t want to be unnecessarily confrontational, but I do believe it was just you.

      Are there a few hypocrites, who to one extent or another don’t live what they believe? Yeah, a few, in all likelihood.

      Yet, with working in the industry, I’m having the chance to know more performers as personal friends, and let me assure you that there are many out there, by far the majority, who live what they believe.

      Of course, I’m not saying they’re perfect. I’m not perfect – sometimes I struggle with laziness instead of my exercise routine, just to name one – and I doubt you’re perfect, either. But most SG performers are genuinely Christians out there with the mission of spreading the Gospel.

      • I never said anything about “hypocrites” and I never said anything about anyone being perfect.

        I did say that I felt a strong “demonic presence” and I don’t think the atmosphere was “Holy Spirit” charged. All I want to know is, if those who were on the main stage had “LIBERTY.” (2 Cor 3:17) From my view point it sure seemed to be an issue. Was there no “LIBERTY” if not why? Please don’t give me the new stage set-up excuse that doesn’t effect the Spirit of the Living God, but rejection of the Word of God surely will!

      • I think that you’re being really subjective, and I think the more you say, the worse you look. So I would suggest, as a friendly bit of advice, that you keep your thoughts to yourself.

      • I don’t think he’s trying to blame the artists so much as saying that … the difficult part is figuring out what you ARE saying, sop ;) but I think you’re suggesting that it may have been very difficult for the artists themselves.
        However, I can’t figure out who you’re saying rejected the Word; that does come off as a little accusatory, in case you were wondering. :)

      • Uh, SOP, I think there’s a huge gap in your reasoning: You see, having codes of conduct does not necessitate rejecting the Word of God – and having no codes of conduct at all does not guarantee that the Word of God will be proclaimed.

      • Once again, I’m simply asking if there was “FREEDOM” in the Spirit on the main stage? That’s all I’m asking, from anyone who sang.

        Daniel and NewSoGoFan I don’t understand why you both seem to be taking this question like a personal attack? It’s not, I’m just worried about the current state of SGM, and I know you both are as well.

        Thank you Amy, I’m not calling out any artist, or group I just wonder if they had “FREEDOM” on stage? That’s all. If there was praise God! If not, then why?

      • SOP, it’s all in the way you say things. If you accuse someone of rejecting the Word of God, that is an incredibly serious charge.

      • Let me answer your question with a simple “yes”. I felt a great sense of freedom every time I walked on the platform at last year’s NQC…count-down-clock not withstanding.

  17. They pulled the skyline boys from main stage also.

  18. Whatever happened to The Reggie Staddler Family. Are they still singing? Glad to see The Browns on the main stage.

    • The Staddlers? Well, they retired a few years back and Jimmy Fortune started a solo career. ;)

    • They are still touring. Here is another example of ‘why aren’t they at NQC’.

  19. Hey quartet-man wrong group. Bev was talking about the Reggie Saddler family not the Statler Brothers.

    • Byron, I knew that and knew the different spelling. I was just making an attempt at humor. That is why I put the wink after it.

  20. To be honest, the last few times I went to NQC, I did not even go into the concert hall except for a few performances here and there. I watched the majority of it from the exhibition hall. Since I haven’t been able to make it down more than one night of the week for the last few years, I try my best to get around the booths instead.

    Each year, however, it becomes less and less of a thrill.

  21. It still upsets me that Dixie Melody Boys won’t be back on the main stage. Why does it seem that every year there are more and more individual singers on the main stage. While I love their singing I just feel that it takes away from other Quartet’s from being there. Maybe they could do a showcase with just all of the individual singers.

  22. I understand that this is somewhat about $$$$. They have to get people in the seats. NQC is also for the artist that travels 250/300 dates per year~Southern Gospel…to end up at NQC~The Highlight of the Year!” HisSong was cut.This is crazy to cut groups that have current radio success to add in groups that have NEVER charted a song EVER…How about the groups like the Pfeifers, they`re OK, not 3 nights good~sorry! The Browns?? I do think it is unfair to pull charting group for ones that aren`t!! Oh yes, people don`t come to NQC to be sung to by one…There is NOOnE thats better than a trio or quartet. Soloist belong in a showcase or something else. Nqc has seriously gone down hill!!

  23. I think the biggest prob with NQC is who gets cut or who got added. It’s the fact that the board members booked Sarah palin and wasted 100,000$ for her to speak no more than 2 hrs?? Come on really?? What [EDIT] has she ever done for gospel music except maybe listen to it once in a Blue moon, there was NO BUSINESS. For her being there [EDIT] Now you answer me this! Was it really worth it? NQC is for gospel music. Not [EDIT] [EDIT]

    • I’m not sure where you got your figure, but you are WAAYYYY off base.

  24. Face it NQC is not what it was in it’s heyday. Personally I don’t like seeing all those soloists on the stage, I go to a National Quartet Convention to see and hear quartets not soloists. There are other places where they can sing, but for me NQC is about Quartets. I don’t recall all this hoopla back when the Statesmen, Blackwood Brothers, and Stamps were the main groups at the NQC.

    • They also had the Couriers, The Rangers Trio, and The Speer Family back in those days…trios and mixed groups, as well as male quartets. I like it all… if it’s good.

  25. I read these posts with a vague interest. One of the great things about Gospel music to me is if The Lord puts a song in your heart and calls you to a life of service he will find you a place to sing. It’s when we confuse popularity with ministry that things get cloudy. There is nothing wrong with having a hit song or a high profile advertising campaign, but if when your popularity wanes, and you find your self in the clearance rack, that is when you will find out the real reason why you sing. If you sing for the love of seeing how it effects peoples lives, then you can find joy even in getting “rotated” of some stage. These are the hardest times this music has ever faced and we need to stick together, but even if we don’t, If God is for us, who can be against us. It really is better when God supplies all your needs and not some board of directors.

    • So true.

    • You are exactly right. Singing on the evening program at NQC is not evidence of the Lord’s “stamp of approval” on your ministry.

  26. Oh and by the way, The Hoopla was there, we just did not have the internet to help the word get around. It stayed mostly back stage and on the bus, where it should probably be worked out any way instead of online

  27. I wonder if there’s a way that set lengths could be altered based on how many nights the artist will be on mainstage.

    For example, I think the current set limit is 17 minutes. Would it be a bad idea to see the following:

    1 night: 20 minutes
    2 nights: 15 minutes
    3 nights: 10 minutes

    Not a perfect idea, I understand. But I don’t think its fair for 1-night groups to have the same set length as 3-night groups. This still doesn’t make it even, but its closer than it currently is.

    • Some groups are more popular than others. More popular groups should have more time on the main stage than less popular groups.

      Any plan to make it an equal opportunity breakdown can only result in making every hour an amateur hour with only a few, too short appearances by the groups people actually want to see.

      • Thats a good point. Well said.

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