This live blog will be updated through the night.
Moment of the Night
Jeff & Sheri Easter, “Thank You Lord for Your Blessings on Me.” Jeff Easter’s mother passed away five weeks ago; it was already a special moment when Jeff dedicated the song to his father, but when his father came on stage to sing the second verse . . . there aren’t quite words to capture the moment. It takes a deep faith to sing those words in public just a month after losing a wife of more than fifty years.
Runner-up: Mark Trammell Quartet, whole set. A delightful and perfectly paced tribute to the Cathedral Quartet. Mark didn’t say it was a tribute, but he didn’t need to—it stood on its own.
Second runner-up: Chris Allman’s unflappability (see Christmas segment).
Christmas Segment (10:22)
Set List: Love Me Some Snow (Crist Family); It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Greater Vision); I Wonder as I Wander (Matthew Holt); Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child (Triumphant Quartet); Away in a Manger (Talleys); I Wanna Hear the Angels (Hoppers); Joy to the World (Legacy Five); Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel (Greater Vision); Hallelujah Chorus (Jeff Stice piano solo); Silent Night (audience)
Highlights: The gigantic red Santa Claus hat which one of Gerald Wolfe’s sons slipped onto his head mid-song! It was also amazing to see Chris Allman sing a pitch-perfect performance of his song despite holding a stack of brightly presents stacked so far above his head that one slipped off and hit his head toward the end. That’s how good he is.
The acapella rendition of “Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel,” also by Greater Vision, was perfect.
Booth Brothers (10:02)
Set List: Look For Me at Jesus’ Feet; Welcome to the Family; She Still Remembers; Since Jesus Came; Trading This Old Cross for a Crown
Highlights: An all-live rendition of “Look for Me at Jesus’ Feet” with Whisnants pianist Eric Ollis on piano.
Set List: King Jesus is Coming; Be Not Afraid; Ready to Leave; All is Well; New Day Dawning.
Highlights: Consistently strong throughout; it’s hard to pick a moment that stood head and shoulders above the others.
Showcase Spotlight (9:37)
Voices Won sang “I Was There When it Happened.” They haven’t had a breakthrough hit to move them into the top tier, but they have the tight sibling harmonies to stand out if they get that big song.
Mark Trammell Quartet (9:09)
Set List: Wedding Music; Old Convention Song; Gentle Shepherd; It’s Almost Over.
Highlights: They walk on stage to the strains of “Wedding Music,” and the audience goes crazy. Well, okay, this is NQC, and given the average age, they don’t go crazy, but they definitely welcome it appreciatively! Gerald Wolfe joins on piano for the set.
It was a brilliantly paced and delivered set of Cathedrals songs. Much like a Cathedrals set, almost all the songs were completely live; the closing song had a track. It left the audience on their feet.
(Pat Barker: As to your looks, you look better than I do, but you sing better than you look!)
Click “more” for the rest of the coverage: