Final Review Of NYE Celebration-Legacy Five, The Collingsworth Family, Triumphant Quartet, Freedom Singers
I am back home after one of the best weekends of Gospel music that I have ever experienced! God really moved on Saturday night, and it made for the best concert I have ever attended. Saturday morning featured the Freedom Singers giving their stirring testimony and some unique Romanian accented singing. Saturday night as mentioned above featured L5, The Collingsworth Family and The Triumphant Quartet. Below is a breakdown of how the day went, starting with Saturday Morning. Also included is a quick synopsis of Sunday mornings closing event.
Freedom Singers- The Freedom Singers have a very unique and spell binding testimony of Gods wonderful grace and mercy. They shared some of that with us on Saturday morning, and sang a few songs. They have a very good blend when singing in ensemble… Their thick accents make them a little hard to understand when one of them does a solo, but you can tell they are really enjoying doing what they do; and they ar enjoying their freedom to share their story/testimony. They sang about six songs, I don’t remember all of the titles since I lost my notes from that concert; but two songs that really stood out were “Come Make A Place” and “Because He Lives” I encourage everyone that can to check these guys out if they are anywhere near you. They will stir you, and bless you with their singing and amazing testimony.
Saturday Night: Saturday night was the highlight night of the weekend for me. I had really been looking forward to seeing the Collingworth Family again, along with Triumphant. One thing that struck me about the three groups (L5 included) was that they all feature great musicians (Tim Parton, Kim Collingsworth, and Jeff Stice) maybe the three best currently in Southern Gospel (as far as pianists go) so that alone was worth the price of admission. The singing was great as always from all three groups. And below I will give the highlights from each groups set.Ken Davis was also included, and I will say this… He had everyone laughing non stop for his entire set he is bar none the funniest Christian comedian I have EVER heard…
Triumphant Quartet: This was the first time since 2004 that Triumphant had been a part of one of L5′s celebration events. I have to say that they really brought IT throughout their entire set, as they always do. Below is a song by song breakdown of their set.
- Saved By Grace- This song is a great song to kick off a concert with; TQ sang it with a ton of passion and energy there was a around at the end, that went over very well; I am usually not a big fan of a group turning around their opening song, but it worked here… Scotty Inman in particular gave this one his all. His progression/growth as a singer has been a marvel to behold over the last few years.
- Love Came Calling- This song is pretty much the polar opposite of the last one as far as energy level. I loved the delivery that Scotty Inman gave this song, he sings it with a precision and care that few singers can match on a song in this vein. I also love the harmony between he and David Sutton on the first verse. I have to say that this song was the highlight of their set for me.
- Don’t Let The Sandals Fool Ya- They did this one with piano only, and while it worked I actually prefer the track on this particular song.
- Look For Me- Eric Bennett delivered this song beautifully, he is really good at delivering and communicating a slow pondering lyric like this one. I was also impressed with how tenor David Sutton ended the song, he stayed on pitch and didn’t over-sing like some tenors try to do when given an ending to a song…
- Forgave Me, Saved Me, Raised Me- They had fun with this song for sure, especially David Sutton. He may have had to much fun with this one…
- Goodbye World Goodbye- Jeff Stice and David Sutton did a piano/harmonica duet on this number. It brought the crowd to their feet for the first time of the night. Yes it was that good…
- Old White Flag- Clayton Inman was coming off hip replacement surgery on December 7th and had a cane on Saturday night. Well he usually goes crazy on the stage on this song; you would think considering his situation he wouldn’t have this time… well… He did anyway cane and all; You would think it was the first time he had ever sung this song. The crowd never fails to eat this one up with their hankies a waving.
- Down From His Glory- Jeff Stice showed on this number just why he has been voted favorite musician the last three years. Jeff is not only a great musician (though he does tend to overplay just a bit now and then) but he is stage performer. He knows just what buttons to push. He is a professional in every sense of the word.
- He’ll Pilot Me/William Tell Oveture- Few musicians can merge a Southern Gospel song with classical song like Jeff Stice… (actually all three of the aforementioned pianists there that night can do this very well) But with this one, Jeff really knocked it out of the park without a mistake.
- Moving Up To Gloryland- TQ closed with this number and had a ton of fun doing it… They mixed a little comedy routine in with this one involving David Sutton and his tenor line…
TQ OVERALL: As I mentioned above TQ really brings a ton of energy to the stage every night, and Saturday was no exception to that rule. I you ever get the chance to see them in concert I highly recommend that you go, and you won’t be let down you will see why they were the favorite quartet last year SN fan awards.
The Collingsworth Family- Scott Fowler introduced The Collingsworth Family by stating that they when they were at this event two years ago that they received the strongest response of any group that they had that particular year; so he just had to bring them back. Well he did and they did not disappoint. Below like with TQ’s set is a song by song break down of their set.
- I Shall Not Be Moved- The entire family sings on this one and that always makes for some interesting blend and harmony from this great family group.
- Meeting In The Air- Kim played this old classic with class, and a flair that only Kim Collingsworth can provide…
- Holy Holy Holy- This one was sung all A Capella and WOW I have to say that it was very impressive, the arrangement they put on this beautiful hymn is quite stunning. It is one of those things you have to hear/see it to believe it.
- Tell Me About The Good Ole Days- This song featured Olivia and is a country flavored song that actually reminds me a little of Gold City’s “What Children Believe”. It is in a sort of first person mode with Olivia talking to her grandpa, asking him to tell her about the “Good Ole Days” Her siblings did a wonderful job being Olivia’s back up singers. This song went over very well.
- Fear Not Tomorrow- This song never fails to move me greatly. After what I have been through this past year this was the perfect song for the setting up of a new year. The three women (Kim, Brooke and Courtney) have such a beautiful blend that it just plain amazes me. They did an amazing job communicating this lyric to everyone of the 1300 people in the audience…
- I Know-This song featured Phil Jr. The song was written by Gerald Crabb specifically for the Collingsworth Family. It has a very good message to it that I love. Towards the end the lead was handed up to Brooklyn who handled the transition expertly. This song also has a built in turnaround that really added nicely to the live setting.
- Wonderful Grace Of Jesus- Brooklyn And Courtney were featured with their violins on this one. There was a little problem with the mics on the instruments; but they made it through it mic problems and all with crowd eating it up… These ladies have come a long way since their early years of playing those violins!
- My Tribute- Kim was featured on the piano on this one and WOW… I can’t really find the words to say how amazing she played this song. The crowd gave her around a five minute standing ovation, I believe that should tell you just how good it was… She is without a doubt one of the most gifted musicians that I have ever heard.
- Kim Testimony- Kim got up and gave a very stirring testimony about how God had led her family through a trying year in 2010. She told about how Phil had went through brain surgery just a few weeks ago; and how God had led just the right brain surgeon to them through what seemed like random connections at the time; but Though God was in it with them the entire way. Then they had gotten the chance to witness to the doctors and nurses by doing a concert for them a couple of weeks after the successful surgery.
- I Want Jesus More Than Anything- The closed with this song and it was the most powerful vocal performance from their entire set. I was very moved by their performance of this beautifully penned song. It was just what I needed to hear at that point in time without a doubt.
Collingsworth Family Overall: After Saturday night I was thinking this thought “Is there a more talented family group or any group for that matter in Southern Gospel right now?” I can’t answer that question fully; but I think you would be hard pressed to find one (when it comes to just overall talent)… I would encourage anyone that hasn’t heard this amazing family to go see them as soon as possible.
Legacy Five- L5 came up after a intermission and closed out the night with the best set I have ever heard them sing… They were just ON that night, and I have never heard them better. They had a very special guest join them onstage who had a story that Scott told, that had most everyone in tears… Read below to find out all the details. I will be doing this one a little more in story mode without the bullets.
Legacy Five came out and opened with what I feel is the best concert opening song ever… The song was “Strike Up The Band” and that really set the tone for the rest of the night. They went straight from there into the Dianne Wilkinson classic “Boundless Love” They really brought some energy on this one, and encored it without music.
Then the tears started flowing… The other guys left the stage and Scott brought a special friend up on stage with him, this friend was none other than little ten year old Hanna who was being raised Muslim, and through a miraculous set of circumstances her and her mom had met Scott at a Celebration event a couple of years ago. Scott had told them about Jesus at that event. Months later little Hanna accepted Christ into her hear to be her personal savior. You can quite a bit of her story here, here and here (these are blog posts by L5 about Hanna) Anyway Scott then went onto tell us that Hanna’s mom had also gotten saved just this past Thursday. Needless to say by this time there was not a dry eye in the room. Its a marvelous story that stretches from Nashville Tennessee to North Carolina (where Hanna lives with her parents) and then all the way to Pakistan. There was a story told of how Hanna had went to Pakistan with her family to visit relatives; they went to the Muslim mosque and when Hanna got to the door they asked her if she was Muslim and she said “No I am a Christian and I love Jesus so I will wait outside” needless to say Hanna’s family over there is not happy with her or Scott… Her uncle has even gone so far to to email Scott and tell him how displeased he was. Scott also said that a cousin of Hanna’s had been emailing him recently wanting to know more about Jesus. I think this is an amazing story of just how amazing God is… Hanna and her mom had ended up at that first event seemingly by accident while all the time it was being orchestrated by God himself.Continue to pray for Hanna and her mom as they take a stand for Christ against some pretty tough odds…
Scott used that story to set up their next song which was “Faithful To The Cross” Scott somehow pulled it off even through tears; the rest of the guys were struggling to contain their emotions as well. They were given a very strong standing ovation after that song. Scott then had them slow things down and sing “There’s Something About That Name” (I still say no group does it better) after which Scott had Glenn lead them out in a beautiful rendition of “I Will Serve Thee”. These songs were right in line with how the night had went so far and I when I thought it could not get any better, Scott pulled out his bible and set up the last song of the night. He read the resurrection story from Luke and said sometimes people just stop there and don’t really think about what is going to happen next. Then they started into my favorite all time Southern Gospel song “We Shall See Jesus”, I first saw them do this the Sunday after NQC last September. They did a good job that day but to be honest they were pretty wore down, and weren’t up to their highest level like they were on Saturday. Glenn did a fantastic job with his verses, and then Scott took it away on the third verse and knocked it out of the park. The crowd rose to their feet in unison as soon as they started into the chorus from there it was a breathtaking performance by L5. Tenor Gus Gaches in particular really hit his line with power and sheer force going up to a high C. It was the perfect conclusion to an incredibly encouraging night of Southern Gospel music.
On Sunday morning Ken Davis preached a very stirring and powerful message on living your life “Fully Alive” in 2011. Then L5 then came out and introduced their families. After which they sang about three songs, one of which was “Wedding Music” on which they brought in bus driver Gary Buckner to sing the bass part, he did a very solid job. Then L5 had a question and answer session with different people from the crowd asking them whatever they wanted to ask. Then Gus gave a personal testimony during which he named ME out by name, and had me acknowledged in a room full of people! Needless to say I was shocked that I had had an impact on his life. Gus then started singing “Peace When I Leave It In Your Hands” I don’t think I have heard it sung better. I have to say that Gus is one amazing guy, and one of the best tenors in the business; he is genuine and humble, you can’t get a better combination in a great singer. That could be said for all of the guys in L5, and all the other artists that performed this past weekend. They closed the weekend out with the song “Til We Meet Again” which was a very fitting song to close things out. If you ever get the chance to go to a Celebration event then please go. You will be uplifted, and totally refreshed and encouraged.