GAITHER VOCAL BAND HOMECOMING 2014
For the first time ever, I attended a wonderful night of gospel music, and was not disappointed! I had seen the Gaither Vocal Band on television, as well as many other groups and soloists under the legendary Bill Gaither music umbrella, and decided to see them live when they made a rare West Coast appearance at the Citizen’s Bank Arena in Ontario last Saturday. I am always attracted to great voices no matter what the musical genre, and this concert was chock full of them! Besides the fantastic Vocal Band, special guests included two southern Gospel family singing groups, the Martins, and the Isaacs. Incredible voices and harmonies! I especially loved the force-of-nature fireworks delivery of the Martins, and the heart-tugging purity of the Isaacs’ Buegrass/Appalachian influences. There were terrific soloists as well– the powerhouse mezzo-soprano Angela Primm, mellow basso-profondo Gene McDonald, and lilting soprano Charlotte Ritchie. Notable Vocal Band standouts are the newly-added Adam Crabb, and for sheer vocal beauty and power, my favorite, veteran Wes Hampton.
As great as the singing was, it was a disappointment to see only four live instrumentalists on the stage. They were supplemented by quite a bit of prerecorded music, and at times it got way too loud, a problem that seems to plague all concerts these days. But, the consistently high level of spectacular singing, the gentle humor and repartee between songs, the heartfelt commitment of all the singers to the expression of the lyrics— all totally outweighed these drawbacks. And– what a long show! After more than two hours of continuous performance, I thought the show was over. But– it was only intermission!
The second half found all the artists on the stage, for what felt like an old-time tent revival of even more gospel singing. Inspiring musically, vocally and spiritually, this was a night not to be missed! The lesson here– take a chance on something new. You can come away with a new appreciation for a genre of music that you never considered before, and beyond that, realize that there are great singers and great singing to be found in just about every genre of music!