Saturday, February 25, 2006

Got Game?

Is there anybody else that likes the game Sorry? This was the only game that the Waggoner family played when I was growing up. Seriously, I can't remember playing any other game as a kid with my Mom and Dad. I think that it's because it was the only game that Mom could potentially win. That's not a put-down, it's reality. So, tonight I bought the game for our family. This is a game that Lori theoretically can win.

She didn't tonight. Trey's determined focus (exemplified in the picture above) led him to 2 wins, while I took another. I guess Lori will stick to Dutch Blitz (the only game that she can beat me in).


My family is impressed with my computer skills. Except for Lori, of course. You don't see her in the picture, bowing in awe. Trey is catching on to operating the laptop. He likes to type words, any words, in no significant order. I guess that's kind of what I've been doing on the blog, so I might get him started. Kassady doesn't ever want to be left out of anything, so anytime Trey is playing a game she jumps up on the chair beside him (in this case, beside me). I'm going to enjoy the hero-worship as long as I can (at least until they find out the truth).

By the way, we sure have come a long way since the 286. Remember that one?

The Big Rig

Trey is very impressed with the fact that I'm traveling on a bus. He was dying to check it out, so I gave him the official tour. He's convinced that he will be a bus driver. Trust me, he can't be any worse than I am! Trey even has his own bunk on the bus. Anytime we are in the area, I'll take him with us. He thinks he's big stuff!

Catchin' Up

I have finally slept. This has been one of those incredibly full weeks that seem to fly by leaving you breathless and ill-prepared for the next. I didn't get home from the concert until late Wednesday evening. While I was still on somewhat of an adrenaline rush following the concert, my hyperactivity was tempered with the tragic news of Anthony Burger's heart attack. It kind of left me sick in the pit of my stomach. Anthony was 17 years old the first time I saw him in concert with The Kingsmen Quartet. It was in Kokomo, IN at a Nazarene Church. I was 4 and this was my first time at any type of concert. We went with Paul, Rose, and Tami Fry. I can faintly remember Anthony cranking it out at the keyboard. There's also a strong memory of an older lady who gave me a wintergreen Lifesaver. I don't know why that sticks with me, but it does. I hated to hear of Anthony's death. He was a rare talent.

Early Thursday morning I headed over to the hospital to be with a friend who was facing surgery. Fortunately, everything went as well as it could, but it left me extremely exhausted.

Last evening we had Allen, LaRona, Marc, and Talisha over to play games. Well, that's what we intended to do, anyway. But after eating pizza, hot wings, and all the other stuff that Lori prepared we collapsed in the living room and critiqued the latest Gaither Video: The Canadian Homecoming. By the way, it's a great video!

Last night, I crashed and slept in until 8:30 this morning, which is pretty good for me. This has been an easy day, nothing too major to do. I needed it.

I'm trying to figure out how to get video clips on my blog. Everytime I think I'm getting web-savvy I run into complications which keep me humble. Hopefully, I can get this figured out. I have some funny clips from our Tuesday rehearsal.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

It's been a while since I posted, but this has been an incredibly busy week. Last night was Liberty's 10th anniversary concert. We had a great turnout! A little over 1600 people enjoyed an evening of memories. It was a privilege to meet the founding members of the group and catch a glimpse of their passion for the minstry of Liberty Quartet.

This week I had to put the finishing touches on a video that was shown at the concert featuring clips from the archives. I also created the evening's media presentation. When you couple that with our set-up, rehearsal, and everything else, you understand why I haven't posted.

Doran is trying his hardest to have Royce make me the new "idiot" of the group. Fortunately, Royce isn't buying it. Doran is the best idiot we have!

Yesterday morning I woke up with an extremely sore throat. I had a feeling this was going to happen. On the way home from Arizona, one of the drivers inadvertantly switched on the bus A/C as we were traveling in 10 degree weather. Consequently, I woke up in the middle of the night, my bald head distinctly aware of the breezes wafting around it. I curled up into the fetal position, pulled the blanket completely over my head and did my best to ignore it. I finally got some sleep, but I also picked up a cold. I was pretty nervous about getting up and singing, but I survived.

Hopefully, I'll have some pics to post in the next couple of days. Until then, peace.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Finally, rolling down the road

Well, here we go. After my sumptous dining on Saturday afternoon, we made our way to Fountain City for an evening concert. I have to tell you, it's been a long time since I had this much fun. Royce broke me in immediately, ensuring that I was a part of the concert. However, I'm not sure I liked his intro.

He would start of by explaining that this was Paul's last weekend with the quartet. The audience was sigh loudly at that. Then he would say "However, God has been good, and we have found a new tenor." He then immediately asked, "How many of you have heard of the former tenor for Gaither Vocal Band, David Phelps?" At that, you could hear the audience start murmuring and exclaiming (I heard one lady say "Oh, my goodness. I can't believe it!"). He then quickly said, "Well, that's not who it is. I just wondered if you knew who David Phelps was." The audience would laugh as he introduced me as the new tenor. I'm not sure that I was being complimented. I don't know...

Fountain City, AZ

Saturday night we sang at the First Baptist Church of Fountain City, AZ. Fountain City is a suburb of Phoenix. I have never been to Arizona, so their landscaping was totally different than anything that I'm used to. I had never seen a real cactus out in the desert until this trip. It was pretty cool. We had a good turnout for the concert and the people seemed to enjoy our ministry.

Doran was in rare form tonight.

Paul and Dan get a mic check before the concert.

Doran finishes off the last traces of a chocolate chip cookie, one of 3 dozen generously given to the quartet by one of their fans. It's great getting to travel with one of my good friends. Doran and I had a lot of fun comparing playlists on our mp3 players and jamming to some of our favorite tunes. We're both audiophiles, generously praising and critiquing music, arrangements, voices, and lyrics. Fun stuff.

Flagstaff, AZ

The guys crank out a few numbers to the energized congregation of Flagstaff First Church of the Nazarene. We had a fantastic service and listened to a great message entitled "Marriage and Revival". Over dinner, I discovered that the pastor, Dr. Donald Minter used to pastor the Central Church of the Nazarene in Fort Wright, KY. In fact, the current pastor, Rev. Larry Dillon (a great friend of GBS), was called to the ministry during his pastorate there. Lori used to attend his church way back in the day when she first came to GBS. He knew a lot of the members of Immanuel Church of the Nazarene, where I previously served as worship director.

Small world.

I tentatively attempt my solo on "Hold to God's Unchanging Hand", my face reflecting my memory's difficulty of remembering the lyrics. My bright, bald head and obvious sense of fashion allowed me to communicate effectively and confidently to an audience who were silently musing "Why in the world did Liberty choose this guy?"

Prescott (AZ) First Baptist Church, site of our Sunday evening concert. We had a full house! A great time was had by all.

Live, in Concert

Here are a few pics from our Sunday evening concert in Prescott, AZ. I sang several songs in this concert. There were a few that they had all five guys sing. I just turned my mic off to hide the fact that I was totally screwing up the lyrics. There was one song that I had all turned around. I sang it 3 different ways in as many attempts. I also busted my first choreographed moves. It failed horribly. Except for that, everything went extremely well. The audiences were very gracious, overlooking my contrived lip-synching. Fortunately, for my own well-being, I didn't take a stab at humor. My humor moves audiences to facial immobility accompanied by silence. It encourages me greatly.

It was cool to meet people who told me that they would be praying for me and my ministry with the quartet. I'd never seen these men and women before, but already God had put me on their hearts. Amazing!

Doran's contributions

Doran is vainly trying to get me to be the new idiot of the group. But Doran is a natural in that role. He's so convincing. I hate to admit it, but he actually made me laugh. Fortunately, Doran has retired his Napolean Dynamite dance routine. Oh yeah, and his ballet moves. That was painful to witness.

Hard Workers Working Hard

Doran and Royce spent a lot of time on the bus preparing for Wednesday evening's 10th Anniversary Concert. The guys let Doran think that he's the mover and the shaker (actually he is the mover and the shaker). We have already distributed 1800 tickets for a venue that seats 1700, so it will be a full house. We also have several who couldn't get tickets, but are going to wait outside hoping that people don't show up for their seats. Trust me, we're not that good, people.

Maybe it will be like those people who camp out for 2 days trying to get tickets to a Rolling Stones concert. That would be great! I'd be sure to hand out Krispy Kreme donuts to the faithful. Maybe we are spawning the Southern Gospel version of the Deadheads. Now, there's a frightening thought! YES! We have arrived.

Meet Paul and then quickly file for a restraining order

This was the last weekend for Paul Ellis. As you can tell, life on the road has taken its toll. This was the first time that I've been able to spend time with Paul. He is one of the funniest guys I have ever been around. While I won't describe all of his practical jokes (Earl), let me put it to you simply: the guy is a maniac. He's naturally funny and has a hilarious comment for everything that takes place, whether in concert or on the road. He reminds me of Mike Dickinson (for my GBS classmates) without the heavy sarcasm. He is a fantastic tenor and he graciously helped break in the rookie replacement.

The Dam and Sin City

Last night, I had the privilege of witness two incredible sights: Hoover Dam and Las Vegas, NV. Now I say, Las Vegas, because we drove through the city at 1:30 or 2:00 AM and it was almost as bright as day. The famous Las Vegas "Strip" had more bright lights than I have ever seen in my life. They had all kinds of crazy incentives for potential gamblers. You could get a room at a fantastic hotel for $39 a night. There were also signs advertising all-you-can-eat buffets featuring prime rib, lobster, and all kinds of exquisite food for prices like $7.99. Unbelievable! It's easy to see why the call it the "Sin City". It's extremely sad to see the casino parking lots full of the cars of gambling addicts. Dan, who used to live in Las Vegas when he was a teenager, told me that the casinos don't have any clocks on the wall and they control the lighting so that there is no way to distinguish between night or day. They intentionally create an environment that encourages losing track of time. Crazy!

Hoover Dam was awesome! Of course, it was 1:00 in the morning when we crossed, but you could still see the immensity of this man-made wonder. The two pictures above were taken about half-way across. I was hoping to get a better shot but there aren't a lot of places spacious enough to allow the bus to pull over. You can see some better pictures at I couldn't see the bottom of the drop-off in the dark, but I can tell you that it was waaaaaayy down there.

It was a fun, wearying trip. The guys drove all night and we arrived in Boise about 1:00 this afternoon. I still have to get used to sleeping on the bus, but I did OK. I got about 6 hours of sleep. I could have slept a little bit longer, but I had Dan wake me up when we got close to Hoover dam. Actually, it was the inspections agent that got on the bus with his flashlight that woke me up. But, hey, overall it was a great weekend of ministry.

Thanks for your prayers!