Friday, September 28, 2007

Covington, KY

We had to leave early for Covington on Monday morning. Dave Frederick, my esteemed brother-in-law, promoted the concert and he was scared to death. You just have to know Dave. He's not a glass half-empty type of guy; he's more like an empty glass person. He did a fantastic job at promoting the concert, but told me that he wasn't sure if anyone would show up. When he arrived, I asked him if he had worn his brown pants. He told me that he hadn't been sleeping well and that his blood pressure was sky-rocketing. There was definitely some stress going on! It was quickly relieved, though, as people started showing up. We ended up having a great crowd. I knew that Dave would make it happen, and he did.

Assurance, an old GBS quartet, opened up for us and sounded great. Martha Miller, my esteemed piano teacher, played for them and did a wonderful job. Dan helped the guys get a sound check and came out to the bus shaking his head. "These guys are great! They're definitely the best group that's ever opened for us." I used to work with Brandon Mills and Mike Mater in one of their quartets when I was still at GBS. They have done so well. I was proud of them!

We had a lot of fun singing! We debuted some new songs off of our new recording "Timeless, Treasured Hymns, Vol.2". I think the album is going to be a best-seller for us. We did a mix of old and new songs and just thoroughly enjoyed our time there.

Jack Hooker, my former boss at GBS, was the emcee for the concert. He needs to do that more often. He's good. It was great to see him again. Speaking of bosses, Ray McCrary and his fam: Lenea, Marissa, and two of the incredible Grace Teens, Tosh and Darnelle, showed up. Doran and I both worked with Ray at Grace Bible Church. We're cousins, but more like brothers.

There were so many friends at the concert that night, that I'm going to get in trouble if I start naming all the names. I do have to shout out to all my old Immanuel Church of the Nazarene friends, John, Carolyn, Ernie, Cathy, Charlie, Cathy, Emmett, Kathy (a lot of Cathys at the church), Webb, Kate, and everybody else. Also, one of my mentors came to hear us; my youth pastor, Monte Stetler. There are few people who have had more of an influence in my life than Monte and Connie. It was so good to see him again. The dude never ages! Then, Bryan Potteiger, my old Allegiance buddy was there. I didn't even see him until after the concert was over. I would have pulled him up on stage to sing "Great Day" with us. That was the old Allegiance foot-stomper.

Of course, I enjoyed being with Dave, Char, David, Ank, Alicia, and Christy. I've been blessed with the greatest in-laws. We actually like to be together! Go figure!

Once again, I forgot to bring in my camera. However, my faithful sister-in-law, Char, was supposed to send me some pics that she took. I'm still waiting...Anyway, here are just a few pictures from the evening:

I had fun shooting the breeze with Jack and Jane Hooker. Usually, when Jack and I are together there's a lot of hot air blowing around.
I stole this picture from Char's blog. She won't send them to me, so I have to do what I can to provide you with the latest in Liberty pictures. She could have refrained from posting this one, though.

It's so nice to be able to pose for pictures with famous people, such as Char. I stand in awe of you, Charlotte.

Dad, Ray, Darnelle, Lenea, Marissa, and Tosh pose while Cathy, Jim, and I lean in.

Notice how I'm showing up in every picture? Jeremy Leach, Nathan Dahler, Liz Charlton (soon to be Dahler), Dan, me, Brandon Hilligoss, Nathan Gumbiner, and Emilie Leach (from right, clockwise).

Doran and Trish and Jonathan Makcen. Unfortunately, I missed this photo op.

But I made it to this one, along with Doran's in-laws, Cathy and Jim.

I just wonder what is going through Jonathan's mind right here. This was after Royce had the bean soup and Frisco sandwich. That can't be pretty.

Roanoke, VA

Saturday, we flew into Charlotte, NC to pick up our bus. We had left it at a hotel where our main man, Frankie Goodson of the Goodson Bus Company did a little repair on the two windshields. Well, actually he replaced them. So, we were able to leave for Roanoke, VA the next morning actually seeing where we were going. I have to back up, though. We didn't have a chance to grab anything to eat between our flights on Saturday, so by the time we arrived in Charlotte we were famished. The driver for the hotel who picked us up at the airport (and who also, incidentally, moonlights as a NASCAR driver; this we deduced from his erratic, FAST driving) told us that the only restaurant open in the vicinity of our lodging was Waffle House. Royce and Dan had never partaken of the delectable offerings of this particular culinary establishment (those words have never before been used to describe Waffle House), so we dropped in for a bite. It had been 11 years since I last visited a Waffle House. I think it was in the fall of 1996 that Matt Barnett and I started going to the Covington, KY Waffle House at like 1:30 AM to watch the comedy provided by all the drunks who stumbled in. Anyway, I digress. For all of my misgivings and smart-aleck comments, this turned out to be a clean, friendly restaurant; a fine example to all other Waffle Houses. However, Waffle House isn't known for their low-fat, no-grease menu items, so by the time we turned in for the night (around 12:30 AM Sunday), we had all that food in our system. Let's just say that influenced the rest of our trip...ahem, Royce.

Anyway, the next morning we hit the road for Copper Hill, VA and had an uneventful trip, other than Royce's shock that the east has mountains too. We got in around 4:45 PM to the concert location, a campground in the middle of nowhere. Lori and I were the song evangelists at this camp back in 2001, so it was nice to get back and see so many of our friends. They have done a lot of work on the campground and it is so much nicer than it used to be, even though I told them that I really missed the bus seats in the back of the tabernacle. There were several churches who were part of the concert. Jeff Keaton, pastor at Roanoke House of Prayer, hosted the concert and did a fantastic job along with all the other pastors of promoting the event. My pastors, Dave and Julia Keep, were formerly the associate pastor at the Roanoke House of Prayer, so everybody wanted to make sure that they said hi. So, Dave and Julia, "Hi from Roanoke."

It was so awesome to see some of our family there. Lori's aunt, Pearl, and cousins Dale, Karen, and Dusty drove down to see us. It was so good to see them again. It had probably been 3 or 4 years since we had last been together. And then, my cousins, Randy and Esther Burton (Esther and I on the left), showed up. They go to Jeff's church in Roanoke (as of last April). I think it had been 17 or 18 years since I had last seen them. I've lost quite a bit of hair since then. Scary.

So many of my friends were at the concert including Troy Keaton, Dan Coy, Ian and Patti, Steve and Dottie Roberson, the Feazells, Steve Parker, Andrew Graham, and a lot of other people that I know I'm forgetting. Unfortunately, I didn't have as much time to spend with them as I would have liked. Dan Coy and Lincoln Bryant, fellow youth pastors, have started a church just for teens. That night over 80 teens showed up for the concert. Awesome! Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera in, so you just have to take my word for it.

Just a great night.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Coming soon

Stay tuned for pictures and commentary on the last leg of our eastern tour. It's been a blast so far!

Liberty on YouTube

I think this was taken from a concert in Fremont, NE. We're officially big-time. When bootleg videos show up on youtube you know you have arrived.