Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day 9, 2010

A wonderful, emotional and jam-packed day! This morning, the whole student body recorded many of the songs we've been working on for a CD that will be available. We began soundchecking and rehearsing about 8:30, began actually recording at 9:30, and finished our 18th song by 12:07pm!

Enjoyed lunch in the cafeteria with Allison Speer. She's a great friend and mentor and has a lot of wonderful ideas That's why she and her husband, Brian, are both on the GospelFest Ministries advisory board.

Back in the mid 1930's, a group of brothers teamed up to form one of the longest-lasting groups and one of the most recognizable names in southern gospel music: the Blackwood Brothers. After lunch today, we were treated to a wonderful concert from the Blackwood Brothers Quartet, featuring James Blackwood's sons, Jimmy and Billy. They have the classic Blackwood sound and sang with two mics and piano. They were the best group we've heard and seen so far at this year's school.

When Dad Speer's health began to decline in the mid 1960's, a young band teacher from West Virginia was hired to sing with the Speer Family. He later went on to become their arranger and is an excellent songwriter, writing classics like "I'm Standing on the Solid Rock," "Touring That City," and "The Next Time He Comes." The great Harold Lane is now in a nursing home east of Nashville, suffering from Parkinson's Disease. Following the afternoon class, a group of about 18 of us faculty and staff traveled to the nursing home to sing some songs for Harold and the other residents. We sang many songs written by Harold and it was such a joy to be able to sing them to him. For the past several years, he hasn't known too many people when they would visit and can't speak. Today, his foot was tapping, he raised his arms a little as if directing us and tried to made some noise as if singing. We were all in tears as Ben walked over to him and took his hands and sang these words to him. Words that were written by 'H,' as he was affectionately known, almost 30 years ago seem so fitting for him today.

You've been so good to me through years gone by;
For this I thank You, Lord, on You I can rely;
Now, dear Lord, I ask You,
Lord, please hear my heart's cry
And bless me, Lord,
bless me, Lord,
don't pass me by.

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