Hall of Fame event partners with National Quartet Convention

For many years I served as an advisor to the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame and Museum Board of Directors. That to me was one of the greatest opportunities to serve those who made an impact on my life with their careers in music by being part of recognizing their contributions. For many years we hosted an annual award ceremony event at Dollywood where the museum is visited by folks from around the world.

A few years ago, SGMA re-established its partnership with the National Quartet Convention, moving the inductee presentations as part of the annual event in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., marking its 60th Anniversary this year.

The NQC and SGMA have announced a new partnership to present the SGMA Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Benefit Concert to be held on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 during the afternoon at the LeConte Convention Center in Pigeon Forge, TN.

The program will honor the 2017 SGMA Hall of Fame class of inductees Troy Burns, LaBreeska, Hemphill, Randy Shelnut, and Tony Greene. I want to applaud the SGMA for the recognition of these talented artists. Personally, I am glad to see my friends Randy Shelnut of the Dixie Echoes and Troy Burns of the Inspirations receive the honor.

The show will also feature special performances by the Jim Brady Trio, the Hoppers, the Kingdom Heirs, Karen Peck & New River, the Second Half Quartet, the Guardians, Triumphant, the Whisnants, and Tribute.

My longtime friend and encourager SGMA Hall of Fame member Dr. Jerry Goff will be serving as master of ceremonies.

The event will serve as a benefit for the SGMA Hall of Fame and Museum, which is located at the main entrance of Dollywood. The SGMA Hall of Fame and Museum features many important pieces of memorabilia and historic artifacts of Southern Gospel Music history.

“We are so grateful to the NQC Board of Directors for partnering with us to help keep the vision of the SGMA alive, “said Arthur Rice, SGMA President. “This special event will be our biggest fundraiser of the year. Many of the legends who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame will be present to participate in the concert. Having all these artists in one place, at one time, onstage…will be one of the highlights of the convention.”

Admission is $20, the same price as all of the other NQC Showcase Spectaculars, and can be purchased at or on site at NQC. The event  Tuesday, September 26, 2017 from 1–3 p.m. at the LeConte Convention Center in Pigeon Forge. You can attend just this event or buy tickets for any other NQC events at Learn more about the SGMA at

Pickin’, singin’ and a lot of grinnin’

While America’s media concentrated upon candidate negatives and battles in community streets, I was honored to spend some amazing hours away from these talking heads and among some of our country’s most amazing people.

They had not gathered over political policies, perceived injustice had not placed them on opposite sides of a demonstration.

Music had brought them together, from seniors to children, black, white, brown, and all shades in between, representing races and people from countries around the world. I stood in the hallways of the Raleigh Convention Center in North Carolina and its neighboring hotel, listening to various languages being spoken as they prepared to jam playing yet another tune or sing another song.


Randall Franks and Grand Ole Opry star Del McCoury pause backstage at the IBMA Awards Show.

They held banjos, fiddles, mandolins, guitars, and basses among others. They sang songs from the repertoire of Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, Jim and Jesse, the Stanley Brothers, Alison Krauss, Doyle Lawson and many others.

The International Bluegrass Music Association World of Bluegrass including their annual awards filled thousands of people’s faces with smiles and the hearts with a song. While there was a long list of artists who went away smiling holding awards which makes them the leading of their genre in the coming year, the greatest smiles were on the musicians which simply came to jam and make new friends.

Some key winners were The Earls of Leicester, Entertainer of the Year; Becky Buller, Female Vocalist; Danny Paisley, Male Vocalist; Flatt Lonesome, Vocal Group of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year; Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, Instrumental Group of the Year; and Mountain Faith, Emerging Artist.

Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers took the Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year with “All Dressed Up.” Guitarist Clarence White and Rounder Record founders Ken Irwin, Marian Leighton-Levy and Bill Nowlin were inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame.

Distinguished Achievement Awards were presented to Bluegrass Unlimited magazine; Boston Bluegrass Union; Bill Emerson; Jim Rooney and SiriusXM’s Bluegrass Junction.

Learn more at

When I left the IBMA event, I made my way to the National Quartet Convention in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.


Randall Franks visits with Mark (right) and Kenneth Bishop at National Quartet Convention in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

Once again I found thousands gathered, smiles on their faces, and a song in their heart as the brightest stars of gospel music shared their latest songs and the biggest hits.

The Singing News awarded this year’s leading performers and the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame inducted their latest honorees. Some of the winners were Ivan Parker, Favorite Soloist;

Goodman Revival, Favorite New Artist; Kingdom Heirs Band, Favorite Band; Collingsworth Family, Favorite Mixed Group; Booth Brothers, Favorite Trio; and Triumphant Quartet, Favorite Traditional Quartet.

Among the new SGMA Hall of Famers were Carroll McGruder, Lari Goss, Peg McKamey Bean, and Ronny Hinson. Music agent Ed Harper was presented the Southern Gospel Music Guild Lifetime Achievement Honor.

Fans visited with their favorites and enjoyed an uplifting song-filled experience that will continue in Pigeon Forge annually for several more years. Find out more at visit

New quartet convention – worth the trip

When the evening air begins to cool, my thoughts move towards visiting the mountains. This year I took advantage of going to Pigeon Forge, Tenn. to take in the National Quartet Convention in its new home at the LeConte Center there after moving from Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky.

I must say I was greatly impressed by the atmosphere of the facility, the lodge feeling of the interior and the closeness to the artists that the booths allowed. It seemed less like an exhibit area and more like visiting with the artists in a well-decorated mountain retreat.

Read more

The faith of Palin

Bluegrass gospel music filled the Freedom Hall Expo Center in Louisville, Ky. for over two hours before the annual 2010 National Quartet Convention turned its focus on one of the leading political figures since 2008 – Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
The former Republican candidate for United States vice president stood before thousands of gospel music fans and shared her personal thoughts about faith, family and our country. Read more