Wednesday, October 12, 2016

National Quartet Convention Was a Blast! #NQC2016

Well, NQC (the National Quartet Convention) 2016 is in the history books, and it will go down as the best year yet, in my opinion. As some of you may know, our family loves Southern Gospel music, and we are good friends with many of the groups who sing full-time Gospel music. The biggest event - the "Granddaddy" event of this music - is the National Quartet Convention, which celebrated their 59th year (and 3rd year in Pigeon Forge) just a couple weeks ago. This was my 7th year attending the event, and I was very excited about it being held in Pigeon Forge again-my favorite vacation spot!

The beautiful LeConte Center
We arrived in Pigeon Forge Sunday afternoon, with just enough time to check in to the chalet we had rented, unpack, and get ready for the evening "bonus" concert. This was four and a half hours of some of the best groups in Gospel music, and a great kick-off for the week.

Monday morning allowed us some free time to get ready for the hectic week starting. That afternoon we attended the press conference held at the LeConte Center, where it was announced that NQC had signed for another five years in Pigeon Forge! We were thrilled at this news, as PF is our favorite area to visit and we had been worried the convention would be moving to another city.

Of course the NQC press conference ended with a song!
Monday evening was the real start to the NQC, and it was a super fast-paced and fun-filled week of the best music in the world, and fellowship with great friends! Every evening the concert started off at 5:30, and ran until 11:00 or even a little later. Mornings and afternoons there are special events to attend such as Chapel services with music and guest speakers, showcases featuring special lineups, and of course the Singing News Fan Awards one afternoon, where artists receive awards in various categories (favorite quartet, bass, tenor, lead, baritone, songwriter, song, album, etc.).

These guys are some of our favorites-Triumphant Quartet!

More favorites, Tribute Quartet!

The mighty Kingsmen Quartet!

With a schedule as packed and busy as ours was for the week, it was a much-needed blessing to see that LeConte had installed an actual Starbucks stand, with most of Starbucks' coffee drink selections available. We practically lived on Starbucks Doubleshots for the week! (In the spirit of honesty and full disclosure, I have to admit to consuming four of these a day at least two days that week). Several days we weren't able to run "home" for lunch or dinner, so we took advantage of the many food options. Nachos, pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, and Cinnabon cinnamon rolls are available to eat at all times of the afternoon and evening. Our personal favorite dinner while there is at the Paula Deen stand, where you can order a meal of pot roast, mashed potatoes, green beans and butter cake.

Starbucks! My second home for NQC week :)
Mercy with our (my) new favorite drink-Starbucks Iced Raspberry White Mocha!
The entire week of convention is wonderful, but as always there were some highlights for me. One of these was actually in the Saturday afternoon showcase, where we were able to see some different groups that either don't travel full-time, or don't come to our area that often. However, one of the best parts of NQC every year isn't even the actual music. It's being able to chat and fellowship with friends that we only get to see a few times a year. We spent hours just wandering the artists' tables, and talking with various friends over the course of the week.

With Jeff Stice, talented pianist and our very good friend.
With Randy Crawford, baritone for The Kingsmen.
C, the adorable daughter of our friends the Clarks
NQC week is always so packed with memories that it's hard to share how amazing it was without being overly long (and boring for any readers who don't enjoy Southern Gospel music). Suffice it to say that it was a blessed week, all four of us that attended enjoyed every minute of it (except the good-byes) and we are very excited about next year's 60th anniversary celebration! For more information or to buy tickets for the 2017 NQC, please visit the National Quartet Convention website. I'll leave you with a couple videos from the week...just a sampling of the wonderful music enjoyed by all at the National Quartet Convention!

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