A Recap of the November 2007 Koinonia Family Reunion & Concert
The Koinonia Family Reunion was over too quickly and now takes its place as part of the history of Nashville’s contemporary Christian music scene. Guests arrived early hoping to catch a glimpse — not of music stars- – but of old friends and mentors. Plenty of mentors were on hand: Don Finto, Bob Hughey, Jim Bevis, Thomas Minton, Luther Weathers, Bob Mason, Burton Grant, Charlie Newman, Jim Davis, Al Jaynes and others that blessed the hearts and souls of the hippies, college students, and other lost souls who found their way to Koinonia in the 1970s and 1980s.
Michael W. Smith who pointed out he had just become a grandfather, got the evening started by leading the packed auditorium in singing well-loved worship songs before pastor Chris Williams welcomed the crowd saying, “You came to Christ as you were – a bunch of hippies who came to Jesus!” Host Brian Mason reminded us that postage was 8¢ for a letter and gasoline as 39¢ a gallon back in the Koinonia days, adding “A lot of you would normally be sitting up front on the floor, but we couldn’t get enough paramedics to get you back up and scrape the missing cartilage off the floor.”
Alan “Root” Robertson, Jim Weber, Billy Sprague and special guest Amy Grant took the stage together. Billy started things off singing his classic “Oh, Heavenly Father” and then commented, “It’s amazing to look around and see so many Gandalf wannabees!”
When Amy’s turn came she asked Billy if she could borrow his cable and Alan quickly took the opportunity to offer Amy his cable, saying he wanted to sell it on Ebay. Amy first did a cover of an old Mike Hudson song and later did an impressive job of singing a lengthy passage of scripture she had put to music. As the musicians took turns Alan had his chance to sing including “Jude’s Benediction.” Jim Weber’s first turn at the mic produced “You’ve Got Me Singing A Love Song” where he had to stop and put his glasses on. If by now readers are picking up on the fact that there were a lot of age jokes and comments, that became a general theme of the reunion, but Weber brought it all home for us with his song, “Until We Fall,” one of the loveliest and timeliest songs of the night, comparing us to falling leaves and challenging us to dance in our best colors until we fall.
Fireworks performed next featuring Gary Pigg, Gwen Moore, Chris Harris, and Cindy Hudson and with Marty McCall on piano and vocals. Their harmonies were simply beautiful. What a blessing to have Marty and Fireworks together on stage again!
Homecoming’s Brown Bannister, and Bob Farnsworth with Alan Robertson followed and surprised me by performing the songs that had drawn me into the whole contemporary music scene… back when they were recorded be a very young Amy Grant: “Old Man’s Rubble,” “Great, Great Joy in Jesus,” and “Mountain Top,” followed by the classic “Only Time for Love.”
After a touching video tribute to Bob Hughey accompanied by an original song from Steve Chapman, Dogwood began their set . As a former house band for Koinonia, Dogwood was the main attraction for most of the Koinonia crowd, and although Annie Chapman was unable to sing, Dogwood delivered some of the nights best songs and best one liners. “Our minds went to be with the Lord about 15 years ago,” quipped Steve. Dogwood songs included “We Come to Worship You,” “Wedding Day,” and “Son of a Mountain Preacher” as well as a song inspired by Al and Era Jayne’s 50th wedding anniversary, “He’s a Has Been.” Much like Michael W., Steven and Annie had also recently had their first grandchild.
The evening’s grand finale brought all the singers back on stage (sans Michael) to lead the assembly in “We Shall Always Be with the Lord.” It was an evening of thanks, an evening of appreciation, full of good music, old friends and the comforting reminder that as we retired hippies age and prepare to cross the river now that the fall of our lives is upon us, our Koinonia fellowship will be eternal for we shall always be with the Lord.
Belmont Church pastor Don Finto closed the night with prayer.
All photos by Kathryn E. Darden for ChristianActivities.com.