7:00 am. The sun had not been up long when I groggily climbed out of bed this morning. I am a “late service”
person, but not today! Brian Mason had invited a large quantity of industry people, artists and fans to
join him at Gary Chapman’s Tejas Studios for what has become an annual celebration, his yearly
anniversary show. Gary was Brian’s very first live guest in May, 1982, which makes him the ideal host for the anniversary show. There were maybe 50 people there already when I arrived, maybe 80 – 100 people
packing the small studio facility near the end of Brian’s three-hour shift.
The performances included Rocketown’s new writer stars: Gordon Kennedy, Wayne Kirkpatrick, Billy Sprague, and Phil Madeira who performed a few tunes from their new project. Buddy Greene threw down some harmonica licks.
Ceili Rain made everyone want to dance a jig with their lively celtic strains. Phil Keaggy did several
numbers, including a couple of Beatle’s songs with Brian’s son, Chris, which was a special surprise for Brian. Two or More brought their Taco Bell stylings at the end and there were several other noteworthy performances I forgot to note including a band composed of Jim Cole with George Pendergrass, Phil Keaggy, and Pat Flynn (from New Grass Revival). Special guest MC for the annual do is Steve Gilreath, attired this year in overalls and bare feet… after a lengthy canoe trip down the Harpeth to get to Riverstone Farm.
My personal high point remains whenever the Glory Bugles sing “If Yer Hair’s Too Long (There’s Sin In Your Heart)” and “The King James Version (If it was good enough for John the Baptist, then it’s good enough for me).” It don’t git much better’n this, folks!
Strolling in and out to say hello were Michael W. Smith, Frank Breeden, Natalie Grant, Reed Arvin, Mark
Holingsworth, Louie Weaver, a host of other industry and artist illuminaries, and finally the host
himself, Gary Chapman, made an appearance near the end and revealed he will have a special appearance on the Doves show that has something to do with the hit movies, Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?”.
All in all, it was a great way to kick off GMA Week. Happy anniversary, Brian Mason Show.Stay tuned for more GMA Journal as I head downtown to register for GMA Week and to attend a Fiesta!
3:00 pm. Sunday afternoon was balmy as I drove downtown to officially register for GMA Week. After getting my credentials, I wandered into the media lounge where a panoply of press propaganda was put out for our perusal.
Chonda Pierce, Plus One and many more familiar and unfamiliar names were represented by packets
with all their vital statistics.
Gathering the ones I needed, I headed down for a quick tour of the display floor which was a hub of activity. Many booths were set up with lights, sound, cameras and ACTION! Ministries were well represented as were artists, record companies, tape duplicating, and more. A job
bank was on site and a cafe blasted music onto the busy exhibition floor. It was an experience of sight and
sound and I plan to go back when I can spend more time.
5:45pm. After catching up with industry friends Chris Buchanon and Mike and Paula Parker, I joined the throng in a line at the Ryman Auditorium that snaked out the door and down one side of the famous landmark. This was the line
for the traditional GMA Sunday night worship service. It is always a treat to go to anything at the
Ryman. I actually don’t mind the hard wooden pews and the old poles that support the building but
also block part of the view. To me they are a priceless part of the ambiance and a reminder of a
heritage form older times. Artfully dodging one such pole, I found myself sitting across from Brian
Quincy Newcomb, music reviewer extraordinaire, and we passed our 20-minute wait discussing
After a brief WOW presentation, music icon Michael W. Smith took the stage and with special guest
artists like Third Day, led the assembled faithful in some twenty worship and praise songs including
my absolute favorite worship song, Keith Green’s “There is a Redeemer.” The choir that joined
Michael in the praise service, was made up of of many familiar faces including the Katinas, Out of Eden, Point of Grace, Kelly Minter, Paige, Rachel Lampa and Pete Orta.
8:00 pm. I had to leave the worship service after the first five or six songs to head over to Satco for
the Diamante/Servant Distribution Fiesta. OK, I am a sucker for Mexican food, especially GOOD
Mexican food like Satco dishes out. The party was in full swing already with a bus blocking one end
of Commerce while salsa bands played in front of colorful lights and people danced in the streets.
‘Twas a feast for the senses as good food mixed with good music and good friend Dave Bunker
joined me for good conversation. Bands like Freddie Colloca, Ileana Garces and Alvaro Lopez and Res-Q-band brought an appropriate hispanic touch to the night’s music.
I will try to add more details and maybe some photos tomorrow. But it is approaching
midnight and I think I am ready to call an official close to the first day of GMA Week!
Check the Gospel Music Week section for more news and GMA activities.
Wayne Kirkpatrick’s name appears between Gordon Kennedy’s first and last name.
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