As I’ve mentioned previously … a night at the First Annual Virginia Beach Gospel Music Festival was the first live Southern Gospel event I’ve attended since resigning from my position managing enLighten at the time of the 2013 National Quartet Convention sum 13 months ago.
I was greeted warmly by several of the artists singing and playing there that evening, including Gordon Mote … who never ceases to amaze me by his God-given abilities. It seems when God removes one of the senses from a person, He heightens the rest of them … if the individual chooses to utilize them.
And to see Olivia, the youngest of the Collingsworth children, suddenly all grown up. Like many of you, I’ve watched her go from a fairly young child to a full-grown teenager. Her Dad Phil reported that she’s now 16 and has earned her driver’s license … and she wants to learn to drive their big bus!
I was also pleased to talk with TaRanda Greene, the widow of “everybody’s friend in the world of Southern Gospel,” Tony Greene. I really didn’t get to know either one very well, having met Tony only a couple of times and never much more than a “hello” with TaRanda. She’s made a few brief appearances over the past couple of years, but says she’s now ready to return to an active singing schedule. (I know it couldn’t have been easy for TaRanda even when Tony was still living, as she more or less was in the shadow of Tony and her sister-in-law, Kim Greene Hopper.
In Virginia Beach, she sang just three songs, an up-tempo arrangement of the Hallelujah Chorus and what would be called “an old chestnut,” “I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked.” I don’t remember it’s origin, but my wife Alicia has been singing it in churches and concerts over the past 50+ years … and TaRanda sang in marvelously. Be watching, she told me her first CD on her own will be coming along some months down the road.
There is a 2015 Virginia Beach Gospel Festival already scheduled, so you may want to consider. If you decide to go, make sure you don’t miss the sun come up out of the Atlantic Ocean!