Artist(s): Mark Trammell Trio, Jerry Trammell, The Joys, Garden of Grace
Venue: Hyland Heights Baptist Church, Lynchburg, VA
I got the opportunity last night to attend a concert only 20 minutes from my house. It was a benefit concert, one that has been held annually for five years, apparently, and this was my first time attending. The love offering that was taken was given to a family whose baby girl has a condition that is pretty serious and she needs operations.
The concert started at 7:00, but at 6:30, pre-concert music was provided by The Joys, a regional group from VA Beach. They put on a decent set. Then around 7:00, Garden of Grace, another regional group from Lynchburg, VA, gave about a five song set that was pretty good.
Then, Mark Trammell’s brother, Jerry, did another 5-or-so song set. Long-time gospel fans may remember Jerry’s days with the Florida Boys. The man is a very powerful singer, despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease a while back. It did not affect his singing, however, and he brought the audience to their feet several times.
Jerry then introduced his brother’s group, and they launched into an amazing acappella rendition of an old hymn (the name of which escapes me). I got so wrapped up in it that I totally forgot to write down a song list, but it was an awesome set. Mark’s own brand of dry humor had everyone rolling. He commented on the song “Glory Road” being like “eating nothing but fillet mignon for a week; by the seventh day, you’re about to die to get fed something else!” Then, after having to start over the tenor feature (the part where he goes up on “I can see”) three times because somebody liked it so much each time, Mark finally said “Well, we ain’t never gonna get there, but we can see it.” The audience roared with laughter.
Other highlights included MTT’s powerful performance of “Once Upon A Cross”, Jerry joining his brother’s group to sing bass for them on one song, and the finale with all the groups that had sung that night joining for one final song. Jerry and Mark picked the daylights out of each other the whole night, much to the crowd’s amusement.
One moment I don’t think I’ll ever forget was at the very end, when Mark explained to the audience that the next morning, tenor Eric Phillips’ dad, Ernie, was to have surgery to remove a large mass from his lower abdomen. He said the doctors did not know what to expect. He then got Eric to stand in front of the altar, and the crowd gathered around him as Mark led everyone in prayer. Then, as we headed back to our seats, Mark led us in a verse and chorus of “Victory In Jesus”, with Dustin Sweatman playing the piano.
It was a great night. I can safely say I’ll return to the next Winter Angel Benefit Concert!