Maybe I can share something...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

We Heard Our Baby's Heartbeat!

Yesterday we went for Valerie's 12 week check-up. So far everything is right on track for an uneventful and healthy pregnancy!! And we were able to hear the baby's heartbeat! How cool is that!?!?! The sound that you'll hear sounds like a locomotive chugging along. The heartbeat was about 159 beats/minute. If you believe in the old wives tales they'll tell you that a rapid heartbeat like that means its going to be a girl! But we'll know for sure in August at the 20-22 week check-up. Stay tuned and we'll keep you advised! (you Oklahomans will laugh at that line) ;o)

J.G. Whitfield Memorial Sing-SOLD OUT!!!

On Friday, June 22nd, over two thousand fans flocked to Marcus Pointe Baptist Church in Pensacola to hear the legendary Dixie Echoes and Florida Boys honor their founder, the late J.G. Whitfield, "The Ole Gospel Man". The sold out concert was promoted by our pianist, Stewart Varnado. This historic concert began with a performance by the Florida Boys. The Dixie Echoes followed, and then concluded with a grand finale consisting of both groups on stage, joined by many former members, including Hal Kennedy, Billy Todd, Tommy Atwood, "Daddy" Paul Vinson, Randy Allred, Andrew Shelnut, Mike Bullock and more.

We were extremely excited about this concert since there has not been a "Homecoming" concert in Pensacola for The Dixie Echoes and Florida Boys. Secondly, with the announcement of the Florida Boys retirement coming at the end of July, it made this concert even more bittersweet. June 22, 2007 marked the final concert for the Florida Boys, not only in the state of Florida, but also in their hometown, as well as the final concert performance of the Florida Boys and Dixie Echoes together. What a sweet time we had! Special thanks to all who came out to support these two groups. And the outpouring of former members that showed up was just outstanding. Hope you enjoy the photos! Settle in because there's a ton of pics to look at! A date is currently being set for next year's J.G. Whitfield Memorial Sing, make your plans now to be in Pensacola next June!!

Marcus Pointe Baptist Church was the perfect setting for this historic concert event. Special thanks to the staff at Marcus Pointe for helping us make this evening a huge success!

Florida Boys and Dixie Echoes buses parked near the front of the church

Cars were lined up from the parking lot all the way onto "W" Street

From the time the doors opened at 5:30pm they didn't close until just after concert time. Folks just kept coming in!!

As I was trying to get a shot of both groups product tables, "Daddy" Paul Vinson was trying to duck out of the way but didn't quite make it!!

One of the greatest line-ups of the Florida Boys ever, together again. (L-R): Glen Allred, Derrell Stewart, Les Beasley, Tommy Atwood, and Billy Todd.

Members of the Florida Boys, Dixie Echoes, and friends visiting before the concert.

Former Dixie Echoes members Mike Bullock, and "Daddy" Paul Vinson, along with Scoot Shelnut visiting before the concert.

Bass Singer Quartet! (L-R): Mike Bullock(Dixie Echoes), Butch Owens(Florida Boys), Tracy Crouch(Dixie Echoes), and Billy Todd(Florida Boys & Dixie Echoes). Anyone care to guess what the combined I.Q. of this group is??? I'm guessing about 2.5! hehe

Behind the Florida Boys table: (L-R): Josh Garner, Billy and Jane Todd, Glen Allred and Mike Bullock. Behind the Dixie Echoes table, Butch Owens and Andrew Shelnut(Randy's brother and former Dixie Echoes tenor and drummer).

Les Beasley visiting with former Dixie Echoes baritone Craig Pippen and former Bibletones owner/lead singer Howard Rutland.

Concert goers showed up early to get a good seat. Here's what the crowd looked like 30 minutes before the concert started!!

Shirley Shelnut(widow of the late Dale Shelnut), and Hazel Whitfield(widow of the late J.G. Whitfield) visiting before the concert.

Hazel happened to have several thousand copies of J.G.'s biography for sale at the concert. Here Hazel is autographing a copy for a fan. "Whit" would have been proud to see Hazel with something to sell at a concert!

Not very often do we get to sing close enough to home that our families get to attend. Here is yours truly with my beautiful wife Valerie!!

The Florida Boys kicked off the J.G. Whitfield Memorial Sing with a standing ovation and in grand style as only the Florida Boys can do!

Butch Owens providing that solid foundation for the Florida Boys sound.

Les Beasley, the ever humorous emcee.

Glen Allred, the consummate baritone.

Derrell Stewart, "Ole Red Socks" gave the fans everything they've come to expect from this great piano player. Although he does look a bit confused in this photo.

Josh Garner, in my opinion, the most underrated lead singer traveling today.

With sand in their shoes and a song in their heart, the Florida Boys delivered their final performance to their hometown crowd.

The Dixie Echoes took the stage in Pensacola with two mics and a piano player.

(L-R): Randy "Scoot" Shelnut, Jr., Tracy Crouch, and Stewart Varnado.

Stewart Varnado playing the old convention favorite, "Just A Little While".

Randy's father-in-law and former Dixie Echoes baritone "Daddy" Paul Vinson gave everything he had in his classic rendition of the great song "Hallelujah Square".

Dixie Echoes joining the Florida Boys for their great hit song "While He Was On The Cross".

Tracy Crouch and Butch Owens.

Scoot Shelnut along with one of his heroes, Glen Allred.

Hal Kennedy, the "little man with a big voice", providing his classic introduction to the "Gospel Singing Jubilee" television show followed by everyone singing a few lines of "Jubilee, Jubilee, your invited to this happy jubilee!" My personal favorite highlight of the evening!

Former Dixie Echoes and Florida Boys bass singer Billy Todd proved he still has the tones to be one of the finest bass singers to ever grace the gospel music stage.

Randy Shelnut, Les Beasley, and Hal Kennedy.

Former Florida Boys tenor Tommy Atwood singing the second verse on "Have A Little Talk With Jesus".

Billy Todd showing me how it's done on "Have A Little Talk With Jesus".

Stewart Varnado sharing the piano bench with one of his heroes Derrell Stewart.

Billy Todd cheering on Mike Bullock as Mike buries the ending of a song.

Not everyone is completely visible, but I'll try to get everyone in. (L-R): Dallas Rogers, Josh Garner, Randy Shelnut, Hazel Whitfield, Tommy Atwood(behind Hazel), Les Beasley, Glen Allred, Hal Kennedy, Butch Owens(behind Stewart), Stewart Varnado, Billy Todd, Scoot Shelnut, Derrell Stewart, Mike Bullock, and Tracy Crouch.

Sorry Scoot!! I just had to add this one in here!! hehe. This is the face we usually see from Scoot. You know, "Lights on but nobody's home", "Nice cage, no bird"....You get the picture! ;o)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Suwannee River Jubilee...In Photos

Finally I've had time to gather and sort through our pictures from the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the Suwannee River Jubilee. In the words of my good friend Alan Kendall, "What a time we had!" This years Suwannee saw 2000 people gather under the moss covered canopy of trees at the beautiful Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park. For those of you who were there, THANK YOU for supporting the SRJ and making this one the greatest ever! For those of you who were not there, make your plans now for next year!!! It's only going to get bigger and better! Folks are already reserving tickets and camping lots for the October edition and asking about next June!! In fact the dates for next June's Suwannee will be June 12-14, 2008. We are in the process of booking the talent for next summer so be watching for that announcement soon! Until then, I hope you enjoy the photos from this years Suwannee and I hope that it makes you want to return, or come and join our "Suwannee Family" for the first time!

The Florida Boys have been a part of the Suwannee River Jubilee from the very beginning. With the announcement of their retirement coming at the end of July it made for a very emotional time Thursday night. As usual, the Florida Boys were on top of their game and gave the Suwannee crowd exactly what they wanted; Pure, Classic, Florida Boys

This years Suwannee saw some changes in tickets and gate entrances. Thank you to everyone for helping us make some of these transitions as easy as possible. In the picture above you can see Stewart Varnado's mom, Janice(seated), and Randy Shelnut's wife, Paula, along with a couple of concert goers.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case shall we say 2000 people!?! What a crowd!!

Singing News magazine editor, Danny Jones served as our emcee for the week and did an outstanding job. Above Danny is paying tribute to the Florida Boys rich history not only in Southern Gospel music as a whole, but as a part of the Suwannee River Jubilee. A very fitting tribute, thank you Danny! (L-R): Danny Jones, Les Beasley, Glen Allred, and Derrell Stewart.

The Suwannee River Jubilee crowd giving a rousing and emotional Thank You and Farewell to the legendary Florida Boys during their final performance at this great concert event.

The famous Chuck Wagon Gang took the stage for the first time. They were an instant crowd favorite. Be on the lookout for a possible return of "The Gang" to next years Suwannee! In the background are co-promoters of the Suwannee, Colbert and Joyce Croft. Each morning at the Suwannee Colbert and Joyce lead a chapel service and Joyce also organizes and forms the Suwannee River Jubilee Children's Choir which performs a couple of times on the main stage.

A favorite local group, Southern Joy, have become a Suwannee crowd favorite. Made up of Junior Combs and his children, Wesley and Jessica, they won the talent contest at last years Suwannee and went on to win the talent contest at The World's Largest All-Nite Singing at Bonifay, Florida as well as captured First place at the National Quartet Convention Talent Contest.

Another picture of the great crowd at the Suwannee River Jubilee. Be sure and make your plans now to attend next year!!

Here's a shot of the crowd from our perspective! Suwannee host group The Dixie Echoes.

Another stage view

The Dixie Echoes on stage providing that classic quartet sound to 2000 of their closest and best friends!

The Dixie Echoes have played host to the Suwannee since its inception in 1988 and are not going to let this great outdoor concert end anytime soon!!

This is what happens when you leave your camera unattended backstage. Simple entertainment, for simple minds...Ladies and Gentlemen I present to you, Michael Booth!

The Booth Brothers return to the Suwannee stage after an eight year absence. The crowd absolutely loved them. Let me just say a special thanks to the Booth Brothers. They rescheduled their vacation to be with us. Years ago when the Booths were just getting started and needed places to sing, Randy Shelnut always let them sing at the Suwannee and the Booth Brothers wanted to show their thanks to Randy and the Dixie Echoes. As far as we're concerned the Booth Brothers have a standing open invitation to the Suwannee River Jubilee!

Ronnie Booth, Jim Brady, and Michael Booth providing that signature Booth Brothers sound. The tightest harmony this side of heaven!

Dallas Rogers, Randy Shelnut, Scoot Shelnut, Tracy Crouch, and Stewart Varnado.

Here's a panoramic shot of the great crowd at this years Suwannee River Jubilee. Once again thank you to all of you who made this year's Suwannee the greatest ever! I hope everyone will return next and bring some friends!! Be sure and visit for complete information about the upcoming Fall Jubilee which will take place October 4-6, 2007 and be watching for talent line-ups and information for the next Summer Jubilee which will take place June 12-14, 2008.