Ken Davis is an author, humorist and motivational speaker. As he watched the Gaither Homecoming singers in action at the annual Gaither Family Fest in Gatlinburg, Tenn., Memorial Day weekend, he had a pertinent observation.
“I was in the audience when a famous singer was singing a song he’s sung many times,” said Davis. “I leaned over and said to my wife, ‘He’s bored.’ These kids tonight have probably sung that song a thousand times. But they’re never bored. That’s because the message they’re singing about is renewed every day.”
◆ Sheri Easter of Jeff & Sheri Easter, Connie Hopper of The Hoppers and Lily Isaacs of The Isaacs all are cancer survivors with something to sing about.
◆ One member of the Voices of Lee, a college group from Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn., missed last year’s Family Fest appearance when his sister died of brain cancer. This year he sang the song he did at her funeral, “I Will Rise.”
◆ Michael English of the Gaither Vocal Band had his career interrupted by marital difficulties and a battle with drugs, returning to the gospel music field with a new determination after experiencing forgiveness and regeneration.
◆ TaRanda Greene, a sister-in-law of Kim Greene Hopper, is performing with The Hoppers after going through a battle with depression following the untimely death of her husband, Tony Greene, to whom she had donated a kidney during the time his health was beginning to fail.
◆ Each of the Isaacs has gone through problems of various sorts that have affected their lives but given them a message to proclaim from the stage during their performances.
◆ Mark Lowry of the Gaither Vocal Band was on a cane when he took the stage, still recovering from a broken leg. He still managed to find the humor in the situation for his comedy routines.
◆ The Martins are back on the road with their outstanding family harmony after a hiatus while they dealt with some of the stuff that was happening in their lives.
◆ Angela Primm’s onstage energy and effervescence dazzles her audience. In her own words, she “wasn’t supposed to be born,” but her mother not only carried her to term, Angie followed her mom onto the singing stage, fulfilling a promise that had been revealed to her mom during her difficulties in carrying Angie.
◆ As the Collingsworth Family performed, Kim Collingsworth’s brother was completing a year at Walter Reed Hospital after the career military man suffered a brain injury while serving in Iraq.
Kim dedicated her piano rendition of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” to her brother, then summed it up this way: “If you watch the news on TV these days it makes you want to kill yourself. But I learned a saying years ago, ‘I read the back of the book and we win.’”
And so it is with all the Homecoming singers.
Jim Bailey’s column appears on Wednesday. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.