Saturday, December 10, 2011


Southern Plainsmen at Tinney Chapel 12-10-11

All photos are via available-light: Can you tell the difference?

Click on any image above to view it in larger format and/or click on the arrow below to view the video of the final song in the concert by the Southern Plainsmen and the closing prayer by Pastor Sue Gross at Tinney Chapel UMC.

Crowd-Pleasing Southern Plainsmen Group Makes Fourth Appearance At Tinney Chapel

The touring Southern Plainsmen Quartet, Marcelle Slaughter (high tenor), Tim Crosby (replacing Jordan Mothershed as lead singer), Allen Doyle (baritone and occasionally bass) and Aaron Allen (former soundman, now a singer-soundman), in their second 2011 appearance at Tinney Chapel, sang to a sparse but sensitive congregation tonight, Saturday, December 10, at a somewhat impromptu concert in the family life center of the quintessential country church.

In what has become a bit of a musical tradition at this church, the Southern Plainsmen quickly moved into their patented, jazzed-up, syncopated version of "Love Lifted Me," an old, but unique number they have truly made their own, and used to warm up the quintessential country church several times before and which never grows old here.

As the concert program began to unfold, with Allen Doyle leading his memorable version of “Sweet Beulah Land” and the group's equally memorable "A Personal Savior," tonight’s congregation was firmly under the musical spell of this enthusiastic example of Southern sacred group harmony, which has now made its fourth appearance here. Once again, many in this United Methodist congregation had ample reason to think of John Wesley, Methodism's founder, when the Plainsmen sang its distinctive version of "It Is Well With My Soul."

This time, let’s just say that their rousing version of “I Know A Man Who Can”—a song which could function as the Plainsmen’s group testimony--compensated for any lack of direct reference to the "Original Methodist," John Wesley.

Two key people who have contributed to the group's previous outstanding performances, lead singer Jordan Mothershed and basso-profundo Mike Burkhalter, each received high praise for past efforts from long-time Plainsmen group leader Slaughter. Mothershed is busy finishing up his college work and Burkhalter has found other opportunities.

Among the many memorable performances of this evening: “Where The Roses Never Fade,” “Mansion Over The Hilltop,” “I'm Getting Ready To Leave This World,” and, one of their special numbers “Jesus Is The Lighthouse.”

Marcelle Slaughter, a veteran of 33 years with this group, and the only remaining member of the original aggregation, is the Plainsmen's first tenor, or as they used to say in the old days of gospel quartets, the "high tenor," reminiscent of the sound once championed by "Sister" Loy Hooker, a much earlier exponent. In a post concert conversation nearly three years ago, Slaughter admitted to remembering Hooker, but added: "That really was a LONG time ago!" And, indeed it was.

In a humorous introduction of Slaughter this past February, Plainsmen bass singer Mike Burkhalter said, among other things, that “Marcelle sings the little girl’s part real well.” But this was said not only as humor but also with a great deal of musical respect, as vocalists with Slaughter’s range are few and far between, and his fellow quartet members appear to understand this very well and also to respect him as the group’s business manager.

Group leader Slaughter later told the congregation how to follow the Plainsmen on the Internet: "and we take donations, which may be made via Pay Pal via our website," added Slaughter. “If you are on Facebook, we now have a Facebook page called, "Southern Plainsmen," where you may 'like' us,” he concluded.

But, as always with this group, no report of their concert would be complete without mention of the marvelous, unforgettable song, led by Allen Doyle, called “Faces,” which tells us that when we all see Jesus, one of the things He has in store for us is a kind of PowerPoint collage of all the faces each of us have influenced in some Christ-like manner during our Christian walks on this earth.

As if saving the best for last, the final song was a truly over-the-top and very fast-moving song, “Meet Me At The Table Of The King,” that highlighted all harmonic vocal parts of the group.

It was indeed a concert to remember, including their hymn-book reading of several Christmas carols ("Silent Night," "Beautiful Star Of Bethlehem," and "From A Star To Stripes," which included some history of Betsy Ross' contribution to our Stars & Strips flag of the U.S.).

You can view a small part of this event via the video provided elsewhere on this Weblog post.

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