Long day! After last night's midnight excursion, I was brave and bold enough to be up bright and early to attend this morning's Paradigm showcase. This is an industry, invite-only showcase, but I have a lot of friends on their label, so I got a ticket and took the opportunity to see a lot of friends at once. I got to hear my friend Darlene Chapman, who was wonderful. I also got to hear a number of female soloists I've heard of but never seen perform, like Cricket Lee, Tammy Kirkland, and Grace Bailey. It's always nice to see what other soloists are doing - a great chance to learn what audiences are seeing, and how other artists are approaching the solo stage. Jennifer Strickland just released an entirely self-written album, and her song was great, and the Shireys also did an original song written by their young female lead singer. Kim Hopper hosted the event, and just nailed a couple of solo numbers. Paradigm isn't a women-only label, but you'd hardly know it this morning.
Gerald and I had this afternoon reserved on our calendar for the songwriter's showcase. Last year, this showcase was the highlight of my week. It was one hour, and many songs were performed acoustically or by the writer. This year, it was a much bigger production. Phil Cross put together a 3 hour show to record for a DVD. (I missed the intro, so I think this is right.) Many songs were sung to tracks, and just a few were done acoustically. There were some definite highlights, though. There was a choir and an orchestra, and we all know how I feel about a good choir! Ronnie Hinson told the story behind his classic, "The Lighthouse", and Mosie Lister spoke about his song, "Where No One Stands Alone." The show ended with Kyla Rowland talking about "Holy Shore." I love this song, and the Perrys finished the whole show in great style.
It wasn't hard to tell the Gaithers were in the house today: You had to hunt for parking, and for the first few hours, while GVB and Signature Sound were having autograph sessions, you could hardly walk through the exhibit hall. It was great to have a lot of people there, because it also meant I got to see lots of Stamps-Baxter people.
Tara and I had a good day for radio. We gave out several CDs and press kits, and I did two interviews. One was with a DJ from Sarnia, Ontario, and the other was with Chuck Peters of Southern Gospel Reporter. (You can visit there to see my ad!) I thought I'd be nervous about doing the interviews, but I've felt very relaxed, so it's really just been fun. Thinking about it, I don't really know why I'd be nervous. I usually talk about music, Stamps-Baxter, Canada, Gerald, and the Gospel - why would I not love that?
After the second interview, Tara and I had supper with Tammy Norris. Tammy is in the process of putting together her first ever women's conference. She's hosting it at her home church, and has organized the whole thing herself. Tara and I have tossed about ideas about hosting or somehow getting involved in women's conferences, so it was fascinating to hear about Tammy's plans and experiences.
But after that conversation, we had to make our way to Freedom Hall for my second only mainstage performance this week: Signature Sound and Gaither Vocal Band. The hall was packed! Tara and I finally found empty seats way up on the second level, in a back corner somewhere. Luckily, two Stamps-Baxter students saw us and pointed out some empty seats. The ground level was packed, and people were standing and blocking up every entrance. Signature Sound was on fire! I know some people aren't into their style of music and performance, but what can I say? I'm a music theatre girl - I love singing and dancing and any kind of dynamic stagecraft. They sounded great, and they fed off the energy of the packed house. Gaither Vocal Band sounded fantastic! They did a mix of classics and new songs. Their blend was beautiful and the solo verses sounded great. It was a fantastic double set - well worth hunting for seats!
That sort of wrapped up the day. There are a number of things we want to do tomorrow, and I've already started wrapping my mind around packing up the booth and all our stuff at the hotel. I can't believe how quickly this week has passed by. I already have plans for next year...