While Gerald Gently Plays the Piano

With this Greater Vision tenor bidness at the moment, it’s not unlike that portion of the altar call at church on Sunday morning when the invitation is extended and intensified, and everybody waits to see who will peel out of the pew and head down front “while the pianah gently plays.” So while we wait, a few thoughts on the situation.

1. Evidently, Jacob Kitson is ministry minded. I mean, honestly. Even as pious press releases go in southern gospel, this one was a doozy.  Or as one reader put it in a recent comment:

I think one of the biggest challenges facing groups is finding folks close enough to God but not so close that He (God) is always leading them in different directions. I wonder if some groups pray that when they get a good working member if the Lord would just leave them alone for a few years……. God sure has a way of messing up a good sounding group sometimes….. I just wonder sometimes why God can’t be content leaving folks together for a while longer…. Why is God always changing His mind?… Makes one wonder….

2. If you’re still struggling to decipher the extraordinarily pietistic press release accompanying this announcement, you should probably just bookmark David Bruce Murray’s insightful post from a while back over at musicscribe and read it now and for that matter, anytime you have to read a press release about a Godly personnel change. I have no xray vision into these matters, and it may well be that Kitson’s departure is exactly what it appears to be: he wants to go evangelize the yoots of America. And Greater Vision deserves props for dealing with the departure as its own event and not doing one of those “Paw Paw Patch Singers Announce Exciting New Changes,” which tries to bury the lede of the old guy’s leaving by trumpeting the new guy’s’ arrival. But still … after about the third or fourth sentence of this Kitson thing, I just sorta gave up. Whether it’s intentional or not, press releases that try this hard to tell you just how everything about this unexpected and not entirely logical move is happening in the smack dab center of God’s guidance and will … well, it tends to leave the impression that either the intended audience is being condescended to, or somebody’s protesting too much. What’s so wrong with saying: “Singing gospel music on the road wasn’t for me and I’m going to go do something else that more closely reflects what I believe is right for me”? Thank your old boss and move along. Just please, don’t mistake quitting or getting fired as one last chance at an encore performance via press release.

3. Maybe it’s that personnel changes have become pretty common, but I don’t get the sense anyone is terribly surprised/upset by this. At which point, the only Jacob Kitson story I have comes to mind: At NQC the year Kitson joined the group, I was standing in a circle of folks in the Exhibition Hall and here comes GV’s new tenor, literally charging into the middle of our circle to introduce himself to everyone individually, energetically assess the degree of everyone’s happiness with our NQC experience (in fact for a moment I actually wondered if part of joining the group of an NQC owner meant you had to do ambassadorial work for the convention in your free time), and wish us all a wonderful day with a 250-watt high-beam smile and cowboy boots on the whole time. I’m not suggesting this experience gives me any special insight into him or his departure, but that encounter crystallized the distinct impression he made on and off stage of being extraordinarily - perhaps unsustainably - high-geared.

4. Remember this?

A friend of mine in the industry passed this along to me with the note, “those were the days.” Sure ‘nough.

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Comments

  1. stac wrote:

    Looks to me like if the press release leaves out the “juicy” details then you’re not happy and if they include details galore you’re not happy. Can’t you people make up your mind?

  2. Jake wrote:

    Stac (#1) — Of course we wouldn’t be looking for “juicy” details — that would be gossip. We just want to know how to pray more intelligently! (tongue firmly planted in cheek)

  3. Snarfie wrote:

    Perhaps the Singing News cover has a southern gospel curse sort of like that for athletes pictured on Sports Illustrated. (I just noticed today that Greater Vision is shown on the cover of the mag on the Singing News home page.)

  4. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    I like the way Greater Vision is handling this. The delay in announcing the replacement is good, because that gives time for people to get used to the idea.

    It’s also good that Kitson wrote a personal letter in addition to Greater Vision’s official press release. This conveys that Kitson is leaving on good terms.

    Kitson’s fans who read this information will be saddened, but I don’t anticipate a backlash against the group.

    The Inspirations announcement is coming through their Facebook page rather than through any sort of press release. In a way, that’s better, and in a way, it’s not. The “better” is that fans on Facebook feel like they’re right on top of what is going on. It’s also good in terms of journalism, because this method forces news outlets to actually go out and gather the news. The only downside is that there’s no formal announcement being made…but do we really need all that? Press releases are 80% fluff anyway.

    Time will tell, as far as the “spend time with family” (Dallas Rogers) or “going on the mission field” (Kitson) impressions we have now really comes to pass.

  5. Alicia Bailey wrote:

    ok. so after reading this i remember why i normally steer clear of this site. the reason any person leaves any group is really nothing we should all pry into. its their lives. what the press release says shouldn’t be read into anything other then what it says. Jacob returning to evangelism to minster to young people (not “yoots”) is a wonderful. He has a heart for young people and we need more people like that in this world. I hate to see him leave GV because he sounded great with them, but he has to follow God’s will for him, so why dont we all stop reading so much into a press release and get on our knees and pray for him and his ministry.

  6. The Gospel Stache wrote:

    You mean the “Madden Curse” right? Historically, when a player has appeared on a cover, more times than not, that player falls prey to a serious injury or has a truly subpar season. Since 2000, this has been the case. I’ve always thought of Southern Gospel groups as baseball or basketball players…being traded, released, or signed as a free agent. I hope soon, southern gospel should implement a draft. Maybe at the NQC, Friday night can be draft night and draft young and upcoming prospects and send them to their farm systems. It would be conducted just as the NBA draft though…i like the idea of a lottery versus the pecking order (worst team from previous year picks first, best team from previous year picks last). This may introduce Southern Gospel to a new crowd of people and could be great advertisement for the industry.

  7. Brian wrote:

    We should not expect the author of this blog to understand someone doing something that is God’s will. Very simple concept, and clearly Biblically supported.

    1 Corinthians 2:14
    But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    Does this post ever prove that verse of scripture or what?

  8. Soli Deo Gloria wrote:

    From the original post: “I think one of the biggest challenges facing groups is finding folks close enough to God but not so close that He (God) is always leading them in different directions. I wonder if some groups pray that when they get a good working member if the Lord would just leave them alone for a few years……. God sure has a way of messing up a good sounding group sometimes….. I just wonder sometimes why God can’t be content leaving folks together for a while longer…. Why is God always changing His mind?… Makes one wonder….”

    This mindset is why southern gospel is a theological joke on its best day, and straight up heresy on its worst.

  9. Mayor wrote:

    Doug, homeschooler’s are all like that. :)

  10. natesings wrote:

    #3 I’ve thought about the covers of the SN in relation to the Madden curse as well. Another recent example is The Dixie Echoes being on the cover not long before Pat Barker departed. I remember see where a SN staff member (Danny Jones maybe) stated that they had a year’s worth of covers shot at one time but could only use a hand full due to personnel changes.

  11. Hart wrote:

    To number 8: In the quote you cite, it’s not heresy, it’s sarcasm.

  12. Ron F wrote:

    Hey #6 The Gospel Stache That is a great idea. Funny Funny Funny.

  13. Tony wrote:

    #8, “This mindset is why southern gospel is a theological joke on its best day, and straight up heresy on its worst.”

    SG is only a bunch of people who got together in groups (or individually) and decided to sing about God, Jesus, and the joy and wonder of Salvation. I don’t think you’ll find that mentioned anywhere in any established theology.

    It’s just something we do.

  14. A Friend Of A Friend wrote:

    Um, The Diplofats were on the SN cover recently. Which one of them do you think might be fixning to have to leave the road? All but one could at any heartbeat, but I digress.

  15. Charles Brady wrote:

    Soli Deo Gloria, you obviously have no comprehension of sarcasm when you read it. Since I’m the guy who said it I can assure you straight from the source the comment was neither a joke nor heresy. 100% pure southern sarcasm. That’s all it was. Now go take your meds like a good girl and go back to bed….

    I thought this was sarcasm central? Did I miss something?

  16. Irishlad wrote:

    …and us Brits don’t think you guys don’t do irony.

  17. Lovelife wrote:

    #14…Wisdom is having alot to say, and not saying it…..just sayin.

  18. Soli Deo Gloria wrote:

    No. 15: However you intended it, let’s not pretend that what you wrote in sarcarsm isn’t a prevalent view in southern gospel.

    And my sincere apologies for assuming most southern gospel fans weren’t smart enough to use sarcasm. Clearly you’re the class of the field…

  19. s.smith wrote:

    I assure you that the majority of SG fans ARE smart enough to have known it was sarcasm. Too bad you are so eager to trash the industry that you couldn’t have seen it yourself.

  20. Matureman wrote:

    When I played this video, I once again became aware how accomplished is Gerald Wolfe on the piano. Always smooth and comfortable without the hysterics of some players. Just good, solid undergirding of the voices.

    I wish GV would tape and DVD/CD an album of Live singing and playing like this. It would be a classic.

    Wife and I heard GV with Jacob last September at the pre-NQC concert. He was very good…very relaxed and polished and sounded as if he had been with them for a long time. Our best wishes to him. God bless you as you do His will.

    As to Chris on the video, there is no better tenor for this type of music. He just puts great feeling and passion into what he sings. It’s as if he knows, very well, the One about whom he sings. May God bless you, Chris, for the many hours of wonderful singing you recorded and we’ve enjoyed for the past twenty years.

  21. Wade wrote:

    #17 Good One Lovelife!!

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