Monday, February 2, 2009

Concert Review from Hawkinsville, GA

The Isaacs in Hawkinsville, Ga.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

My husband Randy and I made the trip down to Hawkinsville on Friday with plans to attend both Isaacs shows at the Hawkinsville Opera House.  The Opera House is a beautiful, historical building that was originally constructed in 1907.  It isn’t huge, it only seats about 380.  But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in character. 

We had dinner on Friday night with friends Peggy Fauscett, Kemper Meadows, Tammy Wells and Lucy Dudding.  We were all looking forward to the concerts on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.  Peggy is of course, the mother of The Isaacs drummer Nathan Fauscett.  The concerts were to honor her late husband, Byron Fauscett whom we lost about two years ago.  Byron was a very much loved man and he is truly missed by his family and friends.  Everyone involved, which seemed to include most of the town, did a wonderful job of honoring the memory of Mr. Byron Fauscett. 

The Isaacs enjoyed lunch on Saturday with some folks from Peggy and Nathan’s church, including Nathan’s high school band leader.  Tammy, Lucy, Randy and I went out for some light shopping, a street tour of some of the old homes in Hawkinsville,  then a spaghetti  lunch at The Horse Shoe Restaurant.   We met The Isaacs at the Opera House at 1:00 for the load out and set up.  

It is always interesting to see the transformation that comes over the band members when the trailer door opens.  They systematically start rolling boxes and carts of equipment off the trailer into the venue and the work begins.  All the equipment has to be unpacked and set up-----just right.  Folks, there is so much more to this than just unpacking the instruments and singing.  Ben does a great job getting the sound just right for each venue.  Sound check is an interesting experience, too.  It went quickly in the opera house because of the attention that was paid to the science of acoustics when the place was built.  

The show was scheduled for 7pm.  We had our choice of seats but we soon found that there was not a bad seat in the house.  The Saturday show was sold out weeks ago.  It didn’t take the place long to fill with excited fans and friends.  The Isaacs had two friends traveling with them for the weekend, Tim Dillman of Music City Coach and Mike Bilanchi from World Vision.  In addition to Randy and me, Tammy Wells and her mom Lucy Dudding drove up from Brandon, Florida.  Dee and Mary Hill drove up from Murrell’s Inlet, SC.  The Beckers were down from TN.  And might I add, Peggy and Nathan had a friend or two there!

The Isaacs took the stage in black and silver.  They gave an awesome performance for the first half of the show.  The sound was perfect.    We were pleased to see John Bowman filling in for Thomas Wywrot.  Thomas had a prior obligation for the weekend when he came on full time with the Isaacs and they had John filling in.  I love to hear John pick and his voice is wonderful.  Becky was really happy to have her husband along for this special weekend. 

The cajon was placed at the front of the stage so Nathan could really show off for his hometown.  While playing his solo on “Walk On”, he looked around when the audience started laughing…..every member of the group had walked off stage……Nathan was out there alone.  It was a total surprise to him and his expression was priceless.  Sonya told me later it was Ben’s idea.  Great prank, guys! 

There was an intermission and then the second half of the show.  The concert promoter, Norman Bonds, called Peggy, Nathan and Kelly to the stage and talked about Byron.  This is when Nathan was asked to speak about his mom and dad.  Nathan was very emotional, feeling very close to his father as he talked to his hometown crowd.  He spoke eloquently about his parents and what a loving home he grew up in and how great his dad was and how great his mom is.  There were lots of tears shed during that time.  But, I knew Nathan had a secret that he was getting ready to reveal.  He finished talking about his mom and dad, and then about his new road family, The Isaacs.  Suddenly, he spun around to Kelly, his girlfriend, and dropped to one knee as he pulled the diamond engagement ring from his pocket and asked her to be his wife in front of nearly 400 people!  The crowd went nuts!  Go Nathan!  That really took some guts----especially knowing that the Isaacs band members had tortured him about it for months.  You know, things like hiding the ring from him and asking what he’d do if she said no in front of all those people…..

The concert somehow continued after all that.  Ben, Sonya and Becky did a new song, “I Will Praise Him”.  It was an acapella that they’ve been practicing for their new CD.  As you know, they are in the studio now, working with Bill Gaither to record a CD of mostly acapella songs.  Ben and Bill Gaither are producing the CD and Bill asked them to try the song on their audiences to see what their reaction is.  Well, I don’t know about anyone else, but it brought many of us to tears.  It is a powerful old hymn and their performance was breath-taking.  I don’t know how anyone who knows the Lord could listen to that performance without crying.  Ben said later that he was not able to hit the high notes because he had a little bit of a sore throat.  Trust me, he was mistaken.  His voice was perfect doing that song.  I can’t believe how The Isaacs continue to get better and better at what they do.  One would think it wasn’t possible for them to improve……seems there is no room for improvement because they are so good……and then they go and kick it up another notch.   Glory to God, for they are simply amazing and anointed by Him to do what they do so well.  

After the show, we were treated to a great home-cooked meal at the home of Peggy Fauscett.  She is such a good cook!  Some of us should take lessons!  We had chicken and roast, vegetables, potatoes, gravy and biscuits.  There were two scrumptious desserts and plenty of iced tea.  And, lots of talking,  joking around and fellowship.  Peggy had made a poster with the heading, “She Said Yes”.  She had added some pictures of Nathan and Kelly and one questionable photo of Nathan…… looked like he might be wearing a Barbie Band-aids shirt that was a little small for him……it made some folks ask why she said yes……..Just kidding, Nathan!  We didn’t stay long after eating, everyone was very tired.  We shuttled everyone back to the bus and got to bed at a reasonable time.  We were all looking forward to the next day’s events.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

We were all meeting at a local restaurant, The Steakhouse, for a Sunday buffet lunch.  Randy and I got ready and checked out of our hotel and drove over to the bus which was parked at the Opera House.  We had a great visit with John, Ben and Mike Bilanchi while waiting for the others to finish with showers.  Peggy was shuttling band members from the hotel to the bus and we’d come to offer some assistance.  They all made it to the restaurant by noon…….we were supposed to be there by 11:30.  We enjoyed a delicious buffet….including Nathan’s favorite, homemade macaroni and cheese.  We went over and over the previous night and Nathan’s successful proposal.  Sonya shared the video she made from the stage which you can now see here on the blog.  Ben suddenly stood and said, “Guys, we sing in exactly one and a half hours!”  We finished up and caravan back to the Opera House, actually getting everyone into a vehicle the first time.  I’m not sure if there were more, but I know that at least one seat belt violation occurred………

There wasn’t a packed  house on Sunday, but there was an avid crowd.  The Isaacs did songs I had not heard them do in a live show.  A local dobro player joined them on stage for a song.  Good job, Jimmy!  Then, they called Peggy Fauscett to the stage and she did a song with them playing for her.  She has a great voice but the highlight of the song for me was when Lily took her mic over to the drums and Nathan harmonized with his mother!  He has a great voice, too!  Sonya said they had a new name, “Nathan Fauscett and The Isaacs”.  This brought a huge round of applause.  Then, Ben made Nathan introduce all the band members.  It was hilarious!   

After the show, it was load-out time.  The guys got things packed up and we all stood out in the street talking and saying our good-byes.  It was a rare occasion for the Isaacs bus to return to TN before the wee hours of the morning.  They actually pulled out a little before 5pm.

This was a totally awesome weekend.  There were many special moments.  Some of the highlights for me, in no particular order, included:

The proposal (and having Nathan tell myself and my husband about it ahead of time but    

making each of us promise not to tell anyone, including each other)    

Seeing Tammy, Lucy, Dee, Mary, the Beckers, Kelly and Kemper

            Hearing Ben, Sonya and Becky sing “I Will Praise Him”

            Hearing Peggy sing

            Eating Peggy’s cooking

            Having time to have meaningful conversations with each member of the group and family 

It was so much fun to have other fans and friends there for the weekend.  Randy and I have made so many special friends because of our interest in The Isaacs and their ministry.  And the group really does love seeing familiar faces in the crowd when they go different places.  So, check the calendar often and look for a show near you.  You won’t regret it!  Thanks Peggy and Norman for a great weekend.  May God continue to bless The Isaacs and each one of you!

Gina Black 


gigi said...

Thank you for the play by play of such an awesome weekend! We really love Peggy and Nathan and through them love the Isaacs. You are all awesome!

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