It has been just under two years since I started seeing Triumphant. Since the first few concerts I attended, many people would ask if I had been to Jeff Stice’s Homecoming event in Kentucky. It would come up every few concerts. Obviously, since I was new to the Southern Gospel genre I had not been to the event.
For over a year now I have been planning to attend the 2013 event. I never could have imagined that when it came time for the event that I would be living in Tennessee and the trip to Jeff’s hometown would only be a short 3 hours away instead of a 12 hour drive.
Jeff’s sister, Terri, reached out to me before I had moved to Tennessee to make sure I was planning to attend, which of course I was. At that point, the plan was hatched for Jamie to come visit me and attend the homecoming event. Who knew that making plans to attend this one event would turn into a 10 day vacation in Tennessee for Jamie and I would be living in Tennessee at that point?
Jesse, Triumphant's bus driver does a little kissing up
The day finally arrived, I picked Jamie up in Hendersonville and we made our way to Bowling Green, KY to check in our hotel. The whole time I was in Bowling Green, I couldn’t help but think of some of my Texas friends, Taylor and John, who sing The Everly Brothers classic song, Bowling Green.
Of course we arrived extremely early so we had a little time to talk with Terri before the nearly sold out crowd arrived. The event has been held for years, according to Jeff it used to be a two day event with multiple groups and would draw around 1500 to 1800 people. Jeff said that he would love to see the event grow to that size again. Scotty Inman’s wife, Kasey, grew up in neighboring Morgantown, KY and remembers going to those events.
The night had many special moments. One of them, at the request of Jeff’s mom, Evonia, during Goodbye World, Goodbye with David Sutton, instead of playing the piano as he always does Jeff played the accordion. Many people were not aware Jeff played the accordion. It was so awesome to see him play, since one of the first conversations I had with Jeff was about all the different instruments he can play.
Goodbye World, Goodbye
As we returned to our seats after intermission they held a few drawings for tickets to upcoming Triumphant events, next year’s Jeff Stice Homecoming and some Triumphant CD's. Jeff’s adorable assistant Gracie, Terri’s granddaughter, helped him draw the winners.
Joshua Fit The Battle of Jericho, Jeff's First Piano Lesson and Last Date
One of the highlights of the night for me was to hear/see Jeff play “I’m Seein’ My Father in Me.” This has long been one of my favorite songs because of my love for my daddy, even before I had ever heard of Triumphant Quartet or Jeff Stice. I was pleased when I asked Jeff if he would play it sometime that he was actually planning on playing it at this event. It is something that I have been looking forward to for quite some time. He played it for his daddy, his hero and then he played Mansion Over The Hilltop for his momma.
I'm Seein' My Father In Me and Mansion Over The Hilltop
The best part of the evening that didn’t leave a dry eye in the whole auditorium is when Jeff’s father, Jimmy, took the stage to sing with Triumphant. For almost 8 years Jimmy hasn’t been able to speak a fluent sentence due to a stroke. However, as soon as you put a microphone next to him he can sing every word without missing a beat.
I can’t tell you what an honor it was to be in the audience to witness this. To see the joy in his eyes to be singing on stage with his son was priceless. And vice versa. Jeff adores his daddy and you could see how proud he was to have his daddy on stage with him. Truly a moment I will never forget.
Jeff's father, Jimmy, joined Triumphant on stage
The man of the hour, Jeff Stice
Terri, you are remarkable for putting such a special evening together. Thank you! I am truly honored to have been at this event and cannot wait for next year. Bigger and Better! We will get the event back to the sell out, ridiculously sized extravaganza that Jeff wants to see.
More photos available on Photobucket.