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|The Great Northwest Tour DAY 5 - July 16, 2010
||Leaving Seattle behind, the CenturyMen traveled about an hour and a half on two busses and crossed into Canada. The customs experience was painless and took less than thirty minutes and we were on our way to Vancouver. After lunch and shopping at Granville Island, the busses took the men to St. Andrew’s church and the ladies to the Four Seasons Hotel. The concert at St. Andrew’s – Wesley Church was a ticketed concert to benefit the homeless. The church was a spacious stone cathedral with beautiful stained glass windows and surprising acoustical warmth. After the rather dry acoustics of a church earlier in the tour, the men were required to make changes to adapt to the different environment and after walking and singing the room, they were able to make this adjustment quickly. The church was both an aesthetically and acoustically gratifying place to sing. The crowd was not large but very attentive and very grateful for our assistance with the homeless ministry of First Baptist Church and St. Andrew’s Wesley Church.
|The Great Northwest Tour DAY 6 - July 17, 2010
||The CenturyMen began the day with some free time to explore Vancouver. The skyline of the multicultural city is painted with skyscrapers and mountains. The world class port city attracts people of the Pacific Rim as well as America and has led to it being ranked in the top three most livable cities in the world. After lunch, rehearsals were held at Bethany Baptist Church, a Church affiliated with the North American Baptist Conference. Ray Woodard, Church Planting Coach, told us that when a large event is held, this church has let different groups used their spacious sanctuary. Ray spoke to the group at our devotional before the concert. The Vancouver “mission field” of three million people has over 200 different language groups. The Chinese population is second only to the English speaking population. Roman Catholics are the largest religious group and Baptist rank ninth, with Sikh, Buddhist and Muslim ranking just ahead of it at sixth, seventh, and eighth. It is in that environment that the CenturyMen have come to bring the gospel in music. We ask you to help us in prayer that our witness will be clear and effective.
|The Great Northwest Tour DAY 7 - July 18, 2010
||The CenturyMen led the worship service in the Towers Baptist Church in Richmond, BC on Sunday morning. TBC is a warm and friendly Chinese congregation and it was a joy to lead them in worship. Ray Woodard was there to interpret for the service. The CenturyMen were grateful for his ministry as well as the member of the congregation who found out that we were leaving after worship to find some lunch and who volunteered to feed us all after worship. The delicious Cantonese food was quickly consumed. After lunch, we boarded the busses made our way on a short trip to the ferry that took us to Victoria. The large ferry easily accommodated our busses and as we pulled into the lower deck, we were aware that there were cars parked on the deck above us. The hour and a half trip on the Tsawwassen Swartz Bay Ferry offered a scenic journey across the Straight of Georgia Vancouver Island and Victoria, BC. After checking into the hotel, the men went to church to sing at the end of the evening worship service, and will return Monday evening for a full concert.
|The Great Northwest Tour DAY 8- July 19, 2010
||The CenturyMen began their last day of the Great Northwest Tour with concerts on the steps of Parliament and in Bastion Square, a public market in Victoria. Victoria’s restaurants offered the CenturyMen many choices for local fresh seafood, especially fish and chips.
The last concert of the tour was at Central Baptist church in the city. The people in the audience came from several congregations including some who came as a result of the fliers that we passed out during our afternoon concerts. The final concert was well received and the pastor spoke words of affirmation and thanks that had us all grateful for the time together and for the unique way that the CenturyMen music evokes a spirit of heartfelt worship in singer and listener. Following the concert, we gathered for a farewell banquet at the hotel. Greg thanked everyone for their contribution to the trip, for indeed, many CenturyMen and wives have made an invaluable contribution toward the success of this ministry tour. Tommy Webster received his ring. Then Buryl spoke briefly and the CenturyMen gave his a standing ovation for him, his music and his commitment to excellence. Tuesday morning we began to make our way back to the US. The ferry ride was a relaxing conclusion to a busy week of singing. The U.S. customs experience was a bit less relaxing as we had to completely unload the busses, walk our luggage and carry-ons through gates manned by only 2 agents and then reload the busses. Even though the whole process only took an hour, it seemed longer and thankfully the delay did not cause difficulty for those flying out that evening. As we look back on the week with gratitude, we look forward to January, 2011, when we will meet again in Nashville for the purpose of recording a new CD. “God be with you ‘til we meet again!”
|I-40 , We 40 Tour, Day 1 September 24, 2009
||Once again the CenturyMen gathered from their respective cities to join together for the common purpose of joining hearts and voices in the songs of faith that have been a trademark of the group for 40 years. Ellendale Baptist Church outside of Memphis, TN is the gathering place. It is the home church of Tommy Webster, the current president. Tommy, known far and wide for his love of word play, has selected as a theme for the 9 day tour one that has a bit of Native American flavor to it…the “I-40, We 40” tour. The tour will take us up and down Interstate 40 as we celebrate our 40th anniversary…thus the title. The first day was spent in rehearsals from 2:30 until 8:30. Buryl did his usual masterful job of getting the most out of the group, overcoming the usual difficulties of the first rehearsal like the Thursday blues (after late Wednesday rehearsals), long flights and drives and the need to socialize with each other, etc. His focus was to inject something new into some of the old songs in our repertoire. He shared his concept of each piece. We then rehearsed it and he helped us measure up! Joseph, at the piano, acted in concert with Buryl to create this atmosphere of creativity and expression. Their leadership is downright inspirational! A new position created for this tour is the position of “swing” singer. These “swing” singers are used to augment different voice parts in the music, when more is required. You can only imagine the word plays by all the jokesters in the group on the term “swing” singers! By the end of the day we had close to 85 men in attendance, with more to join us as the week goes on.
|I-40, We 40 Tour, Day 2 September 25, 2009
||After a good rest at the Doubletree Inn and a nice hot breakfast (a key to making a CenturyMen happy is a nice, full, hot breakfast) we launched into rehearsals. By noon, we had rehearsed and tweaked 11 tunes, and reorganized ourselves, with the help of Joel Duncan, into quartets. Ward Weaver paid us a visit with his son Matt. He seemed pleased to sing with us, “God Be with You,” and we were pleased that he made the effort to join us for awhile. Buryl rehearsed us with intentionality and intensity. Rehearsing each phrase and polishing it to his expectations sometimes requires singing a single phrase several times, but not with boring meaningless repetition. His ability to describe what kind of sound he wants calls us to the timbres of clarinets and saxophones, and even the Duke Ellington winds. Quite often he meets us down at our level to bring us up to his level by challenging us with anatomical allusions to such things as flabby tones. He has brought new understanding to the strength of singing with “rounded” tones. Charlie Fuller had an opportunity to lead us in some helpful vocal exercises and will be seen more regularly before the group. We finished the day with a tour of Graceland followed by a reception at Graceland in the museum full of cars owned by Elvis. The gathering was hosted by Babby Levitt and other friends of the CenturyMen. Also, at the reception, we were given a copy of Joseph’s new CD, “TOTAL PRAISE – Classic Hymns for Piano,” available through GIA Music. Many of us closed the day listening to the rich sounds of “Total Praise,” “Blessed Assurance,” “My Tribute,” and twelve other favorite hymns recently recorded by Joseph.
|I-40, We 40 Tour, Day 3 September 26, 2009
||After a day of rehearsals, the CenturyMen are in good shape for their first concert - Morning Worship at Ellendale Baptist. The folks of Ellendale Baptist have hosted us well -providing meals, snacks and lots of bottled water, as well as a beautiful place to practice then sing in on Sunday morning. Tommy Webster, in spite of an accident that has left him to get around on crutches or his little electric cart has not slowed down a bit in seeing that every “t” is crossed and every “i” is dotted. We have even had a “gift du jour.” At each rehearsal and meal he has arranged a gift in celebration of our 40th anniversary…an umbrella, a shoe buffer, a refrigerator magnet, a flashlight, a pen, and a travel mug. He is to be commended for the extra effort he has made as he is still healing from a pretty bad fall just a few weeks ago. After rehearsals we headed to downtown Memphis and The popular Rendezvous World Famous Barbecue Restaurant. The generous buffet met the first standard of “real barbecue” around these parts - killing a PIG. It was good eatin’ and enjoyed by everyone. After dinner we headed to the annual business meeting at the hotel. By the way, if you haven't seen a picture of your favorite Centuryman in the single or group shots, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and you will soon see a photographic confirmation that he really is on the trip!!
|I-40, We 40 Tour, Day 4 September 27, 2009
||The CenturyMen sang for morning worship at Ellendale Baptist Church on Sunday morning. We could not have asked for a better host church, nor a more responsive congregation to launch us on our 40th anniversary tour up and down the I-40 corridor. The morning was all the more meaningful to us because of the 2 young high school students who came forward to declare their faith in the Lord. Not coincidentally, our devotional thought for the day, written by David Nolte, our chaplain, was entitled, “He Who Has Ears to Hear.” It was a blessing to know that we had a small part in the hearing of the word through our music. After lunch we said "adieu" to the Bartlett area, realizing that we will be returning at the end of the week for our anniversary banquet. West Jackson, and Ricky Clark were ready for us when we arrived after the 2 hour trip east up the interstate. A beautiful, large sanctuary was very full for the early evening service. The people of the church were enthusiastic in their welcome and very responsive to the sounds of the CenturyMen as we worked our way through the program, singing the Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual songs of our gracious Lord. After the program, we were treated to a tasty Ribfest. (plus chicken and the trimmings) The men will sleep well tonight!
|I-40, We 40 Tour, Day 5 September 28, 2009
||Our first stop today was Union University, a Baptist University in Jackson, TN. Union suffered a devastating loss of most of its campus by the whirlwinds of a tornado 2 years ago, but the school is well on the way to recovery. We sang a brief concert, hosted by the chairman of the music department, Dr. Chris Matthews. Then we were off to sing an evening concert in Nashville at the Hermitage Hills Baptist Church, hosted by CenturyMan Dan Arterburn.
The CenturyMen have a long, rich history of 40 years. We will be celebrating our anniversary at a banquet Friday night at the end of this tour. Throughout its history the CenturyMen have been a consistent witness of men serving in the music ministries throughout the world. Each man has a different story of joining the CenturyMen. The charter members (18 are still active in the group) saw the vision cast by such folks as Joe Ann Shelton and Paul Stevens and have remained in the group from the beginning. Others have heard and responded to the sounds of the CenturyMen during Music Week at Glorietta or Ridgecrest, or in a local church during one of our tours. Still others have grown up with the music of the CenturyMen being played in their home. Ricky Clark was one such person. In his devotion before the concert at Hermitage Hills, he told his story of growing up hearing, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” as it opened the radio program, “The Baptist Hour” every Sunday morning. It is an incredible gift that the song of the CenturyMen heard by several generations, is now the song that the generations get to sing together. “It would be 12 years or so before I would have the privilege of singing with this esteemed group,” Ricky said, “…the beauty of what the CenturyMen sang drew me to the message of what the CenturyMen sang. The power and majesty and unique sounds we get to make are pleasing to the ears, but what we sing is nourishment for the soul.” And may it be for many generations and more!!
|I-40, We 40 Tour, Day 6 September 29, 2009
||As we made our way east on I-40, reflecting on our experiences thus far, we moved on toward our next stop, Jefferson City and the First Baptist Church. On the way we stopped in Knoxville for lunch at a mall where the men enjoyed the chance to get out and stretch their legs, though we usually get pretty exercised as we practice the line up each evening! Joel Duncan rehearses our entrances and exits and our standing and sitting to perfection. He does a great job of it, paying attention and correcting every sloppy movement. He introduced the crisscross entrance at the evening concert and CenturyMen history was made with a new, classy entrance across the stage. There were only a few near misses as the men dodged each other on their way to their seats in the loft. Many think the entrance was worthy of YouTube and we anticipate something along the lines of a play book to study with our music in preparation for tours in the future. Joel puts up with a lot of moaning and groaning (something most men would not tolerate in their own choirs) but presses on towards excellence, and we are grateful for the energy he expends getting us in and out in an orderly fashion. Kim Bowen and the good folks at FBC Jefferson City were ready for us with lots of surpises to help us celebrate our 40th anniversary tour…goodie bags packed with treats, prize drawings, and even 40th anniversary mints. They fed us a great barbecue and then packed the sanctuary for the evening program. The Spirit of the Lord was powerful, once again, as we led the people in worship…reminding us of His faithfulness to be present where even “two or three are gathered in His Name.”
|I-40, We 40 Tour, Day 7 September 30, 2009
||The bus trip to Charlotte was a pleasant one. The weather was cool and clear as we made our way along I-40 winding its way through the lofty mountain grandeur and deep cut gorges of such rivers as the Green, Clinch and French Broad. Pritchard Memorial Baptist stands just south Charlotte on the city's edge. The CenturyMen found the sanctuary acoustically alive and a very good space to sing in. David Bailes, Minister of Music and our narrating CenturyMan, was our host for the evening concert at 7 pm. Several CenturyMen were represented by bus loads of people from their churches, so the crowd reached near capacity of the sanctuary. The gathered congregation of friends from near and far were with us in mind and spirit from Joseph’s pre-concert piano music to the last note of “God Be With You.” The church will feed us breakfast in the morning as we head to our last concert in Maryville, TN.
|I-40, We 40 Tour, Day 8 October 1, 2009
||The Pritchard Memorial members gave the CenturyMen a hearty breakfast and we were off to Maryville, TN, our last stop on this year’s tour. At one point on this year’s tour, 91 men were in attendance. The current membership is 124 CenturyMen representing 16 states and 1 foreign country. Texas claims 31, Georgia, 20, Tennessee 19, and the other states of AR, NC, SC, IL, AL, MS, MO, LA, MO, KY, OK, VA, and NY each has from 1-10 members. Since we are self supporting, we are always looking for people to support our ministry. Each man pays his own way, and since we do not have a large organization that supports us, the financial responsibility rests on each CenturyMan. If you would like to make a tax deductible contribution, please contact us at the CenturyMen, P.O.293232, Nashville, TN 37229.
After a dinner at the beautiful home of Bob and Martha Robinson, the last concert of the tour was given at the First Baptist Church of Maryville, TN. The concert, hosted by Cameron Dahl, Bob Robinson, and Tim Purvis, was well received by a standing room only crowd.
|I-40, We 40 Tour, Day 8 October 1, 2009
||Clark’s Top Ten List
Top 10 Changes Anticipated at the 50th Anniversary Tour
10. Staple menu of hearty ribs will be replaced by pureed Spam.
9. Rather than just one CenturyMen, all CenturyMen will be riding a scooter cart.
8. Since CenturyMen will be riding scooter carts, Joel’s crisscrossing concert lineups will resemble the clown cars in a Shriner’s parade.
7. Rather than selective CenturyMen assisting Renay on and off the platform, Renay will be assisting all CenturyMen on and off the platform.
6. Updated music arrangements will include “Sit Down, O Men of God,” “Every Time I Pass the Men’s Room,” and “Nature’s Call, Our Answer.”
5.After several revisions to amendment concerning membership identify issues, rather than being associated with the Southern Baptist Convention, CenturyMen will be the musical arm of ACORN.
4. Rather than being seated every 4 songs, singers will be seated following each song and be given 3 potty breaks per concert.
3. Total CenturyMen number greatly reduced due to Dennis Bucher’s wrong turn during concert procession, resulting in the loss of 34 singers last seen marching single file on Interstate 85 just outside Atlanta.
2. Rather than pre-pasted toothbrushes, CenturyMen dressing rooms will be supplied with denture soak glasses and Polident.
1. Logo-stamped Depends for everyone!!
|I-40, We 40 Tour, Day9 October 2, 2009
||Friday began with a bus trip from Maryville back to Memphis. The 6 hour bus trip gave us all a chance to relax, reflect and catch up on some “Andy of Mayberry” episodes! We took a lunch break at Brooksie’s Barn, an all-you-can-eat buffet about an hour from Memphis. The final tour event was the gala 40th anniversary banquet at Woodland Hills. The banquet was well attended by present and past CenturyMen as well as many guests. Tommy’s program for the evening included: dinner; an address by Dr. Jimmy Allen, a friend of the CenturyMen for many of the 40 years of existence; Recognition of the Charter Members present (there were 17); a brief candle lighting memorial service for those CenturyMen who have joined the heavenly chorus (there are 26); presentation of new member certificates; a multimedia presentation celebrating 40 years; special recognitions of Dianna Shearon and Max Lyall for their service to the CenturyMen; presentation of the president’s ring to immediate past president, Stan Pylant; and words from Buryl on the theme, “Looking Backward/Looking Forward.” It was an enjoyable evening and a big thank you goes to President Tommy and all those responsible for the festive celebration that capped off a very good anniversary tour.
|The Great Northwest Tour DAY 1 - July 12, 2010,
||Day One, July 12, 2010
Most of Day one of the CenturyMen Great Northwest Tour was spent gathering from all over the country, catching up on the latest news and, of course, rehearsing. Rehearsals are being held at the First Presbyterian Church of Seattle, which is a short hike across Interstate 5 from the hotel. Buryl was ready to go to work as we gathered at 5 pm and his enthusiasm was returned by the men in typical CenturyMen fashion. Greg Stahl, this year’s president, then took the floor for a few minutes to go over the week’s schedule and answer any questions about the 8 days that are before us. He has done a lot of work to put this event together, and was well prepared to make sure that we all had the information we needed. Then Charlie introduced us to his concept of the vocal warm up (which he says is really not a warm up). The exercise will begin each time with the “walk and sing” technique as each CenturyMan walks around the room exercising his voice and listening to the room. This cacophony lasts 2 0r 3 three minutes and dissolves into unison exercises. We then finished the day with a rehearsal of “The Impossible Dream.” The humor of the selection was not lost as we all struggled to stay alert in a time zone that was different by 2 or 3 hours. Our 8 o’clock rehearsal in Seattle was really a 10 or 11 o’clock rehearsal back home for most of us. Funny thing is, Buryl was just coming to life as we wrapped things up!!
The CenturyMen Great Northwest Tour
July 12 – 20, 2010
Monday, July 12 SEATTLE
7:00 PM Rehearsal
Tuesday, July 13 SEATTLE
All Day Rehearsal
Wednesday, July 14 TACOMA
7:00 – 8:30 PM Concert at First Baptist Church, Tacoma, WA
Thursday, July 15 TACOMA
7:00 PM Concert at Life Center Church, Tacoma
Friday, July 16 VANCOUVER
7:00 – 8:30 PM Concert at St. Andrew’s - Wesley United Church, Vancouver
Saturday, July 17 VANCOUVER
7:00 – 8:30 PM Concert at Bethany Baptist Church, Vancouver
Sunday, July 18 REDMOND AND VICTORIA, BC
11:00 AM Concerts at Chinese Baptist Church and Central Baptist (mini concert)
Monday, July 19 VICTORIA
10:30 AM Concert on Parliament Steps
11:30 AM Concert at Christ Church Cathedral
12:30 PM Concert at Bastion Square
7:00 – 8:30 PM Concert at Central Baptist Church, Victoria
Tuesday, July 20 SEATTLE
Return to Seattle
|The Great Northwest Tour DAY 2 - July 13, 2010
||Today was rehearsal day…all day. We were able to cover all of the music we will be performing on this tour, which made Buryl happy. Tomorrow, we will go to Tacoma for a concert at the First Baptist Church; however, most of the day for the CenturyMen will be spent polishing the selections we have been rehearsing. We would like to encourage everyone to pray for the events on this tour, that God will be pleased and that people will turn out who need what the CenturyMen can offer through these concerts of encouraging, faith building music.
|The Great Northwest Tour DAY3 - July 14, 2010
||Wednesday began for the CenturyMen as they loaded a bus to travel to the Tacoma First Baptist Church, “a multicultural church for all Nations.” Wives and friends went on another bus for a tour of the museum of glass. Greg Stahl noted that Tacoma FBC is the largest Baptist Church in the State of Washington. It’s large, mostly Korean congregation, is led by a staff of both Korean and English speaking pastors that sees as its mission field the different social, economic and ethnic groups in the Seattle/Tacoma metropolitan area. This exceptional congregation has a rich history of church choral music that includes an annual Messiah Christmas concert with full orchestra. Their warm reception of the CenturyMen was evident in the delicious food they served us at lunch and dinner and the energetic applause accompanied by cheers of encouragement. Pastor Moon commented that his was not just a performance of music, but was a time of worship. Amen, Pastor.
|The Great Northwest Tour DAY 4 - July 15, 2010
||The CenturyMen had the morning off and many spent it soaking up the beautiful day. Seattle has many sights that require more than a casual glance. The city stands tall in this part of the world, but even the tallest buildings can’t compare to Mt. Rainier which rises on the distant horizon. The fog had rolled in this morning and covered the trees and rocks and small hills that lie at its foot and the distant mountain looked as if it were floating in the air. The morning’s activities were a good change of pace and the CenturyMen found it refreshing as they explored all the city has to offer. Then it was off to Tacoma and the Life Center Church. The evening service drew a crowd that expressed its thanks in a very energetic way. In fact, the people were so appreciative that Kenton Lee, Music Ministries Pastor, asked us to repeat “Every Time I Feel the Spirit,” which we did. Then Buryl decided to sing “The Impossible Dream.” During this concert we sang the “Heavenly Medley” in its spot, and it was an emotional moment for many who knew and loved the arranger, Max Lyall, who passed away this year. He was a charter member and accompanist for most of our 40 years of singing together. Then, when Buryl couldn’t quite locate the music for “The Impossible Dream” he turned around and said to the congregation, “You are probably wondering why I need to look at my music since I was the one who composed it. Well, I have a lot of ideas in my head and I have to look because sometimes I forget which ones I used.” It was a reminder of how fortunate we are to have him as our director and friend and to benefit from such creativity.