HolyCoast: Rockport 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Rockport 2011

I've finally had a chance to write up the report on this year's trip to the Rockport Gospel Music Festival in Rockport, TX.  It was our 13th trip to the Festival and as always was a great time with some very good friends.

Thanks to a great airfare deal on Southwest Airlines we spent most of Thursday traveling.  We launched from Ontario Airport this time, and rather than go straight to Houston we took the scenic route via Oakland.  From there it was on to Houston and a couple hour layover before the final flight to Corpus Christi.  We stopped by the auditorium as the were finishing the set-up and made it to the hotel by 10:30.  Took 12 hours to get there but it was worth it.

Friday dawned warm and somewhat humid as we went through the process of setting up the product table and getting our sound needs handled.  I needed to get some change for the table so I ran over to one of the local banks and got a reminder of why these trips are fun.  As I was walking out of the bank the manager yelled out to me that she wanted to shake my hand.  Turns out she recognized me from previous concerts and wanted to say hi.  That happens all the time when we're in Rockport.

We had a little time to enjoy the scenery and walked out to the end of the Rockport Fishing Pier which has to be at least 1/4 mile long.  Dolphins were swimming around near the pier as we took this photo:

Friday evening we were scheduled to go on at 7:45 but because of a mix-up in the schedule we ended up swapping with another group for an earlier time.  The house was full (about 1,200) when we went on and had a great time with the Winter Texan crowd (the folks with enough money to leave the cold weather states and head to the Gulf for a few weeks or months).

Saturday was a special day for us.  Two of my former lead singers now live in Texas and I arranged for both of those guys to join us for a reunion concert on Saturday night.  The manager of the Hampton Inn Rockport-Fulton graciously lent me the use of their meeting room and we spent an hour rehearsing with all six guys for the evening's performance.  It was great to see them again and hear them sing.  Here's a couple shots from the rehearsal:

Saturday evening we had an entire hour on the main stage for our Reunion show.  We did songs with three different combinations of the group, plus one song with 5 guys and 3 songs with all six.  Here are some photos:

Saturday night the forecast was calling for a chance of storms. Being a California boy who doesn't get to see thunderstorms very often I decided to leave the curtain in the room open a bit in case we had a storm overnight.

About 4:45 am I woke up from a dream that I had been on stage and people were taking my picture. Apparently the lightning flashes were incorporated into my dream because when I woke up the sky was doing things it doesn't do in California. Lightning was almost continuous all across the horizon. I looked at the radar on my phone and saw a big red bow echo coming our way. I also found out a tornado had been spotted near Rockport. Things were about to get exciting.

The rain started and quickly grew heavier as the winds began to howl. Within moments the rain was falling in torrential amounts and blowing sideways in winds that had to be 50+ miles per hour. Then came the hail which went from pea size to much larger - some areas in town got 1" hail which did a fair amount of damage. There was a tornado near us which caused some roof and tree damage. All-in-all a pretty wild 30 minutes.  I wrote an earlier piece about it here.

Sunday morning the group traveled to Sinton, TX and sang in the morning service at First Baptist Church. We enjoyed our time with the folks in Sinton, and really enjoyed hitting the Butter Churn buffet afterwards.

From Sinton we made the 30 mile dash back to Rockport to quickly set-up for the last session of the Festival at First Baptist Church. We sang to a very responsive full house of about 700.

Monday dawned early as we had to leave the hotel at 5:20 am to start the trip home.  14 hours later I finally walked in my front door after doing the CRP-HOU-OAK-ONT marathon.

There are some exciting things ahead for this Festival and we're looking forward to heading back there again in 2012.  There are a lot more photos here.

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