Hickory, NC Aug, 17th 2023~ Nestled in the Foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina lies the quaint town of Hickory. It was recently named the “Most beautiful and affordable place to Live” and it’s not hard to see why. If you love nature, beautiful scenery, and friendly people, you will likely love the town of Hickory. That being said, however, none of that was the reason for my visit, but it was a nice added bonus.
I was in town to attend the CELEBRATION In The Foothills Concert hosted by The Mylon Hayes Family, and it definitely did not disappoint on that front either! This was my first time attending the Celebration In The Foothills, but good Lord willing, it won’t be the last.
I knew upon arrival at the church that good things were in store when I saw the line to get inside wrapped around the church. Once inside, my friend and I were welcomed by none other than Gary Casto of Tribute Quartet, one of the nicest and most genuine people you will meet. We then made our way into the sanctuary, and what a gorgeous sanctuary it is, my compliments to all the folks there at Open Door Baptist Church. Everyone was super friendly and helpful, making sure everyone found a seat and assisted in getting folks to and from their cars. They couldn’t have been more welcoming!
Starting off the night were Jim and Melissa Brady, let me just say, you will be hard-pressed to find two people who exude more Joy on stage than these two. Their energy is infectious, and you can’t help but love them. They sang several songs but the highlight for me was their rendition of “Walking On The Kings Highway” what great energy and fun! The crowd really seemed to enjoy this one, especially when Michael Booth joined them for the encores!
Up next was the host group for the evening, The Mylon Hayes Family. For anyone unfamiliar, I highly recommend seeing them in concert or better yet, having them in your church. With excellent family harmony and beautiful hearts for the Lord, they will not disappoint. My favorite from this talented family happens to be their current radio single “Jesus Loves You” written by Rodney Griffin. Another standout would be the powerful and dramatic song, “The Witness Stand” which features Kennedy Hayes doing an incredible job.
The third group of the evening is no stranger to quartet fans, one of the most popular and loved Southern Gospel Quartets out there today, Tribute Quartet, which includes the aforementioned Gary Casto, along with Josh Singletary, Gus Gaches, and Ian Owens. This was Tribute’s first time being at the Foothills Celebration (And hopefully not the last). They opened the set with their hit song “Halfway Up The Mountain” written by Jeff Bumgardner, Wayne Haum & and Joel Lindsey. The song was recently the #1 song for the month of July. They did an array of other hits, Including the fan favorite and #1 Song of the Year for 2021 “I Call It Home” written by the legendary Squire Parsons. Tribute was definitely loved by the crowd and one of the night’s favorites, with emcee Duane Garren calling the group back onstage for an encore.
Closing out the first half was none other than The Booth Brothers, consisting of Michael Booth, Jim Brady, and Buddy Mullins. As far as trios go, there is probably no one more recognizable in Southern Gospel Music than The Booth Brothers. Over the years they have had numerous awards and #1 songs, and continue to be one of the fan favorites today. It doesn’t take but a few minutes to see why they are so loved, with the sincere hearts, and beautiful vocal blend, paired with a little humor, and you have a wonderful combination for a great time in God’s house. Most often for me, it’s not the big rousing toe-tappers that steal the show, but the heart-squeezing ballads that speak to the soul that seem to win me over. Michael Booth conveys that with such pure heart and emotion in the ballad “Almost Morning” written by Joseph Habedank. This for me was particularly moving and one of the night’s standout moments.
After intermission, all of the groups took to the stage and each sang one more song. Closing out the evening were The Booth Brothers featuring Michael Booth on what many would call his Signature Song, “Look For Me At Jesus Feet” Also joining them on this, singing bass, was Ian Owens of Tribute Quartet. I can’t think of a better way to end the service, than with such a great “heart moment.
To sum it up I would say that the Celebration In The Foothills is a night of worship that I will not soon forget, if you haven’t ever attended this event, definitely make plans to go next year…I know I am! Thank you to The Mylon Hayes Family and Open Door Baptist Church for being such wonderful hosts, and we hope to see you again next year!