Horizon Group of the Year and the NQC Mainstage

My post on the LeFevre Quartet’s dissatisfaction with not being invited to appear on the main stage at last year’s National Quartet Convention sparked an interesting discussion. Several people have made interesting comments, but one in particular was thought-provoking enough that it deserves a post of its own. In answer to the assumption (inherent in David Staton’s argument) that Horizon Groups of the Year should get an NQC mainstage slot, “Clarence” observed:

The Horizon Award winning group has been left off the main stage before. Common Bond and the Florida Melody Boys won the award back in the ’90’s and never did get a mainstage slot that I recall.

He has a valid point.

Let’s look at all the Horizon Groups of the Year since the award was instituted (as “Favorite Newcomer”) in 1984:

  • 2006: LeFevre Quartet (not mainstage)
  • 2005: Mercy’s Mark
  • 2004: Safe Harbor
  • 2003: Signature Sound Quartet
  • 2002: Carolina Boys
  • 2001: Old Time Gospel Hour Quartet
  • 2000: Legacy Five
  • 1999: Dove Brothers Quartet
  • 1998: Florida Melody Boys
  • 1997: Talley Trio
  • 1996: Common Bond
  • 1995: Won By One
  • 1994: Brian Free & Assurance
  • 1993: Kevin Spencer Family
  • 1992: Mullins
  • 1991: Perfect Heart
  • 1990: Down East Boys
  • 1989: Kingdom Heirs
  • 1988: Dixie Melody Boys
  • 1987: Gerald Wolfe
  • 1986: Mid South Boys
  • 1985: Bo Hinson
  • 1984: Talleys
  • 1983: Kingsboys

Of these twenty-four groups and individuals, over half did not appear on the NQC 2006 mainstage: LeFevre Quartet, Signature Sound Quartet, Carolina Boys (on a technicality), Florida Boys, Common Bond, Won by One, Kevin Spencer Family (I think), Mullins, Perfect Heart, Mid South Boys (I think), Bo Hinson, the Talleys, and the Kingsboys.

What I do not know is how many of these groups never appeared on the mainstage. Even 1/8 (which is what it would be with only Common Bond, the Florida Melody Boys, and the LeFevre Quartet) would be a sufficiently large fraction to show that this decision is not unprecedented.