For nearly three hours last Friday, the combined Southern Gospel talents of the Booth Brothers and Ernie Haase and Signature Sound both entertained and inspired an estimated crowd of 600 at Hope's Hempstead Hall.
For nearly three hours last Friday, the combined Southern Gospel talents of the Booth Brothers and Ernie Haase and Signature Sound both entertained and inspired an estimated crowd of 600 at Hope’s Hempstead Hall.
Concert goer Marvin Smith said, “It was a great show; there is nothing like some good old fashioned Southern Gospel. They could have played another three hours as far as I was concerned. The Booth Brothers are great; I’ve seen them many times before. They are always good.”
Local Gospel singer, Brady Rhodes, the 2017 Watermelon Idol and Southwest District Fair winner, also attended the concert, and he said “I am having a great time. This is a great show. I love it.”
The show itself, started off with all seven singers from the Booth Brothers, and Haase’s Signature Sound, performing a pair of upbeat Southern Gospel songs with a piano player before Booth left the stage to Haase.
Hasse and his three member Signature Sound group then had the stage for the next hour, mostly singing selections from their new Clear Skies CD. Their part of the performance also featured a solo performance of “Old Man River” by deep-voiced Paul Harkey, who had also released a solo album.
Afterwards, the Booth Brothers trio took the stage with energetic Michael David Booth playing the role of MC and comedian. Booth had also joked with Haase for several minutes in the show’s opening, and his brother, Ronnie Booth sang a solo rendition of Hymnal standard “Holy, Holy, Holy.”
On stage, Haase said it was his group’s first visit to Hempstead Hall, and the intermission, Haase said “The building is beautiful; we had not been in here before, but no matter where we perform, it comes back to the people. Buildings are brick and mortar; its always the people make the show. And, this was not my first visit to Hope; I was here many years ago. When ever I come, the people here have always been very gracious and kind.”
Haase said he recalled performing in Hope years ago at the old Fair Park Coliseum. Haase was already well-established as the former tenor singer of the legendary Southern Gospel group, The Cathedrals.
Rhodes, with his mom Shelly, met Haase in person during the show’s 15-minute intermission. Rhodes has made a name for himself locally by signing Southern Gospel music at venues like Unity Baptist Church, where he performed on New Year’s Eve.
When asked if he would like to be on the Hempstead stage with Haase or the Booth Brothers singing, Rhodes replied enthusiastically, “Oh yeah. I’d be up there in a heartbeat.”
Up on stage, Michael David Booth of the Booth Brothers recalled a story from his own youth, first meeting Haase a tour bus in Florida, and being a volunteer to unload some equipment.
“Now, we are here together on stage, and singing the praises of the Lord,” Booth said.
What ended up being the show’s third hour, after individual one-hour segments from Haase and Signature Sound and the Booth Brothers, was a supergroup performance by both of them, with Ronnie Booth playing guitar, Michael David Booth on the drums, and Haase the acting MC.
Together, they blended almost seamlessly as if they were already a well-seasoned mega group, singing in a Bluegrass country ballad style and belting out hits, like the Gatlin Brothers classic, “All The Gold In California,” and closed with rousing renditions of “Amen, Amen” and “Fly Away.”