Special Events Take the Smoky Mountains to Another Level

Activities, Smoky Mountain Tour Guide

Whether it’s the magnitude of the Smoky Mountains, the wholesome family attractions or simply the warmth and hospitality of the people, faith-based groups have always been comfortable in the area

For 2020, two major events will provide even more wonderful memories for attendees. The inaugural Sing Smokies A Smoky Mountain Choral Festival will be held three amazing days, June 2, 3 and 4. Then, from September 28-30, Dr. James Merritt will bring his energy and knowledge as a keynote speaker at the National Quartet Convention Premier Experience.

The June midweek Spring Choral Festival provides adult choirs and churches the opportunity to get firsthand mentoring from world-class worship leaders. The highlight for each choir might be the taping for television of their live performance the final evening. Before that closing event, there are wonderful activities awaiting the choirs. Upon arrival in Pigeon Forge and checking into the host hotel, you’ll depart for Sevierville’s First Baptist Church. Choirs will be introduced to the choir clinicians they’ll be working with for the next two days.

Mike Speck is a gospel musician and ordained minister who travels with a gospel music trio. Speck has served as minister of music at churches in Virginia and North Carolina and was the choir director for the Southern Baptist Convention in 1988. Speck and his wife Faye arrange music for church choirs and nine of their choral collections have been nominated for Dove Awards. In 2014, they were nominated and received the Dove Award for Best Choral Collection.

Cliff Duren’s first calling took him to Woodstock, Georgia after earning his Masters Degree of Church Music. His music service led him to Tennessee in 2012 where he served as Minister of Music and Worship at The Church at Station Hill and as Associate Worship Minister at Brentwood Baptist Church. Today, Duren is Senior Minister of Music and Worship returning to First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Georgia. Duren also arranges, orchestrates and produces music resources for various church music publishers and Christian artists. He is a two-time Dove Award winner.

The Isaacs

From six seasons of Fox’s hit series Glee, to Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime show, Tim Davis’ work spans the industry in every direction. If you’ve been to a Disney theme park, played a video game, bought a pop album, seen a TV show or commercial or even a film in the past 20 years, you’ve likely heard Tim’s voice or heard one of his vocal arrangements. The evening ends with a special concert by The Isaacs. This multiaward-winning family group based in Henderson, Tennessee, has been performing for 35 years. Playing their own acoustic instruments and joined by other band members, The Isaacs have a distinctive style. The tight family harmony of vocalist mother Lily Isaacs and siblings Sonya Isaacs Yeary and Ben Isaacs and Rebecca Isaacs Bowman blends with the contemporary instrumentation so popular with all audiences.

Cana’s Voice

Tuesday morning begins with a return to First Baptist Church Sevierville for three sessions conducted by your choir technicians Mike Speck, Cliff Duren and musical guests, The Isaacs. After lunch with a local comedian, it’s off to Dollywood for an afternoon of free time. Dollywood offers visitors 40 world-class rides, high-energy entertainment and unique artisans. Begin your day with breakfast at your host hotel before session four for hands-on instruction with both Mike Speck and Cliff Duren. Rehearsals follow beginning late morning and continue to early afternoon. Choirs have free time for the afternoon before the evening’s public concert and live taping of the show.


Usher out summer and welcome fall at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge, your host venue for a dozen big names in gospel individual and group performances at an NQC Premier Experience, a VIP Event with Dr. James Merritt.

Dr. James Merritt

A popular and requested speaker, Dr. Merritt is the featured speaker for Touching Lives, a nationwide television ministry. Dr. Merritt has pastored in Kentucky and Mississippi and is now senior pastor at Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Georgia. He’s published several books and served two years as President of the Southern Baptist Conventions. He’s also served as chairman of the SBC Executive Committee and president of the SBC Pastor’s Conference.

Conference-goers will stay at the Country Cascades Resort Hotel and enjoy a special VIP Welcome Reception. You’ll have VIP seating for the opening night of the 2020 National Quartet Convention. The 2020 lineup of entertainers was not available at publishing, but could feature performers such as Jim & Melissa Brady, Hoppers, Greater Vision, Mark Trammell Quartet and many others.

Start your day with a deluxe mountain breakfast, included in your package, followed by a morning devotional with a special guest speaker. Your morning also includes a main stage message by Dr. Merritt. The afternoon features a Four Member National Quartet Hall of Fame Induction and benefit concert.

There’s free time this afternoon and you may want to visit The Island. There are gift shops, cafes and restaurants, and a Dancing Water Fountain Display set to music every hour. For a birds-eye view of the area, try The Wheel rising 200 feet above the city. Tonight, you’ll have VIP Seating for the NQC Main Stage performances.

After another wonderful breakfast, your day will start at Dollywood with an inspirational message given by Dr. Merritt. After Dr. Merritt’s message, the park is yours for the day with 40 rides, live shows and crafts. The Southern Gospel Hall of Fame is a must-see. Also included with today’s events is an exclusive to NQC VIP attendees, a meet & greet with Dr. Merritt & NQC Performers. toursmokies.com

Latest Traveling Tribes Podcast

Featured Activity

Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium

Situated in the heart of Missouri, the Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium captivates visitors with a diverse array of creatures from land and sea. From the intriguing depths of the Sobela Ocean Aquarium, home to over 8,000 marine species, to the expansive grounds showcasing wildlife from across continents, it’s a celebration of nature’s marvels. A must-visit destination for a comprehensive zoological experience.

Download Latest Issue

Recent from Activities

Excellent Aquatic Adventures in Great Rivers Country

Excellent Aquatic Adventures in Great Rivers Country

Hit the Rapids & Hike the Bluffs in this picturesque part of Illinois Few destinations in the Midwest can rival the beauty of Illinois’ Great Rivers Country. This picturesque region is named for the Mississippi and Illinois rivers that carve through its rolling...

Beyond the Bean: Things To Do in Chicago and Beyond

Beyond the Bean: Things To Do in Chicago and Beyond

Unleash your inner explorer in the Chicagoland area Chicago, and its surrounding cities, offers something for everyone in your group. History buffs can delve into museums, nature enthusiasts can explore parks and gardens, foodies can indulge in diverse cuisines and...

Subscribe for Free