Saturday, April 25, 2009

The GMA & the Dove Awards in Nashville

This past week the Gospel Music Association held its annual convention here in Nashville. (I remember that when I first became interested in Southern gospel music, the National Quartet Convention was held here every year, but then it moved to Louisville.)

Thursday evening the GMA's Dove Awards were presented in a televised show in the (new) Grand Ole Opry House. One could wish the awards had been presented in Ryman Auditorium, which still bears on its keystone the name "Union Gospel Tabernacle". But be that as it may the GMA passed up the opportunity to connect with real history in a really historical venue.

Steven Curtis Chapman, one of my favorites among currently-active artists of the contemporary Christian music genre, received the Dove Award for Artist of the Year. Ernie Haase & Signature Sound received the Dove for Southern Gospel Recorded Song of the Year for "Reason Enough", and the Gaither Vocal Band got the one for SG Album of the Year. Jeff & Sheri Easter, a husband and wife duo whom I've esteemed since I became a fan of SG music in 1991, garnered two Doves, for Bluegrass Recorded Song and for Bluegrass Album.

Point of Grace received an interesting Dove, for Country Recorded Song! Interesting, because I've liked this female quartet (actually currently down to a trio while one member takes time off for child rearing) ever since I heard them live during the Billy Graham Crusade in Nashville's Adelphi Colosseum in 1999 -- but I had considered them to be of the contemporary style. Well, I became aware that they were on the edge between contempo and country when after my return to Nashville last year they were guests on the Grand Ole Opry more than once. And also I heard them live again in concert in the chapel of Trevecca Nazarene University (practically next door to Mercury Courts where I live)last September. Point of Grace is terrific, however one classifies their musical style!

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