Friday, April 30, 2010

Priscilla McGruder Has Gone Home to Jesus

Beloved gospel singer Priscilla McGruder has passed away, according to family spokesperson Beverly McManus.

McManus posted on a recently created Facebook page, People Praying for Carroll & Priscilla Mcgruder, “Our beloved Priscilla has won the race, received her reward and is seeing it all from Heaven’s Point of View! Thank you all so much for love, prayers and support! We love you!

Join us in praying for the McGruder family. More details will be posted as they become available.

Apr 30/10 - from SG Reporter - with thanks to Chuck Peters:


Family, loved ones and the nation mourns the passing of one of the life’s treasures and certainly one of the most effective Ministers of Music in our lifetime. Surely Heaven rejoices as Priscilla enters the pearly gates....”we call it special, the special call it home.”

Surrounded by her loving family and in the comfort of her own home Priscilla Elaine McGruder passed away Thursday following an extensive illness. She was 61. Priscilla is survived by her husband of thirty four years Carroll L. McGruder, three children, six grandchildren and six siblings. Home Going Services will begin at 1:00PM on Wednesday May 5th, 2010 at First United Pentecostal Church, Kennett, Missouri

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Daywind Music Publishing Celebrates Big Success During 2010 Dove Week

Daywind receives multiple BMI Awards and takes home a Dove

Nashville, Tenn. (April 29, 2010) – Last Tuesday and Wednesday were big days for Daywind Music Publishing as they celebrated BMI Awards and garnered a Dove Award for Bluegrass Recorded Song Of The Year “When We Fly” written by Ty Herndon, Joel Lindsey, and Wayne Haun.

At a wonderful celebration dinner held in the stunning lobby of the BMI building on Music Row in Nashville, BMI recognized top airplay for songs “What Salvation’s Done For Me” (recorded by the Booth Brothers and written by Dianne Wilkinson and Rusty Golden), “Whispered Prayers” (recorded by Karen Peck & New River and written by Jeff Steele and Earl Galloway), and “You Can’t Take My Crown” (recorded by Ivan Parker and written by Gina Vera).

Rick Shelton, Director of Publishing at Daywind Music, expresses, "Daywind Music Publishing is privileged to serve the 2010 BMI award winning songwriters who were recognized for the most performed songs on Southern Gospel Radio. We are proud of these writers and this tremendous achievement. We are also incredibly honored to have participated in the development of the Dove award winning Bluegrass song, ‘When We Fly.’ Within it is the message of hope when our faith finally becomes sight. A well-deserved congratulation is due to those who so skillfully crafted this fine composition. Our hearts are full of gratitude to membership of the Gospel Music Association for this award.”

The 41st Annual GMA Dove Awards were held on Wednesday, April 21, 2010, at Nashville’s famed Grand Ole Opry House and were televised nationwide on the Gospel Music Channel (, last Sunday evening, April 25, 2010.

For more about the Dove Awards or the Gospel Music Association, visit or

For further information regarding Daywind Music Group, visit

SGM Radio Blog’s Top Ten: Men of Music

We are thrilled to share with you these mini-interviews with some great Southern Gospel artists! Check back often to see who is next on the SGM Radio Blog's Top Ten!

Men of Music…by Chris Walton

The Men of Music are from Jackson, Mississippi and consist of members Chris Walton (Tenor) of Calera Alabama, Rodney Tyson (Lead) of Iuka Mississippi and Greg Colburn (Baritone) of Jackson Mississippi. The Men of Music started in 1996 and came off the road in 2007. Rodney had sung with The Men of Music in the early 2000’s and called Greg and Chris when he found out the group was looking for a lead. We did our first date in September of 2009 and have been going full time ever since. God is truly blessing this ministry. Our First Recording should be out this summer.

Men of Music’s Top Ten by Chris Walton
1. Please tell us the name of your latest recording and your favorite song from that CD. What is the message behind this song?

Our latest project is Have Faith. My favorite song is Jesus Touched Me. The song speaks for itself. The day I got saved Jesus touched me and I will never be the same.

2. What is one group highlight from the last 12 months?

Just this past weekend seeing a teenager saved at a Southern Gospel Service.

3. What artist are you listening to right now?

Brian Free & Assurance and The Waltons.

4. What was the best decade for music? Favorite artist from that decade?

80’s, Michael W. Smith and Gold City

5. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

To fly!

6. What would be your fantasy venue, the one stage in the world where you would like to sing?

I would love to sing the National Anthem at Miami Dolphins Stadium.

7. What is one habit you would like to break?

I’d like to break the habit of biting my nails.

8. Who is your most favorite Bible person/character?

My favorite Bible character is Job. I want to have his faith.

9. What is your favorite Bible verse?

John 3:17, the one a lot of people don’t read.

10. Name a song that once it gets stuck in your head you can’t get it out.

“Honey in the Rock my Brother” by the Lewis Family. I don’t know what it is about that song.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Caught You Looking!

Thousands of you are reading this blog to find out the latest news in Southern Gospel and read the Top Ten Interviews on your favorite artists. Now you can let everyone know about your ministry or organization! Contact us to advertize on the space to the right of your screen ---->

That blank area is waiting for your ad! Write to us for more information!

Shine On Trio Reaches Publicity and Web Publishing Agreement with Southern Spin Entertainment

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – (April 28, 2010) – South Carolina mixed group Shine On Trio has reached a publicity and web publishing agreement with SSE Group, Inc. Through this agreement, the talented trio has gained exclusive access to all media outlets serviced by Southern Spin Entertainment, in addition to advertising and marketing possibilities. The Shine On Trio will also receive a newly designed webpage and media kit through this agreement.

The Shine On Trio is based out of Chapin, South Carolina and consists of Roger and Cathy Troutman, and Cathy’s sister Brenda Quick. While the group may have a relatively short history, they share a story of God’s grace and timing at their ministry events. The trio has one recording – Let the Son Shine.

“We are so anxious to tell the world about the Shine On Trio,” mentioned Amy Marie Unthank of SSE Group, Inc. “This trio has an amazing story, and we can’t wait to share it with the rest of the world!”

Roger Troutman of Shine On Music Ministries said, “We are very excited to be working with the SSE Group. Joining the artist lineup at SSE puts us among some of the best names in Southern Gospel music, and we are honored to be part of a company with such a rich history. With their gospel music roots, Chris and Amy have that extra edge in order to tailor to the needs of each artist. We are looking forward to a long relationship with SSE!"

Southern Spin Entertainment is one of three divisions of the 501c non-profit organization SSE Group, Inc. The company is operated by siblings Amy Marie Unthank and Chris D. Unthank. The company currently represents artists, companies, and organizations in all genres of Gospel music – including the Dove Brothers, The Freemans, The Nelons, (formerly, HisSong, Misty Freeman, Driven Quartet, the Diamond Awards, Branson Gospel Music Convention, Eighth Day, David Hill Trio, Sharron Kay King, Heavens Highway, The Pathfinders, 2nd Generation, Brothers Forever, English Family, Men of Music, Faithful Crossings, and many more.

News about a new album and record label for the Shine On Trio will be released at a later date.

Until Shine On Trio’s new site is unveiled – you can find out more information on the group by visiting .

About Southern Spin Entertainment
Southern Spin Entertainment is one of three divisions of the 501c non-profit organization SSE Group, Inc. Southern Spin Entertainment focuses on publicity and marketing for Southern and Country Gospel artists. The company currently represents many artists, companies or organizations in all genres of Gospel music.

For more information on Southern Spin Entertainment, go to .

SSE Group, Inc.’s three divisions include Southern Spin Entertainment, SSE Design Group, and Southern Spin Radio. SSE Group currently owns and operates Glorious Creations and

For more information on SSE Group, go to

Sharron Kay King Says “Don’t Stop Believing” With New Radio Release

BYRON, Ga. – (April 28, 2010) – Singing News Fan Award nominee Sharron Kay King is sending an encouraging message out with her brand new single. The new song, “Don’t Stop Believing” (which is also the title cut from her most recent project), is Sharron’s first release to radio in over a year and contains a message she hope’s resonates with friends and fans of Southern Gospel music.

“We are facing many troubles in our nation with the economy and inner turmoil,” mentioned Sharron. “’Don’t Stop Believing’ is a song with a very simple message – but one that we as believers need to hold on to. Though times seem tough now, we can’t stop believing. We have an assurance that our Savior will keep us safe like He’s always done.”

“Don’t Stop Believing” was recently sent to Southern Gospel radio through Jeff O’Neal and Heritage Communications. The single has an immediate add date.

“Don’t Stop Believing” is the follow-up to Sharron’s smash-hit and fan-favorite single “God’s Been Good.” That song, which was penned by Sue C. Smith and Belinda Smith, reached the #1 spot on the Top 40 Fan Chart and ranked as one of the 50 most played songs of 2009 according to’s (now Top 50 Year End Chart.

Sharron has already had a great run in 2010. She landed another nomination for Favorite Soloist in the 2010 SGM FanFair Awards (she won the award 2008). In addition – Sharron earned two Top 10 nominations in the 2010 Diamond Awards (for Favorite Female Soloist and Favorite Christian Country Female Artist).

To place a vote for Sharron in the Diamond Awards – head over the and place your vote!

More information as well as booking information on Sharron Kay King can be found at

Fans are encouraged to visit Sharron’s MySpace at

About Sharron Kay King
Sharron Kay King is a talented singer/songwriter based out of Byron, Georgia. Sharron’s last release, Don’t Stop Believing, spawned off the #1 fan favorite “God’s Been Good.” King was a 2008 Top 5 finalist in the Singing News Fan Awards for Favorite Horizon Individual and a 2009 Top 10 finalist for Favorite Soloist.

Branson Gospel Music Convention Named 2010 Pacesetter

BRANSON, Mo. – (April 28, 2010) – The SGN Music Awards were handed out this month in Smyrna, TN, and after its first year as a major concert event in the Southern Gospel Community, the Branson Gospel Music Convention was named the 2010 Pacesetter.

The Pacesetter Award honors individuals, companies, artists, events, and the like who raise the standard in the industry during the previous year. Past winners have included such names as the Crabb Family, Daywind Records, Booth Brothers, artist manager Kathy Hannah and last year’s winner the National Quartet Convention (in addition to many others). It is the most prestigious award handed out at the awards program.

Rod Burton, co-owner of YMR Productions, LLC said, “We are beyond thrilled to have received this recognition from peers and fans after our first year. Branson GMC is a labor of love and a work of friends and family. We are proud, excited, humbled, but mostly blessed to know it is making a difference to people.”

“The SGN Music Awards show was a beautiful night celebrating what gospel music is all about,” mentioned Kelly Burton, Program Director for the Branson Gospel Music Convention. “It was an honor for us to be there and to share this award with each other and with all the people who believe in Branson GMC.”

The Branson Gospel Music Convention was honored to be mentioned in the same category and stand along side such names like Crossroads Music Group, Chuck Peters and the SGShowPrep, SGN Scoops Digital, and Vine Records.

The SGN Music Award nominees were chosen by the staff of (now known as and select members of the Southern Gospel media and community. Voting was then open to fans to choose the winners.

The 2010 SGN Music Awards Celebration took place on Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at River of Life Church in Smyrna, Tennessee to a standing room only crowd.

The Branson Gospel Music Convention is put on by YMR Music Productions, LLC. The company announced that the 2nd Annual Branson Gospel Music Convention is to take place beginning Monday evening, June 28, through Friday, July 2, 2010 at the Branson Convention Center across from Branson Landing.

Artists already scheduled for the 2010 event include the Chuck Wagon Gang, Blackwood Quartet, HisSong, Dino, Kenny Bishop, The Melody Boys Quartet, Young Harmony, McMillan & Life, Sunday Edition, Beyond the Ashes, Hinson Revival, Stutzman Family, 2nd Generation, Rod Burton, and many more!

More information about the Branson Gospel Music Convention can be found at or by calling (708) 960-0111.

More information about YMR Music Productions, LLC. can be found at or by calling 708-960-0111.

About YMR Music Productions
YMR Music Productions, LLC. is a corporation formed initially for the exclusive purpose of organizing, promoting, and producing the Branson Gospel Music Convention. The production company recently started a series of concerts all around the country that supports local communities and help organization. The first Give the Gospel concert took place in November 2009.

Oak Ridge Boys Celebrate Honors With ‘Gospel Friends’

Many artists known as southern gospel royalty graced the stage of the Southern Gospel Music Guild Harmony Honors, held last week at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN, including The Perrys, Karen Peck and New River, Jeff and Sheri Easter, The Nelons, Jason Crabb, and Guy Penrod.It was a chance to showcase many of the steller songs and performers on top in SG right now, and for one group whose place in gospel music was further cemented by SGMG’s Presidential Honor, it was a time to celebrate and connect with gospel friends.

SGMG President Judy Nelon presented the long-standing quartet, Oak Ridge Boys, with the honor near the start of the evening. The group sang several songs, including their 1969Dove Song of the Year “Jesus is Coming Soon” and their most recent charting single, “Mama’s Table” (for which writer Jamey Johnson joined them on stage).

Soon after, to the delight of a decidedly traditional southern gospel crowd, Oak Ridge Boys returned to the stage to sing “Everyday” with Triumphant Quartet – the song has been a hit for both groups, years apart. The encore? A verse and chorus of the iconic “Elvira.”

The Oak Ridge Boys watched the rest of the concert from the front row, but after it ended, group member, spokesperson and popular Twitter-user Joe Bonsall organized a “tweet-up” with his gospel music/social-networking friends.

The reaction?

@chrisunthank : Cool meeting @joebonsall tonight! I’m officially starstruck!

@libbistuffle: @joebonsall gr8 seein u tonight! Y’all rocked the house!

@MaddyFatty (aka Madison Easter): Been hangin with @joebonsall all night. Had a blast! Loved seeing all our friends!

@rodburtonmusic: Cool to see you @joebonsall . Y’all rocked it tonight!

@joebonsall: Great to have had the chance to spend time with our friends in Southern Gospel tonight. So many fine folks. The award was a real honor!

Read more about Joe Bonsall, The Oak Ridge Boys, and their place in gospel music….coming Monday, May 3 in an all new SGN Scoops Magazine

Thanks to SGN Scoops Digital for the press release!

Healing 4 Haiti Featured At The Dove Awards

NASHVLLE, Tenn. -- April 27, 2010 -- Music from the Healing 4 Haiti relief album launched through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and Samaritan's Purse in cooperation with Integrity Media last month. The song "Come Together Now (Music City Unites for Haiti)" co-written by Michael W. Smith and featured on Healing 4 Haiti, was the grand finale of the 41st Annual Dove Awards, telecast on Sunday, April 25th from the historic Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee.

Shiloh Welcomes Bassoon Player Braxton Edwards

As we promised a few days back, we have a very special announcement regarding the results of our auditions and about Shiloh's newest member. Well, today is that day! After nearly three months of audition reviews, we are very excited to announce that Braxton Edwards has accepted the opportunity of joining Shiloh.

We have been eagerly waiting to make this announcement, but Braxton is currently the worship pastor at Allen Heights Baptist Church in Allen, Texas. We wanted to make sure that he had the opportunity of personally speaking with his pastor, other staff, and congregation before this announcement was made public. From what we have been told, the announcement came with a great deal of excitement for Braxton, but also sadness at his departure. What a compliment to this young man.

Braxton will join Shiloh full-time when we return from our Alaskan cruise on May 24th. His first tour dates with us will be in Iowa as we celebrate Memorial Day weekend.

We know that you are going to love this young man's character, musical abilities, and his great smile.

This is a difficult transition for any individual, and we know that you all will make this transition easier for him with your prayers on his behalf. If you would like and feel led to do so, you can send Braxton a note of encouragement and welcome at . I am sure that he would also love to read and feel the great notes encouragement and support. It is incredible how you all have provided love and encouragement to all past/present members of Shiloh for 15 years.

In His Grip,

Operation Kid-to-Kid™ Blankets a Hurting World with God’s Love

Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX—Tonight in countries around the world, children will go to sleep hungry and cold, without parents, without homes...without hope. Now your ministry group can send a simple, tangible expression of God’s love to those in need.

Group Publishing, the premier publisher of children’s Bible curricula, including Sunday school and VBS, believes that some of the best ministers to children who are experiencing disaster and hardship are other children. Through the Operation Kid-to-Kid (OK2K) program, Group partners with nondenominational Christian ministries like Biblica (formerly International Bible Society) and World Vision to provide opportunities for children in North America to share God’s love with other children in difficult or disastrous situations. In 2009 alone, Operation Kid-to-Kid reached almost one million children. Since its inception 12 years ago, Operation Kid-to-Kid projects have impacted over 4.5 million kids and their communities all over the world. Highlights include:

· Over 100,000 care kits distributed to countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, and Albania
· More than 380,000 gift boxes sent to needy children worldwide
· Over 310,000 pairs of shoes and 200,000 pairs of socks given to orphans across the globe
· Over 1.5 million Spanish Bible books delivered worldwide
· More than a million cuddly prayer bears and copies of The Survivor’s Bible provided free of charge to underprivileged children all over the world

“Operation Kid-to-Kid is a great way to teach kids compassion and service,” says Joani Schultz, cofounder of Group and OK2K. “Children learn by doing. It’s one thing to drop a nickel in the offering plate, but when kids make a gift with their own hands, when they can be creative and personal, this leaves a real impression on both the givers and the receivers.”

This year’s OK2K project is a simple no-sew fleece blanket that proclaims “God Loves Me!” right in the fabric. Each 56” by 42” blanket will also include a hidden surprise—a little white heart concealed between the fleece layers. The heart is a sweet secret kept by those who create the blankets, one that symbolizes God’s love for the world and our love for others. Project participants are encouraged to pray specifically for the unknown person who will receive the blanket as they tuck the heart inside.

The OK2K blanket can easily be incorporated into any Sunday school or VBS curriculum. This year, the “God Loves Me” blanket is included as a special activity in Group’s two new 2011 VBS programs, Egypt: Joseph’s Journey from Prison to Palace and High Seas Expedition. The multi-generational participants will learn about the 40 million children around the world who are desperately vulnerable because of the AIDS pandemic and the effects of extreme poverty. Through Group’s partnership with World Vision, blankets created this year will reach children in Africa coping with the pandemic’s effects on their communities or families, including those who have been orphaned. Instructions for delivering the blankets to World Vision for distribution are included with each blanket kit. To make the gift extra special, churches can send a personalized “God Loves Me” coloring book with each blanket.

Over the years, OK2K has become one of the largest forces mobilizing children in serving other children around the world through gifts of school supplies, Bibles, hygiene kits, Christmas gifts, Bible coloring books, and socks and shoes. But the ministry opportunities are not just for kids. Between recent natural disasters like the earthquake in Haiti and the lingering effects of the global economic crisis, there are more opportunities than ever for Christians to show the love of Christ to others in need—and not just for a VBS event. Operation Kid-to-Kid can mobilize service projects any time of the year. Because the “God Loves Me” blanket project is so simple and practical, it is a perfect fit for a variety of ministry opportunities, from youth or women’s groups and short-term mission trips to neighborhood outreach initiatives and ministry to the homeless. With a little imagination, a ministry group of any size and age can customize the project to support its own ministry vision.

“For many of us, a mission-focused heart is something that develops over time. Like any aspect of Christ’s character in us, loving others like Christ loves them takes practice. This is a lesson for adults as well as children,” says Schultz. “Hopefully, OK2K service projects like the ‘God Loves Me’ blanket will encourage Christians of all ages to commit greater time and resources to missions.”

Gospel River Boys Annouce Name Change, New Lead Singer`

The Hallmark Quartet

“Hallmark”- a mark or symbol of genuineness or high quality!

The Gospel River Boys are excited about the things that are happening with the group! We are starting a clean slate with the group such as our new lead singer, Mark Flaker, he has been blessed to have been with several great groups such as the Singing Americans, The Florida Boys, The Bibletones and The Mysterymen. Also we are changing our name, and we have had a lot of prayers in this, to The Hallmark Quartet a non profit corporation. Also we are selling our bus and buying a lot newer entertainers bus and hiring on a experienced bus driver, Harold “Slim” Pickens. We are excited about this and we are stepping up how we sing and what we are doing for the Lord. So we would appreciate any positive Comments from you about this changes and always your prayers. We are looking forward to singing at your concert or at your church.

From you Brothers in Christ,

Gary,Jerry,Jim, Mark

Sky Angel and MOPS Celebrate Family-Friendly Christian TV

(Naples, Fla. – April 27, 2010) – Today’s moms have so many reasons to be concerned about what their children see on television. They witness first-hand the powerful influence it can have on their little ones. Now, through a partnership with MOPS International, moms everywhere will enjoy Sky Angel’s faith-filled and family-oriented television service. In addition, MOPS is considering the development of exclusive content in the coming months.

“We are delighted to partner with the MOPS International family. Most of our subscribers are parents concerned about what they bring into their homes, whether it’s television, radio or movies. Sky Angel’s subscription service is a family-friendly alternative in line with Christian values that truly has something for everyone. We are working to unveil a MOPS Video On Demand channel that will offer leadership training, curriculum and access to MOPS national events via the Sky Angel platform. This will allow moms to access MOPS content anywhere, anytime,” said Rick Wright , Sky Angel Senior VP - Sales and Marketing.

“At MOPS International , we know the impact media has on families. We are excited to expand our outreach to moms through this partnership with Sky Angel, offering new media options that deliver quality programming that equips moms. Sky Angel will allow us to broaden our reach to MOPS leaders in need of leadership training whether or not they are able to attend a MOPS training event!” said Merideth Rikli , Director of Ministry Advancement for MOPS International .

Sky Angel offers subscribers over 80 television and radio channels of faith-based and family-friendly channels, with entertainment, educational, sports and news programming that is completely compatible with your current TV service. Sky Angel requires no dish or antenna, is easily installed, and includes value-added features like 48-hour playback on all faith-based television channels plus an ever-growing Video-On-Demand library with free and fee-based selections. To learn more, or to subscribe, visit or call 1-800-SKY-ANGEL (1-800-759-2643).

About Sky Angel:
Sky Angel® U.S. LLC is a Christian-owned multi-channel provider of faith-based and family-friendly television and radio programming. Founded by Robert Johnson Sr. more than 29 years ago, Sky Angel was created to provide a Christ-centered and family-friendly alternative to the standard television fare. Since then, his vision has grown into a service providing quality television and radio programming to all corners of the United States . Sky Angel’s mission is to build and operate a global communications system to assure the Gospel will penetrate every nation, culture and people.

Sky Angel also carries the Parents Television Council’s® prestigious Entertainment Seal of Approval™, which recognizes excellence and social responsibility in programming.

About MOPS International :
Since 1973 Denver-based MOPS International , a non-profit ministry, has created communities and resources to help "Better Moms Make A Better World." A MOPS group is a place where moms can come - just as they are - to experience an authentic community of friendship, to receive practical mothering support, and to grow personally and spiritually. MOPS International serves over 100,000 mothers of preschoolers in more than 4,000 groups across the U.S. and in 32 countries worldwide. MOPS serves moms from all walks of life and exists to encourage, equip and develop every mother to realize her potential as a woman, mother and leader in the name of Jesus Christ.

ReWind Wednesdays: Canadian Southern Gospel: Great Music from the Great Western Provinces (2005)

From the Atlantic to the Pacific, Canada is a large land mass of almost ten million square kilometers. From the balmy weather of Vancouver, through the flat, endless Prairies, across the farmland and urban areas of Ontario and Quebec, and into the untamed beauty of the Maritimes, the people are as diverse as the landscape. This diversity is readily apparent in their societies, politics, religious affiliations, and especially in their Gospel Music. They may still call it “Southern”, but the regional influences create a uniqueness that is purely Canadian.

Family groups figure prominently in the Canadian Southern Gospel scene, and make up a large percentage of groups that are traveling full-time. From the farthest reaches of the West Coast, one such group is Sweet Presence from Aldergrove, British Columbia. Singing for over 35 years, this group has been likened to the Happy Goodmans. With over 175 engagements a year, many doors have been opened to this Canadian group across both Canada and the United States. Greg Schaber, lead vocalist, took time to share a few thoughts after their recent tour to California. “…We as Canadian artists have spent a lot of blood, sweat, and tears developing SGM in Canada over the last 20-30 years. With that in mind, people are now beginning to identify when you mention a popular Canadian SGM artist that has been around for all those years”. He continues, “The biggest advantage is that God has supported Sweet Presence each and every mile. He has opened doors for this group that we never thought were possible. Following Him, Sweet Presence has seen many progressions over the years, and all glory goes to God for it!” You can find out more about Sweet Presence at

Known widely as the home of the Calgary Stampede, the province of Alberta has recently become a popular haven for Canadian SGM fans as the home of the Canadian Gospel Music Fan Festival. This NQC-sponsored event has now become wholly Canadian owned, and has a fresh name. The Canadian Gospel Music Celebration will again be held in July at Red Deer, Alberta. For the first time ever, the concert is then being repeated in Chilliwack BC, one week later. An exciting northern event with artists from Canada and the United States, this festival has given fans from all over the opportunity to hear the best in Canadian SGM.

Frequent performers at this Western event include the Young Street Vocal Band, whose leader Wayne Dyke is heavily involved in the organization of the CGMC. The YSVB makes their home in Chilliwack, BC, and definitely provides a Canadian edge to Southern Gospel. A quick trip to their website,, shows that this is not your average SGM quartet. Seven singers provide a full vocal combination that has become widely popular across the western provinces. This group has been privileged to be a part of the Gaither Canadian tour of 2004.

Alberta is also home to Potter’s Clay, a male quartet heavily involved in the annual CGMC. Member Ed Parkins was instrumental in bringing the National Quartet Convention Board to Red Deer for the past six years to present their version of the Canadian Gospel Music Fan Festival. Ed organized his quartet in the late sixties, and has been actively involved in the Canadian Gospel Music Scene since that time.

Another Albertan group, High Valley, a male trio who have been singing for over seven years, stays close to their country roots in their vocal styling. Their Christian Country sound is blessing people in Canada, the U.S., and even into Central America. These three teenagers spend about 100 days on the road, and their cutting-edge, professional sound is beginning to be noticed by music associations on both sides of the border. High Valley was recently nominated for Vocal Group of the Year at the 2002 CCMA (Christian Country Music Association) awards in Nashville, and their professional debut album, “Reflect” was nominated as Country album of the year at the 2003 Vibe Awards (recently renamed “Shai Awards”). Hear some of High Valley at .

Brad Rempel of HV, says, “Our goal is to give Country fans a Christian alternative and to encourage those who already belong to the Church of Jesus Christ.” However, singing Christian Country in this area isn’t easy. “Some challenges are raising awareness about the genre of Christian Country because it is a fairly new market. Of course Country Music is always traditionally more popular in the southern states. However, Canada does have a great festival circuit and once your name gets out, it's not too hard to get a lot of dates.”

There are organizations springing up to aid Canadian Christian artists in finding new markets. The Shai Awards are a Canadian Gospel people’s choice awards program, sponsored by Vibe Gospel Music. This volunteer association headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, was launched in 2002 with the mandate of representing and expanding the Canadian gospel music industry. With the intent to support Christian music and artists across the country, VGM airs its awards program on national television, showcasing the talents of Christian artists from coast to coast. Find out more about this organization at

Another major organization in Canadian Gospel Music is Joyful Sound Promotions, also based out of Alberta. Promoting many concerts throughout Alberta, they are strong advocates for SGM throughout Western Canada. Member Bill Griffin has provided a tremendous amount of information to about many of these artists, and his love for Jesus and for Gospel music is apparent in his communications and the presentation of his promotional company. Presenting snapshots of information for many groups, Joyful Sound’s website is a great resource for western SGM fans and artists alike.

Bill has his favourite Canadian artists as well, which he candidly shares. “Dean Muse has a new Southern Gospel Quartet in the West. Dean writes an article for The Singing News Magazine out of North Carolina, and has been used as Canadian Gospel Music Fan Festival photographer. This group has the traditional Southern Gospel Sound, and is one of the BEST four part harmony groups to come along in the whole of Canada.” The group is called Freedom Quartet, and is soon to become a well-known name in this area.

Moving eastward, we head into Saskatchewan, the Prairie Province known for its acres of golden wheat fields and northern forests. Saskatchewan is also known as the home of Canada’s Double Portion, a talented family group whose home base is a ranch in North Battleford, a small town near Saskatoon. This award winning group travels across Canada and the States. Rev. Duncan Hemmerling and his wife both play and sing, along with their seven children. Another couple, Michael and Shannon Olson, also add vocals and instrumentals. This makes for a full stage, and an enjoyable sound that has been drawing fans to their concerts and winning souls for Jesus. Rev. Hemmerling shares his thoughts with a touch of humour: “Saskatchewan is a wonderful place to “be from”; at least that’s what people always tell us when we minister outside this province. The winters can be abit of a challenge but it is a great place to live and raise a family. We spent about 13 weekends last year in Saskatchewan performing on a parade float (in 2003), a hockey arena, a Macdonald’s parking lot, several Jamborees, numerous banquets, a Church grand opening, the Canadian Gospel Music FanFest and many churches. The rest of the year we spent touring West, East or South and have found God’s people to be tremendously hospitable, although when we go south they can’t pronounce Saskatchewan and don’t know where it is.” Log onto to find out more about this delightful family group.

Double Portion has been touring a lot with the Daae Family (pronounced “Doe”) from Bromhead SK, another family group of accomplished musicians. The Daaes have been singing since 1989, but only started traveling extensively in 2002. Consisting of parents Wayne and Cathy and their four children, this musical family presents gospel with a bluegrass flavour, talents which awarded them Vocal Group of the Year in Canada by the CGMA Country Gospel Music Association [BRANSON MISSOURI], in 2004. Cathy Daae comments: “Each member of this family accepted Jesus into their lives at a young age and are so happy to be able to serve Him in this way. They plan to continue singing for as long as they can. Music is an amazing tool that helps to open the heart to everything God has for each one of us.” Check out for more information on this group.
What many people don’t realize is the special challenges western groups face. With so many acres of land covered in fields and forests, the population is centered in the urban areas which are few, widespread, and mostly in the southern areas of the Provinces. Travel is never simple, and many miles are covered to reach each event. Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba combined have a population of five million. This presents unique situations for the Western groups. Cathy Daae says, “In Saskatchewan the population is only 1,000,000. We are limited to whom we can sing to and to find contacts is quite a challenge. It is recently getting better though as there are a few more Jamborees making people aware of Southern Gospel Music. For many years we financially provided for ourselves as people rarely reimbursed us for our expenses... that was hard... but as we are more well known that has changed so it has helped a lot.”
Another SK group is New Hope, a mixed trio who have been singing full-time since 2003. Vibe Award winners in 2004 for their CD, “Hold On”, this trio has sung from British Columbia to Montana to Kentucky to Newfoundland, appeared on 100 Huntley Street and the Miracle Channel, and sings at approximately 150 dates a year. They had some interesting comments to share about their ministry: “Our hearts are evangelism, and we feel that our style of music can open many doors to share the hope of Jesus with those that need to hear about His love, forgiveness, and of course "new hope." As we travel, we're finding that Canada really is a mission field--there are hundreds, if not thousands of people who have yet to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ”. They enjoy traveling throughout Canada. “There's certainly the advantage in that there are not hundreds of full time groups in Canada, like there are in the States. Meaning, the market, if I can call it that, is not as saturated as it is down south. Plus, we LOVE our fellow Canadians. There's nobody more hospitable! On the flip side, to be honest, it's very hard to make a full time living at it here in Canada. I think partly due to the fact that some groups in the past have paved the way for a "love offering only" basis. I just don't think pastors/churches/organizers know how expensive it is to travel and minister full time. We're usually traveling several hours between concerts, whereas the States is much more heavily populated. And while it's certainly NOT about the money, if we can't afford to put diesel in our van, then unfortunately we can't be out ministering either. It's a hard call. And it's very hard to talk about ministry and money in the same sentence. We don't know what the answer is--at this point we mostly travel on a love offering basis, but it's tough at times. GOD IS GOOD TO US!” You can find out more about New Hope by clicking onto .
A visit to Western Canada would not be complete without a stop in Manitoba, land of rivers and trees, culture and agriculture, the link between the western prairies and central Canada. Winnipeg, Manitoba is also home to the Muddy River Quartet, a part-time male quartet that has been singing for three years. Completing 35 dates in a year, this quartet is diverse in its full-time professions: “We have a mechanic, an executive officer for a large manufacturing company, a computer systems technology expert, a marriage and family therapist and a construction consultant. As you can see we can build your house, work on your car, design a computer network system and help with your family struggles and then sing you a song or two!” Mark Moore of MRQ echoes some of the comments made by others regarding travel in Western Canada: “Possibly the biggest challenge that we face here in the west is that as a part-time group traveling on weekends, we have significant distances to travel. Cities and towns are few and far between and unless you are willing to travel great distances you can actually “run out” of places to sing.” It’s hard to imagine these guys running out of places to sing, as they have many years of experience and a whole lot of talent in the group that is winning fans and friends across the west and into Ontario. A quick stop at reveals a group excited about their ministry. “We want people of all ages to know that becoming a Christian is the most wonderful, life-changing decision they’ll ever make. We want to be a reflection of God’s love and mercy to all who hear us sing and let them know that Jesus is the answer to any problem we face and that He is our only hope of eternal life. We not only want to encourage people, we want people to come to know Christ.”

Mark explains further about the SGM market in Western Canada: “Southern Gospel music enjoys a very receptive audience in Manitoba. In the past few years there has been a concentrated effort by a few individuals to promote SG in Manitoba. This has opened the doors for many of the top SG groups from the US to visit Canada. Some of the agents have begun to realize that although a city like Winnipeg is “out in the middle of nowhere,” it is a market of 650,000 people and people will drive 2-3 hours from rural communities to attend a concert. Groups are now coming further north than Fargo and Grand Forks, ND and experiencing the warm hospitality of “Friendly Manitoba.” For more on MRQ, check out: .

Having only brushed the surface of the surge of SGM artists rising to the foreground in Western Canada, it’s easy to see that Southern Gospel is indeed a vital form of music in the Great West. The wide-open spaces that produce this music also present challenges, and these artists are willing to do what it takes to find their own creative solutions. The huge Canadian Gospel Music Celebration in Red Deer, AB in July is just one way these artists are getting their music to the West, to all of Canada, and across all borders.

Southern Gospel, flavoured by Western Canadian creativity and spirit, is a vital product of this great nation, and a necessary one to reach out to the lost and hurting. A ministry to both lost and found, church and family; from bluegrass to traditional southern, Canadian southern gospel is here to stay.

Coming next month: Music Ministry in the Canadian Maritimes!

By Lorraine Walker
First published on 2005 reprinted by permission

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Calvary's Hill Quartet Names New Lead Singer

April 26, 2010 (Fayetteville, NC) – Southern gospel quartet, Calvary's Hill Quartet, has named Robert “Rocky” Smith as the new lead singer for the quartet. Smith, better known as Rocky to his friends, hails from Greensboro, NC. He has a long history in gospel music having started playing with The Easter Brothers years ago as a child. For years, known more for his musicianship than for his singing, Smith sang both lead and baritone with other groups. Calvary's Hill will capitalize on Smith's ability as a musician, and utilize him with the group as both a pianist and lead singer. A father of three, Smith is married to Gail who encourages him to sing, even though it does mean he's gone from home at inconvenient times. Smith's first appearance with the quartet was April 18, 2010, in Winston-Salem, NC..
Group owner, Roger Wendell, said, “... we are really excited about the new direction and opportunities that this multi-talented individual will allow us to take. Rocky has been involved with gospel music virtually his entire life. An awesome musician, Rocky not only sings but plays piano, harmonica, drums, banjo, bass guitar, and just about anything else with strings on it.”
“I am very thankful to have an opportunity to play, sing, and minister with Calvary's Hill Quartet,” said Smith. “I pray I continue to feel God leading me and hear His voice.”
Calvary's Hill Quartet, formed in 2006, by Wendell, and based in Fayetteville, NC, travels well beyond the borders of North Carolina sharing their traditional, 4-part, male harmony where invited. Group members are Wendell, bass, Jerry Downey, baritone, Smith, lead, and Eric Nance, tenor.
Wendell handles the booking for the group, and is assisted by baritone, Jerry Downey. The group may be contacted by phone at 910-924-0705. For more information on, and photos of, Calvary's Hill Quartet, or to hear clips by the group, visit

# # #

Booking contact:

Calvary's Hill Quartet


Roger Wendell, Owner/Manager

Memorial Service for Ronnie Thompson (Pastor Newberry)

Good Evening,
I have just received the schedule for Ronnie's Memorial Service. It will be held Thursday afternoon at 4:PM at Stowers Funeral Home of Brandon, Fl. A dinner will be provided by the church following the Memorial Service for family and friends.
Should any of you be available to assist Cheryl with the meal preparations, set up and clean up, please contact her at the office at 813-626-4600 or on her cell phone @ 813-393-7039 or at home @ 813-995-0074.
The Thompson family, Judy, Chris, Bridgett, Bryan, and Lauren all deeply appreciate the love and respect that has been shown to their family, by the church. Hospice has been exceptionally kind to Ronnie throughout his stay in Hospice of Florida.

God Bless,
Pastor Newberry

Rod Burton Releases New Recording – The Difference

Songs On Recording Reflect Traditional Favorites and New Songs That Have Truly Made a Difference, Marked Changes For Celebrated Vocalist

New Recording Features Special Guest Vocalist Russ Taff and Many More!

HOMEWOOD, Ill. – On the heels of three nominations on the Top 10 ballot for the 2010 Diamond Awards, rising Southern Gospel soloist Rod Burton is proud to announce the release of his debut recording for New Hope Music Productions – The Difference.

The Difference was produced by Grammy-winning engineer Adrian Payne and co-produced by Rod’s longtime friend and talented session musician Jason Webb. This recording is the first release for the newly formed New Hope Music Productions – a recording company opened by Burton and Darrell Webb earlier this year.

“This recording is very special for many reasons,” mentioned Rod. “It’s an honor for me to have the first recording of what I hope will be many for New Hope Music Productions. However, even beyond that, these songs all have made a resounding impact on me and my career, and they really help signify this new time in my ministry.”

The Difference features many traditional favorites of the Gospel music community and new songs that have truly made a difference and marked change in Rod’s ministry.

“Beulah Land” took on a new meaning for Rod when he sang it at his father’s funeral in 2005, while “The Bridegroom Cometh” was a song he sang with Charles Feltner as a teenager and was the start of his music career. “Hallelujah Meeting,” a song Rod now sings as a part of the newly formed Hinson Revival, opened the inaugural Branson Gospel Music Convention last summer – the newest and most talked about Gospel music convention that Rod and his wife started. Rod also recorded “Light of My World,” a song he wrote, in honor of his wife and children.

“So many of these songs have made a huge impact on my life,” mentioned Rod. “It’s exciting to now be able to share them with those that I get the opportunity to minister to.”

The Difference also features special guests that have been an encouragement to Rod’s ministry through the years as well. Grammy winning vocalist Russ Taff makes a special appearance on Rod’s cover of “Water Grave.” The country-rock flavor of the track is a marked departure for the celebrated vocalist. Rod also enlisted the help of Sunday Edition’s Amy Marie Unthank and Chris Unthank on background vocals as well as his daughter Paige Burton and producer Adrian Payne.

Rod’s personal friend Sue Duffield penned “Son of Man’s Man” specifically for Rod, and the song is an upbeat take on being a man and the kind of man that God has called us to be. Rod also recorded The Roarks’ hit single “There Is a God” which Rod came to love after sharing the stage with the group several times and has been fortunate enough to sing the song in a public highschool.

Other tunes featured on the album include “The Old Rugged Cross Made the Difference,” “No Back Roads,” “I Know What He Did For Me,” and many more.

The Difference is now available to purchase online or at live events. For more information on the new recording, visit .

Rod was a featured artist on last week’s Gospel Music Nashville event with the Family Friendly Network. He’s also booked for several high profile events this summer, including SGM FanFair, Branson Gospel Music Convention, and Absolutely Gospel Fan Fest (formerly Fan Fest)!

To find out how to book Rod at a solo event or as a part of Eric Hinson & Hinson Revival – visit his website.

Fans are encouraged to visit Rod’s MySpace at Rod’s ShoutLife can be found at

About Rod Burton
Rod Burton is one of Southern Gospel’s fastest rising soloists. Described by family and friends as an interesting cross between big city businessman and down-home country boy, Rod is winning over fans all across the country. His current single is the Singing News Top 80 hit “Take a Stand.”

Rod Burton’s ministry is sponsored by iPod Juice. iPodJuice is a San Antonio-based company that offers kits allowing people to replace the battery in their iPod in a matter of minutes. They can also replace the battery for customers that would rather outsource the entire job. More information on iPodJuice can be found at

The English Family Seeks Help In Choosing New Single

Fans and Industry Insiders Encouraged To Speak Up

BARNESVILLE, Ga. – (April 26, 2010) – Georgia-based family group and Mansion Entertainment recording artist The English Family is seeking the help of friends, family, fans, and industry professionals with choosing their new single.

The group currently has a poll on their website and on Facebook where they are encouraging individuals to cast their vote for the group’s new single. The choices are between “Out of the Wilderness” and “Built On Sand” – both from the group’s critically acclaimed release Out of the Wilderness.

“We love both of these songs, but we thought who better to help us choose the next single than those that actually listen to the radio and drive this industry,” mentioned Phillip English of the English Family. “So far, we’ve gotten such positive feedback from this.”

The English Family hopes the new single will hit the desks of radio programmers all across the country next month. It will be the follow-up to the group’s Top 40 hit “Send Down Your Angels.”

To hear the songs and vote, head over the group’s webpage at .

The English Family recently scored their latest Top 40 hit. The group’s current single, “Send Down Your Angels,” recently cracked the Top 40 Weekly Chart – the industry’s most watched weekly radio report. “Send Down Your Angels” spent five weeks on the chart – peaking at #33 – an impressive run for an independently promoted song without major label backing. The song has also been a regular fixture on the popular Top 40 Fan Chart.

“Send Down Your Angels” was written by 16-year old group member Jacob English, and it features stellar vocal performances from Jacob and group patriarch Phillip English. The song is the group’s debut single from their Mansion Records recording Out of the Wilderness.

For more information on The English Family – visit them online at .

About The English Family
The English Family is a multi-faceted evangelistic ministry based out of Barnesville, Georgia. In addition to being talented in the vocal department, this family is deeply engaged in ministry. The English Family ministers at concerts, conferences, workshops, and even on cruises. The group’s current release is titled Out of the Wilderness and features the hit single "Send Down Your Angels."

HisSong Unveils New, Fully Updated Website

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 26, 2010) – Dove Award-nominated trio HisSong is pleased to announce the unveiling of their new, fully-updated webpage. The new page went live earlier this month and was designed by the staff of Allens Design Group.

Dennis Humphries of HisSong said, “We love our new website! It’s got a nice, classy look, and we are thrilled with the work that Kimberly Allen did for us.”

The site is an exhaustive telling of the ministry of HisSong. It features a biography, contact information, a photo gallery, schedules, and more.

To visit the newly designed HisSong website, visit

HisSong has already had a strong run in 2010. The trio received three nominations in the SGN Music Awards – including Album of the Year for their critically acclaimed Journey Through the Sky album. That album also received a nomination for Favorite Album in the upcoming SGM FanFair Awards to be held in Pigeon Forge, TN at the 6th Annual SGM FanFair next month. The album also landed a spot on the Top 10 ballot for the Diamond Awards.

Fans are encouraged to call and request the trio’s brand new single – “What a Difference a Day Makes.” The song has been steadily rising on all the Southern Gospel industry’s charts – including debuting at #50 on the upcoming May 2010 issue of the Singing News Top 80 and breaking the Top 20 on the (formerly Top 40 Weekly Chart.

To order HisSong’s new project, Journey Through the Sky, visit their website at . More information on ordering the disc can be found at their website.

HisSong is booked through the Adoration Agency. For more information on how to book the popular trio, log on to or call (910) 426-1931.

HisSong also has a weekly online newsletter which gives fans of the group information on the ministry and much more.

More information on HisSong can be found at Fans are encouraged to visit the group’s MySpace at

About HisSong
Based out of Nashville, Tennessee, HisSong has already achieved national notoriety within the group’s short lifetime. HisSong received their first GMA Dove Award nomination last year for the critically acclaimed breakthrough recording On the Way Up. The group has been awarded two Diamond Awards. HisSong’s current single is “What a Difference a Day Makes.”

Sharron Kay King, SoGoStage to Produce Behind-the-Scenes of Concept Video

{Bellingham, WA} Rob Patz, Owner of and parent company, Coastal Media Group (which also owns, announced today that will be behind the scenes of a Sharron Kay King Driver “Christian concept video” scheduled for May, 2010 in Walker, LA.

Patz said, “I’m so excited to take SoGoStage to the set of this annointed artist’s video production. As Sharron’s own video will be filmed, will do our own “behind the scenes” shoot. Sharron’s success in her music ministry has not been an accident. She is continously trying to get the message of Christ out to a wider audience, and we want to be on location to document her delivery of that message and this monumental milestone in Sharron’s ministry.”

Dempsey Howard, originator of, remained on board with Patz, when Patz recently purchased the website, and notes, “I created the website to bring excellent music videos to fans and friends of this music we love. I am glad we have the capability to shoot this behind the scene footage of Sharron as her own production is being made.”

“It’s an exciting project.” Sharron added, “The ‘Christian Concept’ video is being filmed in conjunction with my latest single entitled, ‘Don’t Stop Believing,’ with the production expertise of Paul Catalanotto. In this day and time, people are having a hard time knowing what to believe, and we all need to be reminded to focus on God and the ‘word.’ My mission is that the single and video will challenge the listeners’ minds to not stop believing and to hold on to faith in these troubled times. It’s both a pleasure and honor to have video tape the process of my own film being made. I appreciate the faith Rob and Dempsey have in my ministry. This is what I believe in, and hopefully it will uplift and encourage those who are experiencing discouragement and a challenge to their faith. I’m looking forward to the possibilities and miracles that could come out of this project we are doing with my own film and appreciate SoGospelStage coming to Louisiana for this event. I hope the listening and viewing audience will enjoy the latest single, ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ with the associated video and the behind the scenes shoot that Rob and Dempsey are so good at doing.”

For More info on this recording artist: (Represented by: Southern Spin Entertainment)
For More info on visit:,, and
(, Represented by: EHA-Nashville)

Monday, April 26, 2010

SGM Radio Blog’s Top Ten: Matt Bond from WYGS in Indiana

We are thrilled to share with you these mini-interviews with some great Southern Gospel artists! Check back often to see who is next on the SGM Radio Blog's Top Ten!

Matt Bond
I work at WYGS, a Southern Gospel radio station in Columbus, Indiana, where I’ve been for a year and a half. I am probably one of the few DJ’s in Southern Gospel that didn’t grow up listening to the music; so to say that the music has grown on me is pretty true. The music we play at WYGS has probably an 80/20 split, in that 80% of the music has an updated sound to it. We have a saying here at WYGS that we are the extension of the church, whose purpose is to shepherd the flock and to evangelize to the non-believers. So while we reach out to our current listeners, I totally believe that we need to be reaching the non-believers. I think the updated sound of Southern Gospel music helps with that. While we still play Gold City, Brian Free, Kingdom Heirs, etc, I don’t have a problem with reaching out to some of the other groups that may not get noticed at other stations, as long as they have a quality sound, like The Hunters, or Jared and Nick Fields because they have that progressive sound to them.

Matt Bond’s Top Ten

1. Have you been on a mission trip? If you have, where did you go? If you haven’t, would you like to and where would you want to go?

I’ve been on a few, I’ve been to Haiti twice and to Show Low, Arizona 3 times.

2. What artist are you listening to right now?

Does the clock ticking count? I don’t have any music on right now, but if I did, it would probably be Austin’s Bridge.

3. What was the best decade for music? Favorite artist from that decade?
1980’s - Well, I didn’t grow up in Gospel music, so probably Journey. I know, I’m bad.

4. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Wisdom…I think Solomon was on it!

5. What is one habit you would like to break?

Being annoying!

6. Who is your most favorite Bible person/character?

I love Peter. He’s the rock on which Christ built his church.

7. What is your favorite Bible verse?

2 Corinthians 12:9, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.””

8. Name a song that once it gets stuck in your head you can’t get it out.

Right now, it’s “The Wheels on the Bus Go ‘Round and ‘Round”…that’s what my 19 month old is singing!

9. Name a character trait or fruit of the spirit you would really like to develop in your life.


10. What is the last book you read?

John Grisham’s “The Appeal”

Friday, April 23, 2010


Kari Jobe Performed Worship Song of the Year “Revelation Song” (written by Songwriter of the Year Jennie Lee Riddle)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – April 22, 2010 – Integrity Music artists Kari Jobe and Israel Houghton took home two Dove Awards and Jennie Lee Riddle, writer of “Revelation Song,” was named the Dove Award Songwriter of the Year last night in Nashville.

The 41st Annual GMA Dove Awards, Christian/Gospel music’s biggest night of the year, was held at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville and will be seen on television nationwide on gmc (, Sunday, April 25, 2010 from 8 p.m. - 10 p.m. EST. gmc can be seen on various cable systems around the country, on DIRECTV on channel 338 and on Verizon FiOS on channel 224.

Jobe, whose debut self-title project was the year’s biggest-selling CD by a new artist, received two Dove trophies for Spanish Language Album of the Year for the Spanish version of her debut record and Special Event Album of the Year for her participation on the Glory Revealed II: The Word of God In Worship.

The awards were just part of Jobe’s exciting first experience at the Dove Awards as she revealed her gifts as a worshipper and vocalist tonight joining Phillips, Craig & Dean onstage for a powerful collaboration of "Revelation Song," and judging from the audience’s thunderous reaction it was one of the most powerful performances of the night.

Jennie Lee Riddle and Kari Jobe celebrate their Dove Awards with their Integrity Music and Gateway Church families.
“Revelation Song” won the Dove Award for Worship Song of the Year for its writer Jennie Lee Riddle, a Gateway Create/Integrity Praise Music songwriter. “Revelation Song” is featured Jobe's debut album and was also a radio hit for Phillips, Craig & Dean. That song and its impact in churches and on the radio was one of the key reasons Riddle was given her additional Dove Award as Songwriter of the Year, a tremendous honor in a music genre that is defined by its lyrics.

Israel Houghton, after winning his third GRAMMY Award earlier this year, was honored with two Dove Awards last night. The title track “The Power of One” from his latest CD was named the Contemporary Gospel Recorded Song of the Year and “Just Wanna Say” from The Power of One won Urban Recorded Song of the Year (in a tie with BeBe and CeCe Winan’s “Close To You.”).

Earlier in the week, leading U.S. music rights organization Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) saluted the past year’s most-performed songs on Christian radio and television during its annual Christian Music Awards. Integrity Music Publishing and songwriter received two awards -- My Name is Victory” by BMI songwriter, Jonathan Nelson; and “Today is the Day” by BMI songwriter, Lincoln Brewster (co-written with ASCAP writer Paul Baloche).


** Weekly 30-Minute Drama airing on over 900 Stations Worldwide **
COLORADO SPRINGS , CO – APRIL 22, 2010 - When A Peep Behind the Scenes was released in 1878, it quickly sold over 2-1/2 million copies. Now in 2010, it has been transformed into a powerful 7-part audio drama that will help reach the hurting and the lost. Masterfully written, produced, and sound engineered with original music scores by the world's leading creatives, Lamplighter Theatre is building Christ-like character one story at a time.
In order to help listeners, churches and pastors fulfill the Great Commission, Lamplighter Theatre will give the full 7-part audio drama of A Peep Behind the Scenes away FREE from May 28 to June 30, 2010 - a $35 value. This is after the series has concluded its initial airing on May 22.
Click to Hear 2-1/2 Minute Outreach Promo from
Lamplighter Theatre host, John Rhys-Davies
“More than any audio drama we have produced to date, A Peep Behind the Scenes represents a powerful, non-threatening opportunity for Christians to reach the hurting, hopeless, and the lost,” says Lamplighter president and founder, Mark Hamby. “We want to do everything possible to make sure this message reaches people who need it. A Peep will touch hurting hearts that don’t yet know Christ, and help struggling believers find their way back to Him.”
Immediate need! Radio stations are encouraged to let their listeners know about this special, limited-time offer. Please direct listeners to where they can click on the web banner for A Peep Behind the Scenes to sign up for the free download. Web banners are also available (links below). For stations that are not already affiliated with Lamplighter Theatre, the entire 7-part series A Peep Behind the Scenes will be made available in May to be aired as a 3-½ hour block, or one episode per night for a week.
Chad Shoppa
(719) 536-9000 x127
Resources Page for A Peep Behind the Scenes
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Hear First Episode of A Peep (30-minutes, in 3 parts)
Signup to Air the Weekly Audio Drama, Lamplighter Theatre
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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Three Bridges Names Shannon Smith New Lead Singer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Celebrated trio and Homeland Entertainment recording artist Three Bridges is proud to announce the addition of Shannon Smith to the group. Smith, who joins the group immediately, will assume the position of lead singer for the exciting trio.

Shannon Smith is no stranger to the Gospel music stage. Smith was the lead vocalist for Grammy Award-winning and GMA Hall of Fame Inductees The Imperials for many years. During his tenure with The Imperials, Smith was nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year in the 2008 SGN Music Awards and was a part of the Album of the Year winning Back to the Roots project. Shannon also had a successful solo ministry for many years and has served as a Pastor. He most recently was a worship leader at a church in North Miami, Florida.

"When I left the road 2 years ago, I really needed some time to get away and just focus on the Lord, His Word and my family,” mentioned Shannon. “Our time in the Miami area accomplished just that - it was almost like a sabbatical. We have prayed over this decision for several months, and I am filled with excitement and expectation as I join Elliott McCoy and Three Bridges. I look forward to helping Three Bridges continue to share the goodness and love of Jesus in every way possible."

Smith is replacing Scott Johnson as the lead singer for the popular trio. Johnson is leaving the road due to health reasons.

Elliott McCoy of Three Bridges said, “Scott was a fantastic addition to our group, and we were saddened when he had to leave the group. However, we knew that God sent us Scott, and God would send us a replacement for him as well. Shannon is one of the most talented vocalists I have ever heard. He adds his own unique flair to these songs, and we can not wait for our friends to get to know him and his family.”

Three Bridges recently scored their latest Top 10 hit according to the April 2010 issue of the Singing News Top 80 chart. “It Took His Breath Away,” from the Homeland Records release Another Blessing, currently sits at #10 this month. The song has also been a regular fixture on the (formerly Top 40 Weekly Chart, Christian Voice Magazine Top 100, Top 40 Fan Chart, and other charts.

For more information on Three Bridges, visit them on the web at or . Three Bridges will also be a regular featured artist on the upcoming national television program “Brush Arbor Jubilee" as will be shown on numerous networks and local cable markets nationwide.

The Freemans Grace the Cover of SGN Scoops Digital

Group Debuts New Song From Much Anticipated New Album at 2010 SGN Music Awards Celebration

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Popular Southern Gospel artist The Freemans grace the cover of the highly popular internet magazine SGN Scoops Digital this month. The cover story, written by Southern Gospel journalist Lorraine Walker, is a two-part story that covers the group’s history and motivation.

Darrell Freeman of The Freemans said, “We were very excited when we were contacted by the magazine about being their cover story this month. We love getting to talk to folks and meeting new people. Lorraine was very gracious, and we have enjoyed the feedback from the article so far.”

In addition, the group talked at length about their new release – the follow-up to their most critically-acclaimed release to date – Eyes On the Prize.

“We are so excited about this new record,” mentioned Chris Freeman. “These songs are just dripping with God’s anointing. We can’t wait to see how He works through this new album.”

The Freemans debuted a new song from the release last week at the 2010 SGN Music Awards Celebration in which they were nominated for four awards. The song, titled “The Father and the Son,” was penned by award-winning songwriter Dianne Wilkinson and received a standing ovation the night of the performance.

Chris Freeman said, “The material that we are already staging is just getting an incredible response already. To see our own peers as well as the fans get behind the new material like this is just amazing. We are so grateful that God continues to use our ministry after all these years.”

“Since the awards were streamed this year, we have gotten a multitude of positive reactions to the song,” mentioned Darrell Freeman. “Thousands of people got to hear the song for the first time – and we are so thankful to the SGN Music Awards for allowing us the opportunity to perform on their excellent show.”

The new, currently untitled release has a tentative street date of May 2010. More information on that will be released at a later date.

To visit the newly designed website of The Freemans, visit

You can also visit the group’s MySpace at The group’s Fan Facebook is located at

About The Freemans
The Freemans are one of Southern Gospel’s most celebrated and critically acclaimed groups. History, experience and spiritual wisdom are three attributes that can be used to describe the foundation of the Freeman ministry. Deeply rooted with family, the Freemans’ experience spans 30+ years. Now in their 20th year of ministry, the Freemans still perform at approximately 250 dates a year, and continue to experience tremendous success.

SSE Artists Land 30 Nominations on Diamond Awards Top 10 Ballot

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Coastal Media Group and SGN Scoops Digital, home of the Diamond Awards, announced the Top 10 ballot for the Diamond Awards earlier this month. Southern Spin Entertainment artists and organizations landed a total of 30 nominations on the Top 10 ballot.

SSE’s home on the web landed a nomination for Favorite Industry Website, alongside three-time winner of the award (now Also, Chris Unthank, program manager for, landed a Top 10 spot for the Paul Heil Award for Broadcasting. was awarded the Paul Heil Award in 2006.

“We are absolutely thrilled that we have representation in almost every single category on the 2010 Diamond Awards Top 10 ballot,” mentioned Amy Marie Unthank of SSE Group, Inc. “We feel like we represent some of the industry’s most talented and brightest artists. This is a just a testament to that fact.”

SSE artists and organizations landed Top 10 nominations in the following categories:

SONG: “Hold On” (Dove Brothers), “It’s All About Him” (Praise Incorporated)

ALBUM: It’s All About Him (Praise Incorporated), Journey Through the Sky (HisSong)

MIXED GROUP: The Freemans

QUARTET: Praise Incorporated

TRIO: 2nd Generation, HisSong

DUET: Lee & Loyall


FEMALE SOLOIST: Bev McCann, Misty Freeman, Sharron Kay King

LIVING LEGEND: Kelly Nelon Clark (The Nelons)

INSTRUMENTALIST: Adam Harman (Dove Brothers)

SUNRISE AWARD: 2nd Generation, Praise Incorporated




CHRISTIAN COUNTRY GROUP: Dove Brothers, Eighth Day, Praise Incorporated

VIDEO/DVD: Hinsons Live! (The Freemans)

BLUEGRASS ARTIST: Bound & Determined

ARTIST WEBSITE: 2nd Generation (, Brothers Forever (


Fans can now vote for their favorites from the Top 10 ballot. The online ballot is designed for fans to vote for their favorite artists and individuals for each award. Fans and industry supporters are encouraged to visit the SGN Scoops Digital website to place their votes. The Diamond Awards home on the web is located at

The 2010 Diamond will once again take place at the Branson Gospel Music Convention. The show will take place on Thursday, July 1, 2010 in Branson, Missouri at the Branson Convention Center. The awards program will precede the Thursday evening concerts and will begin at 6:00 p.m.

For more information on the Diamond Awards – visit the SGN Scoops Digital website at .

About Southern Spin Entertainment
Southern Spin Entertainment is one of three divisions of the conglomerate SSE Group, Inc. Southern Spin Entertainment focuses on publicity and marketing for Southern and Country Gospel artists. The company currently represents many artists, companies, and organizations in all genres of Gospel music.

For more information on Southern Spin Entertainment, go to .

SSE Group’s three divisions include Southern Spin Entertainment, SSE Design Group, and Southern Spin Radio. SSE Group currently owns and operates Glorious Creations and

For more information on SSE Group, go to

Testimonial Song from the Pen of The Dotsons’ John Dotson Hits #1

Heirline Takes “Not the Man I Used to Be” to #1 on Christian Voice Magazine’s Top 100 Southern Gospel Chart

SILVER LAKE, Ind. – A testimonial song written by John Dotson (of The Dotsons) reached the #1 spot this month on Christian Voice Magazine’s Top 100 Southern Gospel chart. The song, titled “Not the Man I Used to Be,” was recorded and released as a single to Southern Gospel radio by hit-makers Heirline.

“Not the Man I Used To Be” is the second #1 hit for Heirline on this specific chart from their latest recording The Reason That I Sing. The Dotsons have also recorded the song, and it continues to be one of the group’s most requested tunes.

“I am continually amazed at how God uses this song,” mentioned John Dotson. “People relate to this song so well. We were excited when Ernie Dawson & Heirline decided to record it – and now to see that people are connecting with it on a national level means even more to us!”

Heirline’s version of “Not the Man I Used To Be” reached the #1 spot on Christian Voice Magazine’s Top 100 Southern Gospel chart this month (April 2010 issue).

The Dotsons’ Still Small Voice released last summer. Still Small Voice features production work from Eddie Crook (tracks) and Adrian Payne (vocals). Seven of the project’s 12 tracks were written by John Dotson, including the title cut “Still Small Voice.” The duo also put their touch on classics like “Rise Again,” “Soul Fillin’ Station,” “God Delivers Again,” “He Broke the Chains,” and “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow.”

For more information on The Dotsons, visit . Fans are also encouraged to visit the group’s MySpace at .

About The Dotsons
The Dotsons are a husband and wife duet based out of Silver Lake, Indiana. John and Yavonna have been singing together for over 20 years. They started out singing in their home church, funerals and weddings. In early 1998, God started opening doors and leading them in a different direction. They did their first recording 1998. They are now in their 10th year of traveling and singing as a ministry team with a total of five recordings. The Dotsons just released their latest recording – Still Small Voice – last year.

Richard Hyssong Joins Chapel Valley

Chapel Valley has announced that Richard Hyssong has been recently added as their Marketing and Artist Director.

Richard has been a recording artist with Chapel Valley for six years. He continues to travel full-time with his popular musical family, The Hyssongs, while signing groups and representing artists on the Chapel Valley compilation discs. His first month representing Chapel Valley artists resulted in nine of them hitting the gospel radio charts.

Richard says that he is excited to be part of the team of one of the fastest growing record companies in the gospel music industry.

For more information on Chapel Valley go to To reach Richard Hyssong email him at or call him at 207-751-3742.

Be A Part Of The Live DVD Taping of Triumphant Quartet

Brentwood, TN (Mansion Entertainment) April 21, 2010 – Recently Grammy-nominated, Triumphant Quartet, will be recording a new project and live performance in Branson, MO at The Mansion Theater for future release on DVD.

Branson Missouri, with some of the grandest theater stages in the country, is fast becoming known as a prime location to witness some of the best talent that Southern Gospel has to offer. This reputation will continue to grow on June 24th, 2010 at 3pm, as Southern Gospel music fans are invited to be a part of the live audience at The Mansion Theater when Triumphant Quartet takes the stage to record their live DVD. Free DVD’s will be given to the first 100 people to order tickets for the event once the final product has been completed.

Triumphant Quartet has recently been recognized recently with a Grammy nomination for Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album as well as being the awarded the Top Male Quartet of the Year at the 2009 Singing News Fan Awards. They are known for such top charting songs as “I Bring You Forgiveness”, “Don’t Let The Sandals Fool Ya” and most recently, “Everyday”.

To order tickets for the live DVD taping you can contact the Mansion Entertainment office at 866.707.4100. For directions to The Mansion Theater visit their website at For more information regarding Triumphant Quartet, visit

SGM Radio Blog’s Top Ten: Lord’s Harmony

We are thrilled to share with you these mini-interviews with some great Southern Gospel artists! Check back often to see who is next on the SGM Radio Blog's Top Ten!

Lord’s Harmony by Sheila Drygalski
Lord’s Harmony is from Clarksville, Tennessee and will go anywhere that people call and ask us to come to. We have been to different area churches. We have also sung at a couple of different fundraisers here in Clarksville TN, our hometown. To contact Lord’s Harmony:
Sheila Drygalski -
Tamara Latham - (931) 980-1203
Chris Rose - (931) 494-0140

Lord’s Harmony Top Ten by Sheila Drygalski

1. Please tell us the name of your latest recording and your favorite song from that CD. What is the message behind this song?

Our newest CD is Directions which is partially finished. God's Heavenly Band talks about being reunited with loved ones that have gone home and that there won't be any more good byes. We’ll be praising our Savior for eternity.

2. What is one group highlight from the last 12 months?

A group highlight has been getting to know other local groups. We have become friends with Salem Ridge Quartet, another local group.

3. What is your favorite TV series rerun?

We all like the classics from the 60's, 70's, and 80's.

4. What is the furthest place you have been from your current hometown?

As a group, the furthest place we have been from our hometown to sing would have to be Palmyra TN or Auburn KY. We will be in Louisville KY for NQC September 2010.

5. What artist are you listening to right now?

We all really like Booth Brothers, Legacy Five, Greater Vision, and Casting Crowns

6. What was the best decade for music? Favorite artist from that decade?

We all like Southern Gospel from the 60's. Favorites from then would have to be The Speers and The Cathedrals.

7. Who is your favorite Christian author/teacher/evangelist?

Christian evangelist - We all really admire Billy Graham

8. Who is your most favorite Bible person/character?


9. What is your favorite Bible verse?

Tamara - Phil 4:13; Chris - Psalm 126:3; Holly - John 3:16

10. What is the last book you read?

Chris is currently reading Roger Bennett's Midnight Meditations

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

ReWind Wednesdays: Southern Gospel in Canada

Southern Gospel is Alive and Well in the Frozen North

Southern Gospel music has gained an audience all around the globe to places far beyond its humble beginnings in America. Before it was even known as “Southern Gospel”, the now-familiar harmonies and tempos of legendary quartets and family groups were gradually working their way north to Canada and being embraced by the Ontario audiences.

Though hampered by meager airplay on radio and television, this type of Christian music worked its way into the hearts of Canadians, imported from the States by the likes of the Cathedral Quartet and the Blue Ridge Quartet, and later on by the Songmen of the South and the Dixie Melody Boys. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, various promoters in Ontario began to host concerts featuring top US groups along with the best of Ontario’s Gospel artists. Gold City, The Singing Americans and the Nelons graced the larger stages in cities like Toronto, Hamilton, London and Niagara Falls. They were joined by some of the favorite Ontario groups from that time period: the Chrystalaires, the Sellwoods, The Proverbs, and the Snider Family. Several members from these groups still sing today, and often will appear at different concerts throughout the province.

One of Ontario’s first groups to travel and sing gospel music was the Proverbs. Beginning in 1967, this family group began with two brothers, Dave and Frank Daw, and their cousin Ken Harnden. They recorded an album in 1968 before traveling to the Stamps School of Music in Texas. They soon began touring up to 200 dates a year, coast to coast in both Canada and the United States. Still touring today as a family group, Dave and his wife Kathy also run “Summit Sound”, a studio they opened in 1974. Having produced over a thousand gospel albums, Dave is reluctant to use the label “Southern” Gospel for their type of music.

“…At the time the Proverbs began... and several years later when the CGMA [Canadian Gospel Music Association] began, I am certain that the term “southern gospel” had never even been invented. Our group traveled a great deal in the south starting around 1969 when we attended the Stamps School of Music in Texas...and later representing Canada at the International Festival of Gospel Song in Nashville (at the invitation of the Oak Ridge Boys) where we were made honorary citizens of the state of Tennessee in 1973... During that entire time, we never encountered anyone who used the term “southern” gospel,” Dave explains. Around the time that term began to be used in the late 1970’s, Dave had joined the newly formed “Canadian Gospel Music Association”, which at the time consisted of a few groups including the Hisey Family, the Viscounts, and the Watchmen. Dave became active in the Association, acting as President for many years, publishing the CGMA newspaper, and producing annual CGMA showcase albums featuring top Ontario artists. The CGMA is still going strong today.

“From the moment I joined the board of the CGMA (in its second year) we struggled to ensure that our CDN association did not promote any one musical style over another (like GMA had done in the USA) and that we did not discriminate against any valid Christian musical style. Our CGMA events always featured a variety of artists from traditional, black gospel to contemporary, although this did get us in trouble with some fans who thought we should be one dimensional. Our awards always recognized traditional gospel, ethic categories (including French language and black gospel) and contemporary Christian, which included rock, pop, and later, urban, hip hop, rap, alternative etc. The CGMA has continued and is currently under the capable leadership of President Dr. Gary Dix, who was my vice president before I left the board.”

When mentioning “Southern Gospel”, Dave says: “Never during my 23 year tenure on the board did we have awards labeled “southern gospel” since the executive believed this was a contradiction of terms - with the CGMA being located in Canada – far from the south. We did joke about having a “northern gospel” award, but never actually used that label either. Personally I have always enjoyed most styles of gospel music.”

Dave and Kathy Daw currently travel with Karen and Neil Prins, as the Proverbs’ ministry continues in its fourth decade, and details about their group can be found at . Having been around in the formative stages of Canadian-styled Southern Gospel, Dave doesn’t see himself as being the epitome of all northern gospel music knowledge. “…The one thing I can legitimately claim is that I am older then many of the folks who currently perform in the Gaither Homecoming videos... Of course Bill Gaither is much older, (smarter and thus infinitely richer) than me... but I’m getting up there with the old-timers”.

Another artist who will also admit this is Mike Moran, one of the original members of the Torchmen Quartet. The Torchmen were formed in 1969, as a male quartet that is currently one of the best in Canada. Appearing regularly at the National Quartet Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, the Torchmen have been favorites across Canada and the States for many years. Mike is the baritone, and he has seen many singers move through the ranks of the Torchmen as the group changed into the current dynamic lineup they have today. Last year, their tenor Mike Helwigg joined the Wilburns based in Carthage TN. In December, their lead singer Steve Ash was replaced by Dave Randall, an Ontario artist who won the soloist category at the NQC Talent Contest this past September. When commenting on the personnel changes, Mike says, “I still find it hard to believe how God continues to fill the holes in the Torchmen. It always confirms to me that God is still blessing the ministry of our group”.

Based out of the Niagara Peninsula area of Southern Ontario, the Torchmen have enjoyed several honors bestowed on them such as Favorite Male Quartet (for ten years!) by the CGMA, a Grammy award nomination in 1995, and appearances with the Gaither Homecoming artists in Toronto. They have toured Haiti and performed on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. They record with Tradition Records in Nashville, and also host the Hamilton Gospel Sings which promote major concerts in Southern Ontario.

Mike has a positive attitude when it comes to the trials of traveling, and life in general. “…Even at my senior age I have discovered that life seems to get harder, rather than easier. So what do I do you ask? I quote to myself from of all people Mark Lowery. He says his favorite bible verse is "It came to pass (not to stay)", but I have learned that all you have is here and now. That's the only thing you can control. Both good and bad is there, and you concentrate on the good!” You can read more on the Torchmen and their ministry at

Another group synonymous with Southern Gospel’s beginnings in Ontario is the Watchmen Quartet. According to their website at , this male quartet began in 1968 when four teenagers joined together to enter a local talent contest. Still traveling part-time today, this group has over 20 recordings to their credit, including both solo and quartet projects. Their travel time is limited as two members are full-time pastors. One of these pastors, Tim Harden, tenor for the group, comments on the challenges of being a gospel music singer in Southern Ontario.

“Canada is in a post-Christian era. According to some pollsters, less than 4% of Canadians attend evangelical churches on a regular basis. The Southern Gospel music crowd tends to be from the Evangelical churches. (Of course there are exceptions to that) So, our audience base is not all it could be, and then add that to the geographics of Canada and it means lots of travel if you are doing lots of singing. Another challenge is getting people to commit to concerts ahead of time. Now I'm speaking more on behalf or the concert promoters. It used to be in the glory years of the all night sings, if you didn't get your tickets early, you didn't get them at all. Now it is often a real nail-biter for the promoters right up to the end because people tend to defer their decision as what they are going to do longer. On the plus side, Gaither and Friends have been a great help to SGM in both Canada and the USA and have drawn many new fans into the southern gospel genre of music, which has been good for all of us. New radio stations that have Southern Gospel programming has also been good (for artists in Ontario).”

Another veteran of many favorite groups including The Chrystalaires, The Viscounts, and The Torchmen, is Don Frost. A fixture in Canadian Gospel Music, Don’s low bass voice now blends with the Middle Cross Quartet, a male quartet based out of Midhurst Ontario. Don was also involved with the CGMA, voted in as president for a term in the early 1980’s. Middle Cross has been active for a number of years, and had the privilege of having Nick Succi play for them before he joined the Kingsmen Quartet out of Asheville NC. You can find Middle Cross online at .

Several other male quartets make the circuit in Southern Ontario, many of them boasting over 20 years each in Southern Gospel. The Master’s Four travel part-time while holding down full-time jobs, and were honored to have Nick Bruno produce their last two albums in Nashville. A mix of southern and inspiration, these guys have shared the stage with the likes of the Booth Brothers and Greater Vision. Check them out at .

Triumphant Sound was formed 25 years ago as a male quartet, and currently travels as a trio. They currently book approximately 30 dates a year, but member Bryan Nelson says, “We are trusting the Lord to open more doors for us to walk through this year. We are open to go where and when He opens the door…”. From their history to their mission statement on their website, this trio’s purpose is to minister. Singing songs that have a strong message, this group definitely adds a Canadian flare to the Southern material they record. You can hear some samples at:

The Ontario Gospel scene hosts many mixed groups as well. One of the most-loved and enduring is the Chapelaires from London. Started in 1970 by Dave Jackson, this part-time group has had 29 members minister with them, among them Joan Walker, a talented pianist and vocalist. Sheila Jackson, Dave’s wife sings the alto part, and they are joined by Paul Mackay and Myrna Long. Myrna has been a part of several well-known Ontario groups including: The Singing Canadians, The Viscounts, and Promise. This wealth of talent and experience is showcased on their website which provides a page of song clips as well as information about the present members. Their itinerary has always had a mix of venues from across Ontario. Sheila states, “One of our biggest challenges is to balance time between ministry, work and family commitments. Winter travel is also a challenge for Canadian Gospel Groups. More bookings in the south would be great!!”

This desire to be in a warmer climate is echoed by all the groups that travel through the ice and snow to their various winter appearances. Sure Foundation is a mixed group from Windsor, a border town next to Detroit MI. Manager Grant Snary, remarks: “We travel roughly 80 dates a year in Ontario and Michigan with some dates in Ohio, Kentucky and North Carolina. We are planning a tour to Florida in 06….The travel is a challenge being on a border city. We have had to get visas in order to cross the border freely even though the US singers don't when traveling this way.” Sure Foundation is also involved in promoting concerts in Southwestern Ontario. You can check out their site at .

Another popular Ontario group, the Parker Trio, recently relocated to Nashville TN. Traveling extensively across the United States and Canada, this mixed trio is on the road 260 days a year. Having won several awards from the CGMA, their ministry has grown tremendously in the last few years. You can read about them at .

Several artists have begun their careers in groups, only to find the Lord leading them into a solo career. Among these are some artists from Ontario that have found their paths heading stateside as well as across Canada.

Starting as a tenor in two male quartets, Kevin Pauls from Waterloo sang with The Torchmen and Sonshine City for several years. Beginning his full-time solo ministry over two years ago was a step of faith for Kevin, as the lack of radio and television stations make it difficult for new artists – especially soloists- to be heard. Averaging 120 dates a year, he has plans to travel to Europe and Australia in 2006. “My goal is simple”, says Kevin. “ people to worship and create an atmosphere to allow the Holy Spirit to move. I also want to create an action for our Christianity. I will always align myself with groups like World Vision so that we can tangibly put our faith into action.” Kevin has formed a praise and worship band that now travel with him called “Beyond the Veil”. All of the Veil members are former quartet boys and that experience shapes their vocal styling even while the type of music is no longer southern. Kevin has had the privilege of traveling with the Gaither tour across Canada, as well as sharing the stage with Michael English. His website includes a personal blog and can be found at .

One of the most powerful southern gospel family groups in the 80’s was The Elliott Family. Joan and her children Marlene and Todd sang a blend of black/southern/soul music that was unique and unequalled in the Ontario concert circuit. For the last 17 years, Marlene Elliot O’Neil has made a name for herself as she travels and sings solo throughout Canada, the United States and even as far as Zambia, Africa. A strong, down-to-earth wife, mother, and woman of God, Marlene uses her gifts to reach out to all audiences. She has a few comments on Southern Gospel in Canada: “I think that the line separating SG music from others has become some-what blurred over the last few years. Saying that, SG is not as wide spread here in Canada as it is in our sister country of United States. Therefore, I think it is so well-received and appreciated here for the specific fans of this specific kind of music. If a promoter is looking for a professional 'southern gospel artist' there are only a select few to choose from. As an artist, however, it is important to me to exercise my vocal music gift fully and record several different styles of gospel music. Therefore, appealing to a wider audience, yet staying true to my calling.” In response to this desire, Marlene is working on her 7th solo CD which she says will reflect her roots of “Old Black Gospel”. You can find out more about Marlene’s ministry at .

Andrew Martin began his singing adventure in much the same way, by being a part of southern gospel groups in his formative years. However, he started by playing the drums and singing back-up. Then he was called to a solo ministry in 1998. In the last three years he has done 500 concerts and recorded six CD’s. Andrew has a unique and interesting story: “My main goal for ministry is sharing the Love of Christ with as many people as I can. I love sharing my testimony of battling with Bi-Polar Manic Depression and all of the ups and downs that the disease had on my life. I share from the diagnosis, through the medication, learning about the disease and what triggered it the most in my life, all the way to May of 2001 when sitting at a stop light in Belleville, Ontario, Canada God completely healed me and I have been free ever since. I love telling people that God truly cares for them and no matter what they are facing that God is there. The enemy loves to help us focus on the problems in our lives so that keeps us from having an intimate relationship with our heavenly father. I try to encourage people to stop looking at the problem and start focusing only on God for I know that He will take care of the problem. I wrote a song from that stand point that says "I Know My God Cares For Me". He shares more of his testimony in his website at .

Andrew’s views of Canadian SGM reflect what many of the artists have shared: “There are many challenges and advantages of anything that we do. One of the main challenges I think that all Canadian Southern Gospel Artists have is the fact of very few Christian Radio Stations in Canada. When there is a station it is usually Contemporary with a 1 or 2 hour Southern Gospel program on Saturday night or Sunday. So that makes it very challenging to have people know who you are if they can't hear you. The advantage to that is that you have to go to many cities and many churches to get people to know who you are and because of that you are sharing your testimony and God's love with more people and that is most definitely an advantage.”

There are many more artists that make up just the Ontario scene of Canadian Southern Gospel Music. Many of these you will never see or hear, yet they still travel many miles to countless little churches in the cities and towns sprawled across this large province. Yet the sounds of Southern Gospel are alive and well, even with the unique challenges that such a diverse culture and terrain provides. Artists are striving for excellence and doing it for the love of the Lord, as large venues are few and flats notoriously small out of necessity. Where there is little chance for advertising, and roots that are only a few decades deep, the southern gospel circuit is still building slowly. However, the fans that do catch onto this music are devoted and faithful, forever optimistic that this type of music will continue to grow in Southern Ontario.

By Lorraine Walker
First published 2005 used by permission