An unprecedented gathering of Christian and Gospel music’s premier artists and industry leaders united last night (10/12) for a concert to celebrate their musical legacy and support the mission of the Gospel Music Association (GMA), the non-profit trade organization which has championed Christian music for more than 45 years.
The musical event lived up to its billing as “the Concert of the Decade” with performances by Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Casting Crowns, MercyMe, Kirk Franklin, Point of Grace, Jason Crabb, Martha Munizzi, the Fisk Jubilee Singers, Natalie Grant, Bernie Herms and the Booth Brothers. Brown Bannister, five-time Dove Award-winning Producer of the Year, produced the concert, which was staged at the Loveless Café Barn in Nashville.
GMA Board of Directors chairman Ed Leonard (president of Daywind Music), welcomed the near-capacity crowd of more than 350, plus an online audience of close to 10,000, to the fundraising dinner and concert, created in response to financial needs the GMA has, owing in part to the economic recession. “While tonight we’ve come together to help the GMA navigate through some immediate challenges, this assembly also offers us a unique blessing to renew the commitment to our community, and to build a GMA that is relevant for the future.”
Also appearing onstage as segment hosts were author/pastor David Nasser; Premier Productions President Roy Morgan; and GMA Executive Committee member Eddie DeGarmo (president of EMI CMG Publishing). Special guest U. S. Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), co-founder of the Congressional Songwriters Caucus, spoke to the importance of the advocacy the Gospel Music Association offers for its members.
The concert culminated with industry-leading Dove winners Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant singing “Friends,” followed by a stirring finale featuring the evening’s entire lineup leading the classic worship song “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone).”
Sponsors and partners of Concert of the Decade included Platinum Sponsors World Vision, Compassion International and the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau, plus the Grand Ole Opry, Gaylord Opryland Resorts and Convention Center, De Lux Productions, iTickets and the Gospel Music Channel. All performing artists and show producers donated their time, expenses and purchased the tickets to the event. *See below for a complete list of sponsors and partners.
Websites Godbeat.com and HearItFirst.com, in partnership with video platform provider 316Networks.com, offered a live web broadcast of the event, making it one of the largest Christian concerts ever streamed online.
The Concert of the Decade and dinner was staged at the Loveless Barn, the new intimate performance venue added to the Loveless Café restaurant on Highway 100 in Nashville.
For more information on supporting the Gospel Music Association or becoming a member, please visit www.gospelmusic.org or contact the Gospel Music Association directly at 615-242-0303.