Jason Crabb belts it out with The Crabb Family at the 42nd Annual GMA Dove Awards.
With all the Christian music industry and faithful fans’ eyes poised on the 43rd Annual GMA Dove Awards, chances are some flashbacks from previous years have surfaced. That’s probably because the enduring ceremony has hosted a cavalcade of spiritually minded stars, which between awards handed out, performances and acceptance speeches, means a whole lot of memories. While it’s easy to hit rewind on the DVR (or VCR for those who recorded a broadcast way back in the day) to see exactly what happened, gmc recently chatted with some of the show’s most legendary names of past and present for a slew of colorful stories. We know for a fact you’ve never heard these before!
Don’t be late!
Punctuality is always important in any walk of life, from getting to work on time to meeting friends for dinner or church on Sunday morning. It’s also imperative when people are counting on someone to show up in the spotlight of an awards ceremony, or even more glaringly, one that’s beaming live to millions across America.
“One year we got a deal with a limo service so we could get to the Dove Awards in plenty of time,” recalls longtime Petra frontman and solo artist John Schlitt, foreshadowing exactly where you think this story is going. “We got caught in traffic, missed the first part of the ceremony, which just happened to be when we were awarded a Dove. We walked in and the record company staff said, ‘Where have you been? You should be backstage with your award!’ Everyone watched us as we ran to the side of the stage to do our typical interviews. I would call that embarrassing!”
While Petra might have had a hard time playing the blunder off, their longtime pal Phil Keaggy also learned a lesson in punctuality during the Dove Awards. Luckily for the guitar genius, the timing turned out just right and it looked like his rushing was naturally paced.
“The first Dove Award I got was for The Wind and the Wheat from 1994,” he explains. “They always put the instrumental category first and I was running late to the show. As soon as I walk in the door and I’m rushing to find my seat, I hear my name: ‘Phil Keaggy.’ So I was finding my seat when I was being announced as the Dove Award winner.”
Leaving early enough to avoid traffic may be in an artist’s control, but what happens when something goes down that’s completely out of their hands? Well, if you’re a pro who’s made it to the Dove level, chances are you just go with the flow, though if it’s your very first televised appearance, sometimes that’s easier said than done!
“I was a performer on the 2001 Dove Awards singing my song ‘Blessed’ as a brand new artist,” remembers singer/songwriter Rachael Lampa, while suggesting readers brace themselves for their stomachs to sink. “They had set up a stage for me in the middle of the audience during a commercial break. The band, orchestra, cameras were all set, adrenaline was pumping. My parents were two feet in front of me. They count down ‘three, two, one,’ I open my mouth to belt out the first note and nothing is heard. My mic was off! All that drama and adrenaline times two was a lot for a rookie 15-year-old. It was a nice initiation to the industry!”
Thankfully, all those technical kinks were worked out and Lampa was heard crystal clear shortly thereafter, but what’s an artist to do if their microphone isn’t the problem? Just ask the highly decorated southern gospel/pop/soul favorite Jason Crabb, who’s inaugural performance with The Crabb Family for their classic “Through the Fire” almost never happened.
“The funny thing is that I had gotten sick and lost my voice that week and I didn’t think I was going to be able to sing,” he recollects. “I tried the day before, but my voice wasn’t there. I’ve always remembered that people specifically prayed for me that week. We sang with a choir and I remember them praying for me. I walked out there just hoping that I would have a voice, not knowing if it was going to be there or not. Things turned out well and it was a moment I’ll never forget. I was very thankful!”
Presenter punch lines
Though perhaps not as prominent as the performances, award presentations are still integral to the ceremony and the grounds for plenty of poignant - and in this case - laugh-out-loud moments. “One year I presented an award with Yolanda Adams,” offers fellow vocal diva Crystal Lewis. “Since she is at least six feet tall and I am barely five feet tall, they brought out a box for me to stand on!”
As discreet as that height adjustment may have been, another year brought improvisation when one legend honored another. “[One of my] best moments was presenting with Andrae Crouch and sharing the dignity and respect he received and deserved after all these years,” asserts blue-eyed soul star Bryan Duncan. “By then he couldn’t read the teleprompter at such a distance and I got to creatively suggest what he was supposed to say and then add my comments. I got to write my own joke too. We were honoring ‘milestones’ in Christian music... I thought it read ‘millstones.’
Long before the Dove Awards were shown on television, they were a much more intimate affair mostly honoring southern gospel artists during the National Quartet Convention. One of the very first groups to ever win a statue in 1969 was harmony-heavy luminaries The Imperials, though touring commitments prevented the singers (who even sang with Elvis Presley) from accepting in person.
“The group was in New Orleans appearing with [country singer/TV host/sausage guru] Jimmy Dean on Dove night when we got the call saying we had won ‘Group of the Year,’” notes original member Armond Morales. “We were signed with Benson and they handed us the award as we stepped off the plane on our return home.”
Another first (but on a more cute and cuddly note) came several decades later in 1999 when Plumb was performing in the pre-show celebration. “[It] was the first time my husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, had ever seen me play,” she shares. “A young teen who stood near him did not know he was my boyfriend and said to him as I came on stage ‘I’ve met her!’ and Jeremy wanted to say ‘I’ve kissed her!’ Ha! We both still laugh at that.”
Get ready to celebrate with more loads of love, laughs and live performances when the 43rd Annual GMA Dove Awards air on gmc Tuesday, April 24 at 8 PM and 10 PM ET.
Copyright 2012, watchgmctv.com. For permission to repost or reprint, click here.
About the Writer
Andy Argyrakis is a Chicago-based entertainment writer/photographer who appears in the Chicago Tribune, IllinoisEntertainer, Daily Journal, Concert Livewire, Hear/Say Magazine and Image Chicago (to name few). His record label writing credits include Warner Brothers, Atlantic, Curb, EMI and Universal, with additional photo credits for Fuse TV, Live Nation, Nikon, Pollstar, Celebrity Access, Paste Magazine, MTV.com and Vibe.com. He’s also the author/narrator of "Access Matthews" (an audio CD tracing the career of Dave Matthews Band) and spends considerable time on tour, including outings with Arlo Guthrie, The Guess Who, Madina Lake (on Linkin Park’s Projekt Revolution) and Gospel Music Channel’s very own "Gospel Dream" (where he served as season one judge).
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