Hearing good four-part harmony is something that has always made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Ever since the days when the sounds of “The Gospel Singing Jubilee” helped me energize sleep out of my pre-school eyes as we got ready to go to church, Southern gospel music has been part of my life.
This time of year, as the temperature begins to lower, my excitement level goes up just like that little boy who ran in the living room to watch the Happy Goodmans, the Dixie Echoes and the Florida Boys with the guests in the Zenith black and white TV set. The source of my anticipation is the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is close at hand at Dollywood. Added to the festivities this year is the Singing News Fan Awards. That alone will bring every major performing group in the industry to share a special day that honors legendary performers and recognizes those that are current and new.
To put the icing on the cake, superstar Dolly Parton will be there to receive the prestigious 2010 James D. Vaughan “Impact Award.”
Did I mention Dolly Parton was going to be there……?
Southern Gospel Music Association Executive Director Charlie Waller said that the award is presented to those whose careers make a significant impact on the Southern gospel music industry and expand the scope of the music.
“Dolly Parton is the most honored female country performer of all time,” he said. “Her efforts on behalf of our music at Dollywood have been instrumental in the establishment of our museum and hall of fame as well as providing a home for many of our artists to share their talents on the stages at Dollywood in front of millions of people.”
He added that the Country Music Hall of Fame member has encouraged tremendous opportunities for the exposure of Southern gospel music on television, recordings, and in live performance venues throughout her career.
Past Vaughan Award recipients include: Bill Gaither, James Blackwood, Les Beasley, Bob Brumley, Mosie Lister, Paul Heil, Eva Mae LeFevre, J.G. Whitfield, Lari Goss and Barbara Mandrell.
Parton and other stars will walk the red carpet to accept their honors on Sept. 29, 2010 at the Southern Gospel Music Association (SGMA) Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Singing News Fan Awards. The event is at DP’s Celebrity Theatre inside Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Tickets are $70, which includes admission to Dollywood, free parking, lunch, and reserved seating for the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony/Singing News Fan Awards. Dollywood will be open and all shows, rides and shops will be operating.
DP’s Celebrity Theatre will host the annual celebration of inductees to the Hall of Fame at 3 p.m. honoring, “Little” Jan Buckner-Goff, Danny Gaither, Sam Goodman, Bill Hefner, Connie Hopper and Arthur Smith. Performers scheduled to appear are Booth Brothers, Brian Free & Assurance, Greater Vision, Inspirations, Karen Peck & New River, Kingdom Heirs, Legacy Five, Perrys, Triumphant Quartet, and the Whisnants.
Groups performing in venues throughout the park during the day include: Kingdom Heirs, Florida Boys, Booth Brothers, Triumphant Quartet, Dove Brothers Quartet, Chuck Wagon Gang, Diplomats, Southern Sound Quartet, Tribute Quartet and the LeFevre Quartet. SGMA Hall of Fame members planning to attend include Bill and Gloria Gaither, Les Beasley, Jerry Goff, Jack Pittman, Bill Shaw, Eddie Wallace, Charlie Waller, Don Light, Lou Hildreth, Derrell Stewart, “Lady” Mull and Ed Hill. Other guests include Guy Penrod, Jason Crabb, Ronnie Hinson, Gerald Crabb and “Little” Willie Wynn.
Dinner includes baked chicken, pulled barbecue pork sandwiches, all beef hot dogs with chili, cole slaw, corn on the cob, baked beans, roasted skillet potatoes, banana pudding, unlimited Coca-Cola products or Gold Peak tea.
“I encourage each of you to be in attendance for this historical event in gospel music,” Waller said. “Come visit us in the Great Smoky Mountains and be at Dollywood on Sept. 29th.”
Tickets must be purchased in advance by calling the SGMA office (865) 908-4040 to attend SGMA Induction Ceremony/Singing News Fan Awards in the DP’s Celebrity Theatre.
Proceeds from the event benefit the Southern Gospel Music Association. The Southern Gospel Music Association is a non-profit organization that maintains the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame, the only facility honoring this genre of music, for the historic preservation of the accomplishments of the music and its people. Museum hours match those of Dollywood. Donations are tax-deductible. Individuals and businesses may donate to assist with honoring inductees with special bronze plaques that are displayed in the Hall of Fame. For more information about the museum or its inductees, visit www.sgma.org.
Friends, if you are a fan of Southern gospel music, this is an event to remember and well worth the trip no matter where you live. I spoke with the SGMA office just before writing this column and there are a limited number of tickets still available but the deadline is close at hand, so call and reserve your chance to enjoy this wonderful day.