Singing News Fan Awards

The Singing News Fan Awards were presented yesterday at Dollywood.  You can watch the ceremony and get a full listing of the awards here.  Not unexpectedly, the Booth Brothers and Triumphant cleaned up, with the Booths taking Favorite Artist and Trio, plus the Tenor, Lead, and Baritone awards.  Triumphant took home Quartet, Album, Song, Bass, and Musician of the Year awards.  There were a couple of pleasant surprises as well.  The Gaither band took home Favorite Band, and the Ball Brothers won Horizon Artist.  Good to see the Ball Brothers get that kind of recognition.  I really feel they are the future of SG music.  Congratulations guys!  Courtney Collingsworth Metz also made Fan Award history yesterday, becoming the first person to win both Horizon Individual and Young Artist awards in the same year.  I can’t think of anyone more deserving, but I guess this means I can’t call her underrated or an “unsung hero” anymore.  Libbi Stuffle once again took home Favorite Alto, and in a mild surprise, the Hoppers took home Mixed Group.  I had somewhat expected the Perrys to take home that award, but the Hoppers really aren’t an upset to win.  Congratulations to all the winners!

SN Fan Awards Remaining At Dollywood; SN & NQC Announce New Showcase

The Singing News just posted an open letter to readers on their site.  The Fan Awards will once again be held at Dollywood, on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011.  Additionally, the Singing News is taking a larger role in sponsoring Dollywood’s month-long SG/Harvest Celebration during October.  The letter makes a particular emphasis that the SN is trying think more creatively, and use more “out of the box” methods to market SG to more potential listeners.

Also mentioned is an “olive branch” of sorts between the SN and NQC.  The two entities will be joining forces for a new showcase at NQC ’11.  The only details are the promise that it “will incorporate an exciting and unprecedented interactive element between Southern Gospel fans and their favorite artists.”  How this will come about isn’t mentioned in the letter, but details are promised later.  The NQC is also listed as a sponsor of the Fan Awards at Dollywood.

UPDATE: The NQC just sent out a press release that mentions that the new showcase will feature nominees from the major categories of the Fan Awards.  They will also be conducting a “straw poll” of NQC attendees regarding the Fan Awards.  How they will do it or what they will do with the results hasn’t been revealed yet.  Whatever comes of it, it’s going to be interesting.

There are some vague references to “other initiatives” that the Singing News will be spearheading through the year.  Could this be an attempt to drag the SG industry into the 2010s?  It sure sounds like the SN is trying to take the bull by the horns and bring this industry up to par with other music genres.  We will have to wait and see, talk is cheap, but it’s promising to say the least.

It seems to me that the new owners of the Singing News have been biding their time, and trying to build up as much goodwill as possible within the industry and with the fans before making major changes.  We’ve started to see them, with updated graphic designs on the magazine’s cover, a relaxing of the “standards” that kept groups like the Gaither Vocal Band off the cover previously, and most significantly, a move of the majority of the SN office folks from Boone, NC to Nashville.  I have to think  that we are going to start seeing more drastic changes as the “honeymoon period” of the ownership change winds down.  Whether all this works to expand and update the SG industry won’t be known for a while, but I’d rather see the attempts being made than to just be content with the status quo.

Singing News Fan Award Top 10 Nominees Announced

Singing News has posted their top 10 nominees for the Fan Awards.  Check out the entire list here!

Singing News Fan Awards Moving To Dollywood

According to this press release from the Singing News this morning, the Singing News Fan Awards are leaving the National Quartet Convention, and moving to Dollywood to be held in conjunction with the SGMA Hall Of Fame Induction ceremony.  Here is a quote from the press release:

“The National Quartet Convention has been gracious in sharing their time and facilities with us for four decades,” says Jones. “We will continue to support that grand tradition of Southern Gospel music even as we look forward to our move. We will continue to have one of the largest booths at NQC as well as expanded editorial coverage, pre and post convention.”

I know that the Singing News has been trying several different things to “spice up” the Fan Awards in recent years, from changing the awards presented, to limiting the time on acceptance speeches.  None, however, present the paradigm changing scope like this move does.  However, it has always seemed to me that for such a huge event in the SG landscape, the coverage provided in the SN for the convention was a bit sparse.  I’m sure that having to try and deal with the logistics of the Fan Awards took up quite a bit of SN staffers’ time during that week.  I would imagine, as the quote above states, that not having to deal with the awards show would free up quite a bit of time that can be devoted to the convention and it’s goings on, along with the wave of personnel changes that seem to occur every year around NQC.  Still, one can only wonder at the internal forces and discussions that had to have gone on during the discussions about this move.  The Fan Awards have always been more or less the climax of the convention, and will leave a pretty big hole in the week.  It will be interesting to see what the NQC board comes up with as the flagship event of the week now.

The 2010 Singing News Fan Awards are scheduled to be held on September 29, 2010 at the DP Celebrity Theater in Dollywood.  Tickets will go on sale on March 1.  This is surely not the last we will hear of this story, I’m sure there will be more developing, especially from the NQC’s side of the equation.

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