Thirteen-year-old, chart-breaking vocalist, Charlotte Church, Superbowl championship quarterback Kurt Warner, television personality Kathy Lee Gifford and Titans coach Jeff Fisher were among the celebrities appearing on the 31st Annual Dove Awards, at Nashville’s historic Grand Ole Opry House Thursday, April 20, 2000, at 8 p.m. (CST). Church is the youngest solo artist ever to achieve a Top 30 album on the U.S. charts. According to SoundScan, her debut album Voice of an Angel, which has earned a Dove Award nomination for Inspirational Album of the Year, was also the Christian/Gospel music industry’s top-selling album of 1999.
Warner, a devout Christian athlete, triumphed over adversity to lead the St. Louis Rams from being the NFL’s worst-ranked team to Superbowl XXXIV champions. Warner was advertised in advance to appear on the show as a presenter, but when he got up to present Song of the Year to Michael W. Smith, he was joined in a surprise move, by Titans head coach Jeff Fisher. Others who joined Warner as a presenter for the evening include David Foster, known best for his producing talents with Chicago, Point of Grace, dc Talk, Jaci Velasquez, Jennifer Knapp, Yolanda Adams, Plus One, Larnelle Harris, CeCe Winans, Steven Curtis Chapman and Fred Hammond.
Showcasing this year’s new talent, the Dove Awards show featured performances by all of those nominated for New Artist of the Year including: FFH, Ginny Owens, Raze, Sonic Flood and Watermark.
Other performers for the sold-out show, included Avalon, Anointed, Audio Adrenaline, Burlap to Cashmere, Darlene Zschech with Ron Kenoly and Alvin Slaughter, Fernando Ortega with Allison Krauss, Greater Vision, Third Day and Kathie Lee Gifford.
Named as one of Good Housekeeping’s most admired women in America, Gifford brought her on-stage charisma and spiritual commitment to the Dove Awards show as host. “Kathie Lee Gifford is a remarkable entertainer and humanitarian,” said Frank Breeden, President of the Gospel Music Association. “Her professionalism day-to-day on “LIVE with Regis and Kathie Lee” along with her continued perseverance in the face of challenges, makes her the perfect candidate to host this year’s show.”
This year’s Dove Awards also featured the debut of Sixpence None The Richer’s newest single “Melody of You” and Michael W. Smith’s stirring one-year anniversary tribute of “This Is Your Time,” a single inspired by the April 20, 1999, Columbine school shooting. Smith was actually getting off the plane from Littleton on Thursday evening when the Dove pre-show festivities were going on.
The wealth of talent from this year’s Dove Awards performers and presenters supports the trend of marketplace success for the Christian music industry. According to SoundScan, Christian/Gospel music has grown to become the fifth largest category in the music industry, selling twice as much as Latin music and larger than jazz, classical and new age combined. The genre’s 11.5 percent growth in 1999 outpaced the music industry’s growth as a whole, with the industry selling seven albums for every 10 albums the country music genre sells.
Serving as the longest-running and most prestigious awards show in the gospel music industry, the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Awards recognizes vocalists, musicians, songwriters, producers and record companies for their contributions to gospel music. Founded in 1964, the 5,500 member GMA is dedicated to educating the public concerning the heritage and ever-increasing role of gospel music in today’s world.
The 31st Annual Dove Awards was produced live by award-winning High Five Entertainment and televised nationwide between April 20 and May 7 through syndication arrangement with Central City Productions. The show has already received clearance of 76 percent of the television marketplace, including the top 15 general household markets. For specific viewing information as well as the latest updates on the show, please visit the official Dove Awards website at www.doveawards.com.
(from our archives, April 20, 2000)