uring an evening of star-powered performances, the Australian Gospel
Music Awards celebrated five years of record growth as accolades were
US born singer, Francine Bell took top honors with the 2003 Yamaha
Golden Gospel Award recognising lifetime achievement in the sector. Known for her poise and elegance on stage, the Newcastle Conservatorium
singing teacher has toured extensively in the US and France, plus
performed at the Sydney Opera House and the Newcastle Entertainment Centre.
She also appears as the aptly named Councillor Grace in The Matrix
Bell said that she was “really excited” to be part of the awards at a
time when Australian Gospel Music is gaining significant marketplace
Organisers say that Gospel Music is the fastest growing sector of the
Australian music industry generating $25-30 million annually and
representing 4.9% of total industry sales.
“In the past six years, the Australian Record Industry Association
(ARIA) has accredited 14 gold and platinum gospel awards, most of these
being Australian artists,” says awards organiser Kelvin Fahey.
Ms. Bell praised the winners of other categories including CCC Youth,
the youth band of Christian City Church Oxford Falls in Sydney who won
the Independent Recording Artist Award.
Bell described the leader of CCC Youth, Nikki Fletcher as “a star
waiting to go kaboom”. CCC Youth performed its groundbreaking gospel radio hit “Dream Maker” at the awards.
Last year’s winner of the Yamaha Golden Gospel Award, Jimmy Little
returned to the awards performing “Royal Telephone”, the song that brought
him national success forty years ago this month.
ABOUT THE AWARDS
Australian Gospel Music Awards are presented annually at the National
Gospel Happening festival held in Canberra each November.
The Yamaha Golden Gospel Award is the sector’s peak honor awarded to
performers and personalities that have contributed significantly to the
development of Gospel Music in Australia.
ABOUT YAMAHA MUSIC AUSTRALIA
Yamaha Music Australia is the nation’s largest supplier of musical
instruments and related sound and recording systems. The organisation is a
major provider of music related education through its Yamaha Music
School network, and aims to popularise music by supporting performer
development in Australia.