All photos by Kathryn Darden for ChristianActivities.com.
Monday brought the usual fare to GMA Week; the exhibition floor was open, the seminars were running full throttle, and there were concerts, showcases and music everywhere! I headed down to the Convention Center eagerly anticipating my first official day at GMA.
First I made my way up to the Davidson Room which has become home sweet home for the GMA press corps! My old high school chum Jan Houseman and I caught up a bit at outside the Davidson Room. She now works at Salem/CCM so after all these years it is interesting to find ourselves on similar tracks.
In town for the day was popular group FFH who took time out of their busy schedule to pose for a few photos and talk a little Mayberry with me.
Christine Dente and I got to catch up for the first time in several years and we reminisced about one of our first meetings six years ago at Alabama’s Sanford U. when the Keaggy, King, Dente tour was making the rounds.
One of the most interesting and exciting events of the day for me was… a press conference! Rocketown Records held a one-hour press conference to introduce their upcoming Advent project, Gloria. When the press was allowed in the room, it was hard to find a spot to sit because all the chairs were full of illustrious artists! I sat behind Charlie Peacock and Scott Dente who were seated next to Wayne Kirkpatrick, Ginny Owens and Cindy Morgan. Christine Dente sat on my left and next to her sat George Rowe and Shaun Groves. Across the aisle from me and one row up was Michael W. Smith and next to him were the Alathea gals!
Rocketown President Don Donahue took the podium and announced the advent project. “For many years now our Rocketown followers have been asking ‘When will there be a Rocketown Christmas project?'” he shared. “We wanted to do a project that would help listeners discover the true rhythm of the entire Advent season through songs that focus on the anticipation and expectation that surrounds our celebration of Christ’s birth.”
Artists involved in the Gloria project include: Michael W. Smith, Christine Dente, Ginny Owens, Shaun Groves, Alathea, debut artist Taylor Sorensen, Steve Mason (Jars of Clay), Cindy Morgan, Wayne Kirkpatrick, George Rowe (“the hardest working singing lawyer”) and Watermark as well as producers Scott Dente and Charlie Peacock. Peacock told how the artists got together at Charlie’s Bellevue home, the Art House, and paired off to go write songs. When they met again for lunch, they discovered they had already penned some beautiful songs, so they went back and wrote more that afternoon. Charlie made a comment about everyone having a big smile over what they accomplished to which Scott dryly replied, “I had a big smile because Christine wrote a song with Michael!”
Not to be outdone in the humor department, a grinning Michael said as he took the podium. “I don’t want to name drop, but I was just remembering a conversation I had with Bono…” and then he dissolved into laughter with the rest of us. As he became serious again, Smith said that during this Dublin conversation with the rock icon, Bono stated, “We are lacking in great ideas.” This thought segued nicely into Michael’s personal love for Christmas music and his belief this project will have something fresh and thought provoking to offer.
Michael and Christine performed one song from the project, a melodic song beseeching listeners to prepare their hearts for the Coming One.
Cindy Morgan marks this project as her return to CCM after a hiatus, and she also performed her contribution to the project, “Follow That Star,” in her trademark style.
The press conference concluded with the unveiling of the cover artwork by well-known artist Jimmy Abegg, a colorful depiction of the wise men following the star.
Stay tuned for more updates!
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