Featuring: Freddie Colloca, Ileana Garces, Salvador, Mark Schultz, Rachael Lampa, Nicole C. Mullin, Plus One, Bart Millard, Amy Grant, Vince Gill, Newsboys, and The Elms.
Tonight Kurtis Kegley, free-lance writer for Christian Activities, and I continued our annual tradition of having a meal at San Antonio Taco Company during GMA Week. As happened last year, some interesting people showed
up! This year it was publicist Lynn McCain and her Latino posse featuring Freddie Colloca, Ileana Garces and
After dinner I went over to the Word showcase at the Ryman and it was definitely an extravaganza! Latin band
Salvador got the night off to a rockin’ start with a couple of spicy numbers that had people on their feet and clapping
to the beat.
Next up was singer, songwriter, youth pastor, piano player and Styx imitator Mark Schultz followed by the
“original boy band” 4HIM whose tight harmonies are still in vogue as showcased by “Blessed Is He.”
The night’s youngest performer, Rachael Lampa, took the stage next wearing a coat and cap and belting out tunes
like “He Said It; I Did It” and David Mullin’s “Beautiful” in her own exuberant style. This was the young
performer’s third year at GMA. “I just like getting up at 5 o’clock in the morning and performing until 11:30 at
night” she said in a rush.
Nicole C. Mullin dominated the stage for her set with synchronized dance steps and her inimitable vocals moving
from the fast-paced “Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So” to the reflective “Come Unto Me” which was marred
only by a false start and “do over.” But the “do over” was gold and earned Nicole the most heart-felt standing
ovation of the evening and proving to be the high point of the evening for many in the audience.
The youthful energy of Plus One erupted unto the stage next to squeals of delight from a certain young female
demographic in the audience.
Plus One has coelesed into a stronger act than last year’s cute “novelty” boy band with tighter harmonies and more stage presence, but they are still most definitely a boy band with lots and lots and lots of energy!
Plus One’s frenetic moves and fine harmonics would be a hard act to follow in a normal concert, but the Word team
had an ace up their sleeve and Amy Grant and Vince Gill came onstage to close the evening with hymns from Amy’s
new “Legacy” project. Amy and Vince were low-key as they performed hymns like “It Is Well with My Soul,” “I
Can Only Imagine,” and “My Jesus I Love Thee.”
These traditional hymns were often treated with a country flair,
compliments of Mr. Gill who conspired with Brown Bannister on the project. At one point Amy remarked, “I am so grateful for the people who took a chance and broke away from doing chants and wrote some hymns.” Amy let us know they had a couple of songs prepared for an encore, and the audience was happy to clap the Gills back on stage for the final hymns.
MercyMe lead singer Bart Millard made a surprise guest appearance
during Amy Grant’s set at the Word Spectacular at the Ryman Auditorium. Grant has recorded a new version
of MercyMe’s #1 smash hit “I Can Only Imagine,” titled “Imagine,” which is included on her new record,
Legacy….Hymns & Faith and Amy said no one could sing it like the songwriter.
The Word evening of praise ended on a peaceful note, sans chants.
Next on the calendar of events was the Sparrow Rock Showcase hosted by those goofy yet talented Aussies, the
Newsboys, who seemed to enjoy their responsibilities, cracking jokes and making introductions like a comedy act.
I finally got to see The Elms and they definitely do rock!
To shouts of “We love you, Thom,” they performed several hard driving numbers that showed why they got the Dove nomination nod this year.
More Dove photos, quotes and comments at Bird of a Different Feather
2002 Dove Award Winners
Backstage at the 2002 Dove Award s
More GMA Journal and GMA Updates at:Gospel Music Week
Special thanks to Kristie Torres for her help uploading photos.