Music in the Rockies Celebrates 30th Year

GMA’s Music in the Rockies will celebrate its 30th year of bringing together both accomplished and aspiring songwriters, artists, musicians and industry professionals for a week of spiritual renewal, professional development and artistic growth from August 1-7, 2004 at the Estes Park Center YMCA. GMA’s 30th Annual Music in the Rockies, formerly known as Seminar in the Rockies, will feature six days of educational/professional development seminars, talent competitions and music events.
“I am confident in saying that this event is unique in the music business. We have gathered in the spectacular Rocky Mountains every year for 30 years with a singular purpose of discovering, developing and mentoring gospel music talent,” said John W. Styll, president of the Gospel Music Association (GMA). “As a result, the legacy of artists that have been discovered or birthed from the Music in the Rockies experience is impressive. From Michael W. Smith, who first came to Estes Park as a graduation present from his parents, to Stacie Orrico, a native Coloradoan, who landed a record deal after performing there in 1998, so many artists can trace some of their musical heritage to Estes Park.”
At the heart of GMA’s Music in the Rockies are the unsurpassed variety of seminars taught by artists and other industry professionals. Classes and critique sessions cover everything from getting signed by a label to performance techniques to basic tools for songwriting. Aspiring songwriters and artists can even have their song or demo tapes professionally critiqued. There is also a specialized Praise & Worship Track presented by Worship Leader Magazine and led by pastors, worship leaders and artists on topics related to effective and engaging worship. Because the event draws many families, there are also special family programs, including Kids Kamp, Teen Connection and Women’s Retreat.
One of the other important features of GMA’s Music in the Rockies is the talent competitions — GMA Spotlight 2004 for unsigned artists and Song of 2004 for unsigned songwriters. Songwriters compete in categories covering the different styles of gospel music – Pop-Rock/Alternative, Pop-AC/Inspirational, Praise & Worship/Choral, Southern Gospel/Country and Gospel/Urban/Hip Hop. Performers can compete in vocal, duet, group, band and instrumental categories, as well as individual categories for Urban Gospel and Southern Gospel.
More than $50,000 in prizes will be awarded, but perhaps the real reward for all the competitors, is the opportunity to perform in front of key A&R, record label and publishing executives in gospel music.
“Jars of Clay, Point of Grace, Nichole Nordeman, Stacie Orrico, Rachael Lampa and Jaci Velasquez are just a few of the artists who were discovered through these competitions,” said Styll. “It was the ‘American Idol’ of gospel music before the ‘American Idol’ phenomenon even began.”
Music highlights every night of Music in the Rockies, with a week-long concert series, which is open to the public, and features the most diverse line-up of artists that have ever gathered at Estes Park. The Music in the Rockies Concert Series kicks off on Sunday, August 1 with “Night of Worship,” presented by Worship Leader Magazine, and led by several well-known worship leaders, including Rita Springer, Israel, Andy Park, and others along with pastor and author Scotty Smith. The artist line-up for the rest of the Music in the Rockies Concert Series includes Third Day, Kirk Franklin, comedian Jeff Allen, The Crabb Family, Larnelle Harris, Rachael Lampa, Out of Eden, Sandi Patty, Plus One, Mark Schultz and TAIT (w/Michael Tait of dcTalk).
The concerts are held Sunday through Friday and tickets are included in the registration for Music in the Rockies, but the public can also purchase tickets through Ticket Force at or 877-480-0457. They will also be available at local area Christian bookstores: LifeWay Christian Stores (Denver) and Sword & Scroll (Estes Park). Week-long passes as well as individual tickets are available.
There are several key deadlines for registering for GMA’s 30th Annual Music in the Rockies and specifically the talent competitions. All the details for registration can be found at
GMA Music in the Rockies started in 1974. That summer, Cam Floria, president of Christian Artists’ Corp., launched an event called Christian Artists Music Seminar in the Rockies, designed to bring together experts in the Christian music industry to provide networking and training opportunities for church choir directors and aspiring musicians. In 2000, the GMA acquired Seminar in the Rockies from Christian Artist Corporation. In 2004, GMA changed the name to GMA Music in the Rockies.
Founded in 1964, the 4,500-member Gospel Music Association ( is dedicated to exposing, promoting and celebrating the gospel through music. The GMA represents all styles of gospel music including contemporary pop, rock, urban gospel, praise & worship, southern gospel, country and children’s gospel music. The GMA produces GMA’s Annual Music Awardsä, which recognizes achievement in all genres of gospel music.


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