RECAP: BMI Gospel Trailblazer Luncheon (2005)

BMI, the music performance rights organization, once again pulled out all the stops for their annual Gospel Trailblazers Luncheon. As in years gone by, this showcase brought together the best in the industry.

Rance AllenHeld on January 14th, 2005 at the beautiful Houston Aquarium, this year the honors were for Pastor Rance Allen and Pastor John P. Kee, and a Who’s Who in Gospel came out to pay tribute. BMI's Catherine Brewton, Thomas Cain and staff gathered the likes of Damita Haddon (representing her husband Deitrick, who had a ministerial obligation), J Moss, Men of Standard, Smokey Norful and Vanessa Bell Armstrong to boast, rather than roast, the virtues of Kee and Allen.

Among those in attendance for tribute were: Kirk Franklin, Fred and Rodney Jerkins, Donnie McClurkin, Joann Rosario, Bishop Paul S. Morton, Elder Debra Morton, PJ Morton, Margaret Bell, Anointed, Kim Burrell, Tye Tribbett, Christopher Lewis, Fred Hammond, JJ Hairston, Chris Kee, Jeannette Taylor, Anjanette Bankhead, Joeworn Murray, Nicole Brown, Lucinda Moore, Tara Griggs Magee, Max Seigel. Jazzy Jordan, Damon Williams, Joseph Burney, Bobby Jones, Donald Lawrence, Jerry Parris, Vicki Mack Lataillade, Joe Ligon, Neily Dickerson and Cheryl Jackson.

But none left a mark like the legendary —in deed, not in age —Vanessa Bell Armstrong. Armstrong, a longtime friend of Kee, upset the house with a medley that ended in James Cleveland's "Peace Be Still". She reminded us to speak peace to our various situations and circumstances and had the people in the room lifting their two fingers for the 'peace' sign, in agreement.

John P. KeeSmokie Norful gave it up in song for Kee, and Men of Standard gave individual heartfelt tributes as well. If you are really saved, relationships come full circle and God gets the glory. Isaac Carree and Lowell Pye, in particular, personally testified of their journeys in forgiveness, love and respect and how, in a nutshell, nothing really matters but the love of Christ.

Honoring Rance Allen was Damita Haddon among several others. Kee was coaxed to sing "Jesus Is Real" by the time the luncheon concluded.

House musicians Joe Wilson, Marvin McQuitty and Thaddeus Tribbett did their usual excellent thing.

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Check out more photos from the luncheon, presented below. John P. Kee

Fred Hammond

Men of Standard

Men of Standard

Donnie McClurkin with Kirk Franklin

Smokie Norful

Verity exec. Max Seigal with Bobby Jones and Verity exec. Jazzy Jordan

Verity exec. Max Seigal with Bobby Jones and Verity exec. Jazzy Jordan

Donnie McClurkin with Kirk Franklin

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