Stellar Notebook: 2007
GOSPELflava.com is on location at the Stellar Awards in Nashville, Tennessee! Our reporters are combing the sprawling Opryland hotel in search of news and views, and things you'd want to know about. Stick close to find out all about it:
Saturday, January 14, 2007
Friday, January 13, 2007
- The "Pre-show" was held in the Grand Ole Opry, just prior to the televised awards presentation on Saturday evening. Hosted by Yolanda Adams and Jonathan Slocumb, this is where all of the Stellars not presented on the televised ceremony, are presented. Interspersed by musical performances, and definitely more informal than the event you see on television, this 90-minute event is fast-paced and entertaining. Performing were Nigerian MC DaCapo, an several other innovative groups. GMWA Chairman Al "The Bishop" Hobbs was introduced by NY's Bishop Sam Williams, and was presented with an award to honor his 50 years in the industry. Outgoing Verity/Zomba executive Max Siegal was also honored on stage, introduced by incoming Zomba chief, Jazzy Jordan.
Various awards to radio stations were announced, with winners from the mega-market (WMBM Miami), large market (WFMI, Virginia Beach), medium market (WGOK, Mobile) and small market (WFMV, Columbia) taking home awards.
- The Stellar Nominee Reception was held at the Opryland Hotel ballroom. Preceding the event was a red carpet arrival, with each celebrity being announced as they descended the stairs into the ballroom lobby, greeted by banks of cameras and interviewers (Yolanda Adams and Jonathan Slocumb). The reception was hosted by Kenny Lattimore and Chante Moore, and also Marvin Sapp. Singing were The Anointed Pace Sisters, Nigerian MC DaCapo, and Jimmy Hicks & The Voices of Integrity, both of whom brought the capacity crowd to their feet. Nominees were announced in each category and then brought together for a photo shoot.
- Performing rights group BMI held their annual Gospel Trailblazers Luncheon at the popular Rockets restaurant, in downtown Nashville. This year's event honored Fred Hammond and Yolanda Adams, with Kim Burrell acting as MC, and a crack band under the direction of Joe Wilson, and vocal crew under the direction of Donald Lawrence setting the tone. The capacity crowd sat down to a innovative turkey casserole dinner, but quickly got to their feet when the musical tribute to Fred Hammond began. Beginning with Israel Houghton who sang "Pass Me Not", and moving to Marvin Sapp singing "Glory to Glory to Glory". Fred Hammond accepted the award with a moving testimony.
Yolanda Adams was then honored by Melonie Daniels singing the old school "My Liberty" from Yolanda's Southeast Inspirational Choir days, and then Sheri Moffat-Jones, Kim Burrell and Karen Clark Sheard also offering musical tributes.
Thursday, January 12, 2007
- Everyone is arriving at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel complex, the setting for the Stellar weekend's activities. The check-in counter crazy, with suitcases and people milling about the lobby, chatting, buzzing and exchanging greeting. Who's here? Al Hobbs, Virtue, Stephen Hurd, Vickie Winans, The Craig Brothers, Youthful Praise, Trin-i-tee 5:7...
- The convention center area of the hotel hosted the Kirk Franklin All-Star Benefit Concert, in support of the Children's Defence Fund. Just after 7 PM, things kicked off with Judith McAllister presenting an uptempo two-song, praise and worship set. Then hosts Kirk Franklin and Mary Mary took to the stage, introducing the evening to the capacity crowd. With informal and humorous banter that lasted all night long, the three artists wonderfully got the crowd the information they needed to hear about the Children's Defence Fund, and gracefully handled the various technical glitches that popped up from time to time. Artists making special performances included Kierra "Kiki" Sheard (who came on twice), iROCC, The Mount Zion Church Youth Choir, Kenny Lattimore and Chante Moore, and Donnie McClurkin. Actress Keke Palmer sang a selection from her upcoming album, and GMA President (The Doves) John Styll made a guest appearance with a brief welcome speech, as did Nashville Vice-Mayor Howard Gentry, Dr. Bobby Jones, and Central City Productions head, Don Jackson.
- Kirk Franklin introduced unsigned singer Paula Champion to the crowd. She sang a selection, wowed the crowd, and received a ringing endorsement from Franklin. Her vocals are reminiscent of a mellow Kim Burrell.
- The Stellar Award for Announcer of the Year was given to Ollie Booker, of WXEN, 1010 AM in St. Louis.
- Donnie McClurkin revealed on stage that he has been diagnosed with diabetes, and after a serious scare over the summer, and after much prayer and supplication from friends and family, has returned to good health. He strongly advocated the importance of caring for one's own health.
- Retiring Zomba/Verity head honcho Max Siegal was honored both at the Celebrity Concert and at a following invitation-only reception held in his honor. Siegal, who is a long-time lawyer with clients in the sports and music industry, as well as one of the founders of Verity Records, is leaving his poisiton to take up responsibilities with the prestigious Dale Earnhardt Foundation, of the NASCAR business.