RECAP: Stellar Awards Taping (2009)
The eyes, ears, and hearts of the Gospel world converged on Nashville, Tennessee's Grand Ole Opry House on January 17, 2009 for the 24th annual edition of the Stellar Awards. This year's show, hosted by Donnie McClurkin, Dorinda Clark-Cole, and comic Sinbad built on the theme "God Is Truly Amazing".
With that said, it would only be apposite that the presentation and performances that would follow would reflect that thematic idea.
Prior to the taping of this year's show, some 22 awards were given in the Stellar Awards Pre-show, which featured performances from Blessed, DeLeon, and the Acme Missionary Baptist Church Choir from Chicago, winners of the Verizon Wireless Choir Competition, "How Sweet The Sound". Following these rousing performances, the house was ready for the taping of the awards show.
The show kicked off with an intensely creative performance of "Stand Out" from Stellar award nominees Tye Tribbett and Greater Anointing. Filled with original and innovative concepts, Tribbett and G.A. kicked the show off with a bang!
Heather Headley debuted "The Lord Will Make A Way" from her newly released gospel effort, Audience of One. A Stellar first shortly followed as all five nominees for the coveted New Artist of the Year award joined forces for a medley of their hits. Terrell Hunt, Jessica Greene, Jai Reed, Melodee, and The Murrills each performed snippets of their efforts from varying parts of the auditorium, which made for a fresh twist to the awards.
Donnie McClurkin teamed with Karen Clark Sheard with one of the night's biggest performance as the pair performed "Wait On The Lord" from McClurkin's upcoming album, Live In Detroit. The incredible performance ushered in a powerful spirit of worship which made it difficult for McClurkin to continue his hosting duties.
Another significant moment in the evening came shortly thereafter, as the Stellar Awards paid a special tribute to Pastor Timothy Wright. The tribute was rendered by Kirk Franklin in what could arguably be deemed the presentation of the night, as Franklin deftly fused Timothy Wright classics with Franklin-penned hits. Merging tracks like "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus" with "Something About the Name Jesus" was only the start of a medley that excited the old and new school gospel aficionados alike. The incomparable Myrna Summers joined Franklin for the 1998 choral hit "We're Gonna Make It", while Rev. Milton Biggham helped to end the tribute with "Who's On The Lord's Side". Following the tribute, Wright's son, David Wright accepted the honorary Stellar Award and check that was presented on behalf of Central City Productions. He spoke of walking in great faith as he believed that Pastor Wright would be at the 25th Stellar Awards walking again, in spite of the recent bleak report of the doctors. This prompted Pastor McClurkin to return to the stage and lead the Grand Ole Opry in prayer for Pastor Wright's healing and restoration.
The outstanding night continued as the Rap/Hip Hop Gospel CD of the Year Stellar Award winner Da' T.R.U.T.H. blessed the stage with one of the hottest performances of the year, with a remix of his radio single "That Great Day". The energy for this one was wildly infectious and makes a statement about the universal appeal of holy hip-hop.
Music legend Dionne Warwick graced the Stellar stage with "Glory Glory Hallelujah" as a special tribute to President Barack Obama. 21:03 hit the stage performing "Cover Me" and the energetic "You". Three-time Stellar Award winner Jonathan Nelson and Purpose blessed the stage with their hit "My Name Is Victory" while Quartet of the Year winners Lee Williams and the Spiritual QC's ended the evening with a classic performance.
Without question, the 24th annual Stellar Awards were an exciting expression and reflection of God's goodness as well as a "stellar" showcasing of gospel's finest artists.
Enjoy the pictorial review of this exciting event (see above box).
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reviewed by Gerard Bonner —
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