News

Columbia Union Musicians Honored at Second Guild Awards Ceremony

By Jeanette Nelson

The beautifully appointed Southern Asian church in Silver Spring, Md., was the scene of the Second Annual Music Awards sponsored by the Guild of Adventist Musicians. The awards ceremony recognizes individuals for excellence in the planning, preparation, and performance of sacred music, and the evening provided a unique opportunity to recognize the 2009 honorees.

The sponsors of the stellar group of individuals listed below returned the vetting materials upon which the judges based their decisions. These individuals were then notified of their nomination and invited to the forum.

From beginning to end, MCs Jude Boyer-Patrick, MD, and David Starks exhibited grace and panache as they kept the ceremony going with their almost seamless management of the flow of the program. It is hard to imagine a program of this magnitude and status without these two highly regarded professionals.

Congratulations to the following award winners:

Music Teacher—Evonne Baasch and Dawn Reynolds, both of Sligo church in Takoma Park, Md.
Vocalist—Anika Sampson of Emmanuel-Brinklow in Ashton, Md.
Composer/Arranger—Dawn Reynolds of Sligo
Minister of Music—Cheryl Wilson-Bridges, PhD, of Community Praise Center in Alexandria, Va.
Children’s Choir Director—Micheline Castan Smith of the Capitol Hill church in Washington, D.C.
Adult Choral Conductor—Myron S. Ottley, PhD, of the Metropolitan church in Hyattsville, Md.
Orchestral Conductor—Edith Gates of Olney (Md.) church
Church Pianist—Marilynn Powell of the Hyattsville (Md.) church
Rising Star Awards—Krystal Uzuegbu and Michelle Pauliah, both of Sligo
Independent Music Ministry—John Stoddart, former Capitol Hill member, now living in Huntsville, Ala.
Best All-Around Musicians—Sharon Strange, PhD, of the Dupont Park church in Washington, D.C., and Adrian T. Westney, Jr., of the Metropolitan church

In between the awards, and moving at a rapid pace, were the individuals who performed. Following the invocation by Pastor Alan Desilva of the Takoma Park (Md.) church, was a performance by Sligo member Jon Gilbertson, who set the mood for the event with his rendition of Malotte’s The Lord’s Prayer. The Spencerville Academy (Silver Spring, Md.) Ringers and their teacher Jane Lanning followed with their skillful playing of the handbells.

Before their appearance at this event, many in attendance had not heard Voce, an awesome group of three ladies based in the Columbia Union. With Lloyd Mallory, DMA, at the piano, and only one microphone, Voce members Anika Sampson, Brandi Sutton, and Kali Wilder filled the cavernous auditorium with their glorious voices.

Mallory next accompanied Sligo member Edwina Flynn for her electric rendition of Margaret Bonds’ He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.

The Capitol Hill Chorale was magnificent with their rendering of Beethoven’s Hallelujah from the Mount of Olives, conducted by Laddie P. Bell, Jr., PhD, a 2008 Lifetime Honoree. Marcellus Breach, another 2008 honoree, accompanied the chorale on the organ.

Violinists, 14-year-old Krystal Uzuegbu and 16-year-old Michelle Pauliah, performed Vilvadi’s Concerto in A with a maturity well beyond their years. Both ladies received the Rising Star Awards.

Del Delker, unable to travel, accepted her award by way of DVD, filmed by Porterville SDA Media Productions at the Porterville (Calif.) church. Some of Del’s fan base turned out hoping to see her in person, but were happy to see her through the DVD. Sandra Marley, contralto, honored Delker with one of her favorite songs, The Love of God.

Lucille Herron, who was honored posthumously, had given many years of dedicated and unselfish service to several local area churches as pianist and organist. Bell played a piano arrangement in her honor.

Marshall Kelly, a member of the Harvest (Ala.) church, was feted by two magnificent performances, first by Dupont Park member Kevin Green, baritone, singing one of Kelly’s songs, Until Then. Lauri Preston of the New Hope church in Elkton, Md., next collaborated musically with Kelly in rendering his signature song It Takes Everything to Serve the Lord, accompanied on the piano by Roderick Harris and on guitar by Randy Preston.

Jeanette Nelson, a music educator and member of the Dupont Park church, founded the Guild of Adventist Musicians in 1991 with nine charter members. Its mission is to encourage and promote excellence in the performance of sacred music, provide a forum for mutual support of Adventist musicians, stimulate expression of musical gifts in the church, and develop training programs to enhance musical ability in young musicians. Though the guild started in the Columbia Union, their goal is to establish chapters in every conference.

Churches should begin now thinking of names they would like to nominate to receive an award in 2010.