Year after year the Gospel Music Association (GMA) host an event in the Rocky Mountains that seeks future recording artists of Christian and gospel music. Recently, winners were named at the 31st Annual GMA Music in the Rockies’ Spotlight 2005 and Song of 2005 competitions.
An urban-flavored quartet of sisters known as Witherspoon were named the Spotlight Vocal 2005 Grand Prize winners. Coming to Estes Park from the Seattle area, sisters Erica, Krista, Tasha and Tamara also placed first in Urban Gospel and took home second place in the Vocal Group Spotlight categories. In addition, Krista and Tamara's song "I'm Good," placed first in the Urban/Gospel/Hip Hop Song category.
"There was a lot of excitement generated at this year’s event, with many key industry tastemakers talking about the impressive level of talent that entered in the Spotlight and Song competitions. I suspect a few of these young artists will find their way to development and songwriting deals before too long. Perhaps some of them will experience great careers in Christian music because of this experience,” said John. W. Styll, president of GMA.
There were a total of 13 categories for this year's competition – eight finalists in Spotlight and five finalists in Song. From those winners, four Grand Prize winners were named for Spotlight Vocal, Spotlight Band, Spotlight Instrumental and Song. In addition to a performance slot on the main stage on closing night of the Music in the Rockies concert series, the Grand Prize winners receive prize packages which include musical equipment, free studio time and professional performance consultation. The total packages are worth thousands of dollars and offer priceless opportunities for these artists to pursue their musical goals.
Taking their name from the Hebrew word for "worship," Shachah, made up of Earl Mergelsberg, Brenden McPeek, Jesse Morales, Joshua Wagner and Bryan Whitley, captured the Spotlight Band 2005 Grand Prize. From southern California, the band's "I Will Not Die Today," took third place in the Urban/Gospel/Hip Hop Song category.
Daniel Yarbrough, a drummer from Oklahoma, won the Spotlight Instrumental 2005 Grand Prize and Colorado’s Megan Isaacson's "My Worship" was named Song of 2005 and also claimed first place in the Praise & Worship/Choral Song category.
New to the Music in the Rockies’ competitions for 2005 was a partnership between the GMA and Walt Disney World Resort. Executives from Walt Disney World spent the week at Music in the Rockies and presented Spotlight winner Witherspoon with its “Disney's Night of Joy Best of Show Award” to perform at Night of Joy at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Fla. in September.
Ministry partner Compassion International, created a “Music & Ministry Experience” for another blessed aspiring artist. The international child development organization conducted personal evaluations and watched the competitions, and then invited Cindy Johnson of Winston-Salem, NC to travel with an established Christian artist to a Compassion International destination. This all-expense paid ministry trip will provide a unique opportunity to explore the practical integration of music and ministry.
For a complete list of winners log on to www.gospelmusic.org