I was honored to attend and photograph the taping of the 13th Annual Inspirational Country Music Awards held at the historic Acuff Theatre in Nashville, TN. Co-Hosted by Del Way, TBN radio host and multi-award winning Christian artist along with the “Queen of Clean, Chonda Pierce. Both kept the audience laughing with their wit and charm. At one point in-between taping Chondra pulled Del out to the center of the stage and yelled out for her mother, who was in the audience, telling her this is the person who’s CD she just gave her and said she wanted “more of.. well here is “more” .. Del happily ran into the crowd to hug her mom and pose for a photograph. A very touching moment.
During the show, many times I caught myself smiling and feeling the warmth and love of the artists during their performances. One of these came during the very heart-touching dedications of the #1 song “Moments” by Emerson Drive to the loss of their former bass player, Patrick Borque, who passed away in October. Jason Meadows video for his song “18 Video Tapes”, which introduces us to the families and especially the children of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice during the war, had me in tears. And I was not alone in wiping my eyes as I looked across the audience.
The night held some special performances for those in attendance. Richie McDonald, former lead singer of Lonestar, sang his new song titled, “Hey God” which is simply a prayer of thanks set to music. Lee Greenwood, who is a country legend, sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and Tammy Cochran sang her heart out with her new single “Where I Am”
Audience members were treated to many wonderful and big names in the music industry who performed during the awards ceremony including Mike Hammock, Brad Cotter, Mike Manuel, Del Way, The Bellamy Brothers, Blue County, Cross Country, Mary James, Corey Brooks, Sharen Spielman and Branded. Each of the performances were powerful and inspiring.
Those presenting the awards were funny, beautiful, charming and delivered some touching moments of their own and were assisted by the beauty of Miss Tennessee USA 2008, Hailey Brown and Miss Tennessee Teen USA, Natalie Phillips. Presenters included Rhonda Vincen, Andy Griggs, Rich McCready, Trent Tomlinson, Jason Meadows, Margo Smith and Holly, The Fox Brothers, Lawrence Bishop, James Payne, Sandra Dee, Chunky Nelms, Barry McGee, Miko Marks, Russ Murphy, Laura Bryna, John Sines Jr, Greg McDougal, Tommy Brandt, Steve McGranahan, and Mike Rimmey.
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