Singing News Fan Awards announced: Live Blog

The Singing News Fan Awards are being presented this afternoon in Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

  • Favorite Musician: Jeff Stice. No surprises there!
  • Favorite Young Artist: Courtney Collingsworth. Brooklyn took the award home last year; this year, it was her equally talented sister’s turn. Unlike last year, when the family was not present and booking agent Michael Davis had to step forward to accept on Brooklyn’s behalf, Courtney was present in person to accept. Best tweet: Joseph Habedank’s “The 2011 Favorite Young Artist of the year is… Courtney Collingsworth. She should join the Booth Brothers. CONGRATS!”
  • Favorite Tenor: Michael Booth. No surprises there! Classic Michael: “You should at least be high enough to sing lead for Brian Free & Assurance to hold this trophy!”
  • Horizon Group: Ball Brothers. It’s well-deserved. They have taken the slow and steady course to get here, and their patience and persistence has paid off.
  • Favorite Baritone: Jim Brady. No surprises there!
  • Favorite Soprano: Kim Hopper. No surprises there! She dedicated it to her little brother, Tony Greene, who passed away a year ago today: “This is for you … I want you to take it and lay it at the feet of Jesus.” Emotional moment for sure!
  • Horizon Individual: Courtney Collingsworth. This is the first time any individual has won Horizon Individual and Favorite Young Artist in the same year. Wow! Courtney’s acceptance speeches must be the production team’s dream: Heartfelt, but also to the point.
  • Favorite Male Singer: Ronnie Booth. No surprises there! He told a story of an eight-year-old boy who was dying of cancer; one of the final things he told his father was, “Daddy, tell Mr. Ronnie and Mr. Jim and Mr. Michael to look for me at Jesus’ feet.” Ronnie said, “That’s why we do what we do.” Another emotional moment!
  • Favorite Bass: Eric Bennett. No surprises there!
  • Favorite Lead Singer: Ronnie Booth. No surprises there!
  • Favorite Alto: Libbi Perry Stuffle. She’s won four times in the last decade, as has Sheri Easter. Debra Talley has won twice. So it’s not a huge surprise, but was slightly less a lock than some of the other categories.
  • Favorite Mixed Group: Hoppers. No surprises there!
  • Favorite Female Singer: Kim Hopper. No surprises there!
  • Favorite Traditional Quartet: Triumphant Quartet. No surprises there!
  • Favorite Soloist: Ivan Parker. No surprises there!
  • Templeton-Norcoss Award: Peg McKamey Bean. Well-deserved!
  • Favorite Trio: Booth Brothers. No surprises there!
  • Favorite Band: Gaither Band. This is intriguing; evidently the fans voted for the band with whom they connected on the personality level. Gaither’s guitarist (Kevin Williams) and pianist (Gordon Mote) are both technically superb musicians. But, in all likelihood, fans voted for them because they like the way Gaither works them into his comedy routines.
  • Favorite Songwriter: Rodney Griffin. No surprises there!
  • Favorite Song: “Love Came Calling,” Triumphant Quartet. Slight surprise; some didn’t expect them to win, since they had two songs up.
  • Favorite Album: Love Came Calling, Triumphant Quartet. Another slight surprise.
  • Favorite Artist: Booth Brothers. No surprises there!
Statistical notes:
  • This is Kim Hopper’s fifteenth consecutive favorite soprano win. This brings her into a tie with Roger Bennett for most wins at a position.
  • As noted above, this year is the first year an artist won both Horizon Individual and Young Artist.

Now I thought I was being relatively concise in my coverage, but Jared Stuffle has me beaten fair and square. He managed to list (virtually) all the winners in five words: “Awards are over…nothing different.” 

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70 Letters to the Editor

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  1. Great update. Thanks for the details. I am sad not to have been able to see it live. Will have to wait till tomorrow.

    • I was also quite disappointed!

  2. The pattern of the last 2-3 years holds: The Booths win in every category except where they’re eligible, Triumphant wins except where they’re competing with the Booths, and Kim and Libbi win the female categories.

    The only suspense is whether or not Griffin will be dethroned from the Songwriter position…ah, and also, I see the GVB band just won, which is well deserved.

    • Basically, this year makes at least a third consecutive award at virtually every position.

  3. Argh..that should read “except where they AREN’T eligible” on the Booths…

    • 😆

    • LOL I caught that and thought “you must mean ineligible” otherwise they would win female soloist etc. 😀

  4. “evidently the fans voted for the band with whom they connected on the personality level”

    They vote in every category from that perspective. How else can you explain Michael Booth winning tenor? LOL

    Of course, in this particular case, Mote/Williams etc. are at the top of the game in terms of talent.

    • Well, yes, except there are certainly some perennial winners who don’t do half as much talking onstage as Mote & Williams … take Kim Hopper.

  5. Hey, Triumphant finally beat the Booth Brothers.

    Song: “Love Came Calling.”

    • That’s the first mild surprise of the ceremony. Of course, there are a few categories (Horizon Group / individual etc.) where someone different has to win each year by default, but other than those, this is something.

      • Make it a two-fer. They won for album as well…same title.

        I agree, both of those were mild surprises.

  6. Yawn…Boring…………Aside from the horizon and youth categories, they’re always the same winners year after year. The five year cycle will run out for the Booth Brothers and Triumphant here shortly like it did Greater Vision and another group will win EVERY award for the next 5 years. [edit]

  7. We were a bit surprised that Taranda Greene didn’t win anything…we expected some “sympathy votes”.

    Otherwise, Congratulations to the Ball Brothers…we were surprised (about the only other surprise)!

    • Well, I don’t think she had launched her solo career by the time the first round ballot was circulating early this year.

      • Right, but I think she was at least still a Soprano and could have been eligible for Female Singer. She had numerous nominations.

      • Ah, if she was nominated, there goes that theory!

        I think that old habits won out over sympathy votes!

  8. While not discrediting any of the winners, it is getting boring and I am not as interested as I used to be. I think there are people who just vote the same year after year without thinking much about it.

    • Anyone who might cherish the idea that the Singing News Awards were once full of nail-biting suspense and jaw-dropping surprises really ought to check out the Singing News Fan Awards article on Wikipedia. Between the years 1982 and 2007 (inclusive), few and far between were the winning male artists/groups who couldn’t trace their musical lineage back to either the Cathedrals or Gold City. On the mixed/distaff side, the Hoppers and the Perrys have pretty well locked in the mixed group category and most of the female individual ones. Interesting side note to my research, though: the Favorite Artist category was established in 2006, and has been won every year since its inception by the Booth Brothers. Works for me, but I doubt that’s what the Singing News folks anticipated would happen!

    • Yes, boring to the point of irrelevance! I wonder if the “winners” draft throngs of people to vote for them repeatedly. It’s not worth watching or caring about. Go see/support your favorites and forget the awards!

      • It’s nothing so insidious as that. The winning groups pitch SN subscriptions during their product pitches and, therefore, their fans are signed up. 🙂

      • Someone correct me if they’ve had a different experience, but I’ve been to two Booth Brothers concerts this year, and all I’ve ever heard them promote are their own CDs and DVDs.

      • You’re right! They do not “promote” their Fan Awards. They concentrate on their music and the message. Their “fans” appreciate that, and “reward” them accordingly.

        Ronnie, Michael, and Jim know the Fan Awards are a “Thank you for what you do. We love and appreciate you!” If you listened yesterday, they made that very clear in their acceptance comments. Great guys.

      • Remember, Burger won the award for pianist 10 years in a row and they renamed it after him and made him ineligible. That was the only time I ever knew that they did that. In fact, Bennett won it more than 10 times after that. I’m not saying they should do that, but wonder why it was only done the one time.

      • I agree with that…Who really cares. Same ole same ole every year.

    • Of course people usually vote the same way every year! The Awards are Fan Favorites! People’s favorites rarely change. From music, to movies, to vacation spots, to food… your favorite is your favorite…unless you have multiple personalities. 🙂

      That’s why you see the Fan Awards “lock-in” to a trend for several years at a time. Check out the Fan Awards History on, and you’ll discover it’s always been that way. That’s a “good thing”, from an Artist’s perspective. It means our audience is consistent and loyal. There should be an award for that! “Favorite Audience”!

      • When artists such as Greater Vision, the Booth Brothers, Legacy Five, the Hoppers, the Perrys, Triumphant, Kingdom Heirs, Karen Peck and New River, along with so many other quality Southern Gospel acts, come to a town near us, sing their hearts out, witness wholeheartedly for the Lord, and give us the right hand of fellowship via their post-concert visiting at the product tables, their websites, their newsletters, and their Facebook and Twitter pages, then we the fans have received all the reward we want or deserve. In a perfect world, all these artists and more would also receive all the recognition they deserve, but in the meantime, we’ll just have to use whatever means provided to us, the best way we know how, to let the artists and others know how we feel. Sharing our preferences via the Singing News Awards is one way, but I for one thank the bloggers for providing yet another method of expressing our support for our favorites — and thanks to the artists too, such as Gerald Wolfe and Michael Booth, who have shown such a willingness to interact with the fans in these blogs. Things might get a little feisty at times, but for the most part, it’s still been a win-win situation for all concerned.

  9. Maybe I’m old school, but I kinda still wish they did this at NQC…i know it gets a little more hoop-lah here at Dollywood, what with the red carpet and all, but it just seems so fitting to do it at NQC as the culmination of the week’s events. Congrats to all the winners. God is using these great artists to do big things…

    • I’m with you, Matt! Most, if not all, the Artists would love to see the program back at NQC as well. It would give us an extra day at home…not to mention the added travel expenses most of the groups incur to come to Pigeon Forge. At $1.81 per mile, it’s not a cheap day for those groups that make 500-mile round-trips in their buses to be there.

      It’s not an expensive day for me, since I just live 45-minutes away. My only cost is the day (who can put a price on that?), and having to buy Scott Fowler’s lunch! LOL

      • LOL!

      • Well isn’t Gerald on the board at NQC? Make it happen man! And bring back Monday Male Quartet Night while you are at it. And make the everyone happy and smiling too 😉

      • If you’ll notice elsewhere in this thread, Gerald has already said that the NQC would be delighted to have the SN Fan Awards back, but it’s SN’s decision.

  10. I’m disappointed that there is little or no mention of the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.

    • Quite simple: I wasn’t there.

      I was following Singing News on Twitter, and at least on Twitter, they only announced their winners.

      If Singing News had come through with the promised live video feed, and I had seen the inductees’ portions, I would surely have covered that, too. As it is, I can only cover what I know.

      • Don’t be too hard on the Singing News…the problem was with the internet connection at Dollywood. They had an IT guy in and out of there all day, trying to correct the problem, but obviously weren’t successful getting it fixed. I saw a lot of the process, back-stage. They really tried. The problem showed up during their tests on Tuesday night, and they were right on top of it…it just wasn’t resolved in time.

      • Fair enough.

        I wasn’t going to bring it up, but I needed an alibi, and it was the reason, after all. I think it’s a pretty solid alibi. 🙂

        Yes, I could have gone back a few months to find a list of who was selected, but I already covered that, and without knowing who was there to accept, and who accept for those who weren’t there, there just isn’t much to write about that hasn’t been said.

      • Good point, Daniel.

  11. Yes, mostly predictable, but still fun.

  12. So if Courtney took on a new name (legally… marriage factoring in), could she technically win the Horizon Individual award again next year, as well as the Horizon Young Artist, and make that a first again as well? Lol!!!

    • Actually, this was the year she got married. Maybe if you phrase it differently – her sister Brooklyn won last year, and perhaps, now that Brooklyn is married, you could make a case that she could be eligible next year. 🙂

  13. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Gerald. Especially your endorsement for moving the awards back to NQC. I love your emcee work, and maybe your powers of persuasion can convince the rest of the board and SN to make the move.

    • Thanks Tyler. It’s really up to the Singing News. The door is open, and the NQC would love to have the program back in Louisville.

  14. Thanks for the help Gerald!!

    Guys please know this… We have never made any effort to promote awards for ourself. I have oppolgized many times to Danny and Less for not selling the magazine. Im sure that they would make more revenue by more diversity in the results. Because every winner buys “thank you” adds. We MAY have sold 30 subscriptions in the last year. Yes that is pathetic! I have an idea to try and sell more in the future BUT we have to be careful on the amount of time spent “pitching” product. We could loose our credibility quickly by causing people to think we are about making money more than the Gospel.

    At the end of the day, the awards have no impact on the effectiveness of a group. That is determined by talent, lifestyle and the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Though I am grateful for people expressing their love and encouragement with awards I would prefer that we abandon them as part of Gospel Music…. The potential of the negative outways the the good. The good and rewards come from knowing that a mighty God has allowed a singer/musician to be used by HIM for His Kingdom and His Glory. I’m sure that sounds contrived and sappy to some but it’s is the simple truth.

    Blessing to you all.


    • That’s interesting, and neat!

      I have to confess that I have yet to make it to a normal non-NQC Booth Brothers concert, so I was basing my observations on other groups’ product pitches. I have been through some long ones!

      (And it’s not for lack of trying! One of these days I am certain they’ll be in my area!)

    • I add my heart-felt AMEN to my friend, Michael’s statement! (And I would have said that even if he hadn’t bought my dinner last night.) 🙂

      • Gerald, I have a question for you. Were you out more for Scott’s dinner than Michael was for yours? 😀

      • Absolutely! Michael paid for three. I had to pay for eight!

      • Oh, I didn’t realize you guys were buying entire groups. 🙂 Maybe you could become friends with soloists. 😀

    • Michael, you guys are truly sincere about your mission to minister through your singing. It definitely shows through your testimony on stage as well as comes through your songs as you sing. You guys definitely have built a huge fan base and have been rewarded the past few years for your hard work and dedication. May God continue to bless the Booth Brothers ministry.

  15. I can remember many years ago how exciting it was to anticipate the Acadamy Awards in Hollywood. It has gone on for so long now,and each year with less excitement, to many folks they are now irrelevant. Don,t let that happen to the SN fan awards.

  16. I understand why the artists would like the awards at NQC, but I like it the way it is right now. It gives us the opportunity to hear more groups at NQC. If it goes back to NQC make it a showcase, please. Sorry Booth Brothers, but GV is # 1 in my book.

    • Great idea to make it a showcase! I really enjoyed seeing more groups at NQC on Saturday night also. The awards are fun, but I enjoy the music more.

      • Oops, I meant on Thursday night.

      • I agree with you, Rick and Stacy. I think an Afternoon Showcase event would be perfect for the Fan Awards at NQC. That way, it will still be a special event, and those folks who want to hear more music in the evenings will get what they want too. Everybody wins!

      • Saturday afternoon would be an ideal time for the Fan Awards. Give them the entire afternoon in Freedom Hall while programming non-nominated groups in the East hall for anyone who didn’t want to attend the Fan Awards.

        That way, the week would build up to that event, but evening concert goers wouldn’t get so frustrated when the awards run long, and there would be plenty of music to end the event.

        While we’re talking NQC, bring back quartet night! Not because quartets are better, but because themes are more marketable than randomness.

      • “Not because quartets are better,” That’s just crazy talk. 😉

      • Quartet-man,
        I knew Gerald and perhaps Michael were reading, so I had to massage the truth a little bit. LOL

      • 😀 It might be easier for you to do, but my name gives me away. 😉

  17. What a long sleeper that show was . . . yawn . . . . fell asleep . . . who won favorite Southern Gospel dog?

  18. My favorite part of the ceremony will always be the inductions of the Hall of Famers. Waller did a great job with the videos, and its great to see friends like Kenny Gates, Bob Brumley, and Willie Wynn get their due. Loved the Statler Brothers tribute too. I’m happy to see guys like the Booths and Triumphant get their recognition, because those groups are tremendous. But my hat’s off to the Hall of Famers. Thanks so much guys.

  19. If it were my decision… and it’s not… I would consider Saturday, for the reasons DBM mentioned above, but…from an Artist’s perspective…I would also look at Wednesday afternoon, to give the winning Artists the last half of NQC to celebrate with their friends, and to capitalize on additional product sales that might result from having a winning song, album, etc.. Otherwise, some of the attendees may not have the opportunity to congratulate their favorites, or pick up their latest CD. After all…that is a very expensive week for all the Artists…and it’s not cheap for the fans either.

    • Well said Gerald! I think that it is a great idea! You are definitely a class act and we as fans of southern gospel appreciate you more than you know! I do have a question for you though….When is Greater Vision going to do another “Quartets” CD? Your “Quartets” CD is one of my favorites CDs of all time and I would love to own another one!

      • It’s on the agenda…it just keeps getting put on the back burner. There’s a LOT of time and work that goes into a project like that…especially securing old Masters for some of the “old-timers”. In the end, it’s worth the effort!

    • I realize that this my situation might be different (in particular this year), but I went to NQC for the first time to see the GVB Reunion. I would have liked to have done the same last year for the Gold City / Singing American reunions. What I am getting at, is I would have purchased much mroe more product had I had access to the tables with the Showcase ticket. I was unable to stay the evening and had to leave with only spending at the NQC booth. For instance I missed out on the GVB box set. (Not that Gaither needs the money. ;)) But, I also would have bought stuff from several booths. I realize that maybe they consider access to the artists at the tables (if they work the tables) is part of of the draw to buying tickets, but I would have probably spent pretty decent money had I had had the chance. If nothing else, if the showcase tickets didn’t cover access to the tables, it seems a special ticket for access there for people who weren’t going to stay might have been a good idea and the artists would have a chance to make more money. Maybe there aren’t many (or any) that are in a situation like mine, but I am not sure.

      • Quartet-man,
        The way the Exhibit Hall is attached to Freedom Hall, it would require a lot of man power to keep the Exhibit Hall a free access area, though I agree that would be ideal.

        Sometimes the smaller showcase artists do set up tables outside the showcase for people who may not have access to the Exhibit Hall.

        What NQC might consider for bigger acts is setting up a store at the front entrance to Freedom Hall. NQC staff could manage the store like a consignment shop on behalf of the artists, paying them off at the end of the week…or, they could deal directly with labels to provide product if they didn’t want to have so much paperwork for artists.

        That way, fans who have no access to the Exhibit Hall could still buy product.

      • David, I did wonder if that might be a reason too, I’ve never been so I wasn’t sure.

    • Gerald,
      Putting the Fan Awards earlier in the week for the reasons you mentioned is a good idea.

      NQC could use some sort of significant finish that’s bigger than just having three groups on stage together.

      Something I suggested a few years ago was saving the key Gaither artists (GVB, EH&SS, Isaacs, Sisters, etc.) for Saturday night.

      If you kick off on Monday with quartet night, position the Fan Awards mid-week, and finish off on Saturday with Gaither, that would give some people an incentive to stay for the duration rather than just two or three days.

  20. Thank you JC! God sure has blessed us in spite of ourselves..

  21. Ok, so I know this is a very old post and has long been forgotten, but when reading the comment Daniel first made ,about the GVB “band” winning band of the year, almost seems as though he is suggesting that Gordon Mote, Greg Richie , Kevin Williams, Ben Isaacs and Kelly back in the same band won Band of the Year due to comedy?? Seriously, If just take Gordon alone. The man is a 2 time CMA studio musician of the year!! Have you ever talked to anyone has worked with him? The man has perfect pitch. For those of you who do not know what that means, I will explain. Gordon can hear someone sing a note and then tell you what key she was in and furthermore if you tell him what key you would like it in, he can then transpose that not and sing it back to you. Where most people do several takes and then the producer comps them into one single track, with Gordon he usually gets it on the first take. What makes his piano mastery even better is that he can match his studio performance in a live concert. The man gave Rascal Flatts their cool poppy piano sound. He is the sound of todays Gaither Vocal Band. Bill Gaither saw Motes talent and capitalized. Gordon is a musical genius. Even currently, he, Kevin Williams, Ben Isaacs and Kelly Back played on Wilburn and Wilburn’s new cd “Family Ties” and it is already up for a “Dove Award for Country Gospel Album of the Year”. The reason everything turns to gold ,that these guy’s touch, is for a reason! They are the best at what they do! One blogger was right about one thing and that is to gain more fan’s you have to be the total package; good musician, good performer and friendly with fan’s. That is why they won band and rightfully so. Much more than any of the other categories. I do know it is possible that I have taken what you said the wrong way and if so, I apologize .