Singing News Fan Awards: 2012 Winners

Singing News announced the 2012 winners to the Fan Awards this afternoon. As usual, the Booth Brothers and Triumphant Quartet had the strongest showings. The Booth Brothers picked up seven of the twenty-one awards, while Triumphant won four.

The Collingsworth Family won Mixed Group of the Year for the first time; they also continued their streak at the Young Artist position. Two years ago, oldest sister Brooklyn took home the trophy; Courtney took it home last year, and Phil Collingsworth Jr. won it this year. This is the first time a group has had a streak of this nature; incidentally, the only comparable situation in the history of the award happened the preceding two years, with Perrys members Nick Trammell (2008) and Joseph Habedank (2009).

Wilburn & Wilburn took home awards for Horizon Group of the Year and Horizon Individual of the Year (Jordan), proving that the online buzz about their group is shared within the Singing News fan base.

Here’s the full list of awards handed out in the awards ceremony:

  • Mixed Group: The Collingsworth Family
  • Soloist: Ivan Parker
  • Horizon Group Of The Year: Wilburn & Wilburn
  • Horizon Individual Of The Year: Jordan Wilburn
  • Tenor: Michael Booth
  • Alto: Libbi Perry Stuffle
  • Lead Singer: Ronnie Booth
  • Baritone: Jim Brady
  • Soprano: Kim Hopper
  • Bass Singer: Eric Bennett
  • Band: Kingdom Heirs
  • Musician: Jeff Stice
  • Trio: Booth Brothers
  • Young Artist: Phillip Collingsworth
  • Male Singer: Ronnie Booth
  • Female Singer: Kim Hopper
  • Traditional Quartet: Triumphant Quartet
  • Songwriter Of The Year: Rodney Griffin
  • Album Of The Year: Songs From The Heart- Triumphant Quartet
  • Song Of The Year: She Still Remembers Jesus’s Name- Booth Brothers
  • Artist Of The Year: Booth Brothers
  • Norcross-Templeton Award: Mike Holcomb

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17 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. Interesting quartet there:
    Michael, Ronnie, & Jim with Eric Bennett, backed up by the KH band and Jeff Stice.
    Too bad Sisters didn’t get any awards: they’re the best singing group in the industry.
    Has Kim Lord ever received the alto award?

  2. There is a reason why these are the Singing News FAN Awards. As long as people continue having the same favorite singers, I don’t see how there will be much change in who wins these awards year to year. The two that stick out to me every year are Kim Hopper and Rodney Griffin. I believe these two have won the award for Favorite Soprano and Favorite Songwriter for something like 15 straight years. Are you telling me that all those years there was nobody else good enough to win those awards? They really need to rename these awards after these folks and then make them ineligible. Kind of like they did for Anthony Burger. Anyway, sorry for the rant. 🙁

    • There’s a sense in which that misses the point. If the objective is to recognize the fan favorites, then we simply have to resign ourselves to the simple fact that this is a genre in which people pick favorites and then stay loyal to them for a long, long time.

      If we seek greater objectivity, perhaps we should do peer-voted industry awards, like other musical genres have. Problem is, peers can be subjective and vote for people whom they personally like, too.

      We could get even greater objectivity if we determine awards the way that NQC determined this year’s Songwriter award – based on the Singing News Radio Airplay charts. Problem is, there’s still some level of subjectivity there; no matter how good a song is, Southern Gospel radio DJs are far more likely to (a) play and (b) chart songs that are either from a well-established group or a group with a member who had previously been with a well-established group.

      So if we want genuinely objective measures of success, none of those go far enough. We would have to see what data could be revealed from actual airplay reports by performance rights agencies (BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, and SoundExchange) and from actual sales reports (Nielsen SoundScan). The only problem with the latter is that most Southern Gospel groups don’t bother reporting their sales through SoundScan, and I’m not sure how many bookstores do, either.

      • Good thoughts. On a side note, the only awards I see having any merit would be the Horizon Awards. At least these give us a new name every year. Of course the criteria is different from the other awards.

      • The best method for determining the fans’ favorite songwriter would be to take all of the songs that are nominated in the initial round and count each as one songwriter vote (or 1/2 vote or 1/3 vote, etc. in the case of co-written songs).

        Fans in general have no clue who their favorite songwriter is, so instead, they vote for a name (an artist) they recognize.

        The NQC Music Awards process of tabulating chart results is better than the method currently used by the Singing News, and they use the Singing News data to accomplish it.

        The method I’ve suggested, though, would be even better, since it would be the direct result of the fan vote. To make it even more interesting, they could give more weight to the songs that make it to the Top Ten, but I rather like the idea of just counting up every songwriter from the initial round of nominations.

    • An interesting note regarding Rodney Griffin is that “Masterpiece of Mercy” a Booth Brothers song co-penned by Griffin and Jim Brady, hit #1 on the Singing News November Top 80 chart the same week Griffin won as Singing News Favorite Songwriter. There’s nothing like a little solid evidence to back up the win, although the same evidence could be used to justify why Brady deserved a win as well.

      • Melissa,
        That is a good point. I have observed on several occasions that Rodney Griffin would still be a contender for the songwriter award even if was based on a process that more closely reflected the fan’s true favorite.

        Griffin has been so consistently successful with other groups that Greater Vision recorded a CD not too long ago featuring his most popular non-Greater Vision hits.

    • I totally agree. How many years in a row can one artist win? There ought to be a limit. Who can say there aren’t singers just as good? because there is. It doesn’t seem fair to me. There are so many good singers
      out there. I especially like Amber Nelon Clark. What a voice!

  3. Rodney Griffin does write good songs. It just would be nice to see other writers getting recognized for their work. Dianne Wilkinson is a name that comes to mind. That lady can write some GREAT quartet songs. Just ask the Kingdom Heirs. Granted, they have recorded their fair share of Griffin’s songs over the years. So i guess he can write good quartet songs too. 🙂

  4. As for songwriters, Kyla Rowland, Gerald Crabb, and the combination(s) of Joe, Sonya, Rebecca, and Ben, Isaacs, all come to mind.
    Joe and his children has consistently written some very strong songs, eg: Sweet Holy Spirit, I Found It All In The Blood, He Never Failed Me, Thank You, From The Depths Of My Heart, and By His Stripes. Very strong theology, mixed with strong conviction and honesty. More recent examples would include “Why Can’t We”, “Waiting In The Water”, “Why”, and songs other groups have recorded.

    Within the last 2 days, I’ve listened again to LordSong’s “Soulfood”. This album has always impressed me with the strength of the lyrics. And, of course, LordSong gave great preformances. What can I say, whenever a Ruppe sister is involved, a project goes above and far beyond just being good.
    Back to the lyrics, Patti Hawkins wrote 5 of the 11 songs. Joel Lindsey co-wrote 2, one with Wayne Haun, and the other with Belinda Smith. Marty Funderburk, Kevin Ward, Twila LaBar, Kevin Stokes, Amy Shellem, and Jerry Salley also contributed songs to this release. I encourage you to pull your copy out and soak it up, and pay speciall attention to the stregnth of the words.

    • Agreed. “The Cross was Enough,” “I Know the Plans I Have For You” and others are solid gold from that project.

  5. AMEN! Those are great! “I Am Sure Of You” is just………. man, Amber Balltzglier is………wow! What a song, what a performance!
    If I remember correctly, her and her husband are in ministry together. Would like to hear her again on the “national scene”.
    “Wandering Heart” is phenominal.
    LordSong did, and now, Sisters does, deserve Dove Awards, Fan Awards, NQC Music awards, Absolutely Gospel Music Awards, ect.
    The Million Dollar Question: who’s better, LordSong or Sisters?

    • Are you funding the million dollars if someone gets the question right? 🙂

  6. HaHa! No. But, let’s see….. Amber Balltzglier’s diehard fans would say LordSong, Valerie Ellenburg’s diehard fans might say either.

    • You’re speaking of Valerie Medkiff (now), right?

      • Ok, I guess I am.

      • OK, just wanted to be sure we were talking about the same person.