Keith & Kristyn Getty and friends in concert, Feb. 9

This 7 p.m. concert at Sunshine Community Church in Grand Rapids will benefit the Ada Christian School Education Foundation. Readers and music lovers who are unfamiliar with the Gettys might recognize at least one of their many modern hymns, “In Christ Alone,” also the title of their critically acclaimed stateside album debut. This musically gifted couple from Northern Ireland has performed at Franklin Graham crusades, the GMA Dove Awards, and at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

Nomations to Watch

marymary2Erica and Tina Campbell, the two California sisters known as Mary Mary, have seven Stellar nominations. This dominance reflects the impact of Mary Mary’s spring 2011 release, Something Big, a constant presence atop Billboard’s gospel charts.

The duo also received two Grammy nominations, but Erica Campbell’s attendance at January’s Stellar Awards and the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on February 12 may be out of the question. Medical concerns about her pregnancy forced the cancellation of the “Have a Mary Mary Christmas Tour.” Erica Campbell’s baby is due in February.

VaShawn Mitchell leads overall with ten Stellar nominations from his album Triumphant, chased by perennial awards powerhouse Kirk Franklin and his album, Hello Fear. Franklin’s album features Marvin Sapp and Beverly Crawford on “The Altar.”

Mitchell and Franklin compete with Mary Mary in five categories: Artist of the Year, both CD and Contemporary CD of the Year, Producer of the Year (Warryn Campbell), and Urban Inspiration Performance of the Year. Mitchell and Mary Mary director Christian Heurer are also contenders for Musical Video of the Year (Short Form).

Million dollar lawsuit

Darius Paulk, the native Georgian songwriter credited with “Nobody Greater” recorded by LeShawn Mitchell on Triumphant, is has obtained a Song of the Year Stellar nomination. If “Nobody’s Greater” wins, it will be interesting to see who steps onto the stage to accept the award - Paulk, Travis Malloy, Mitchell, or a team of lawyers.

Malloy, 23, filed a million-dollar lawsuit for last August against Paulk, 27, Sony EMI Christian Music Group and Sony Entertainment. The Pittsburg man claims co-writing credit for the music, a charge adamantly disputed by Paulk in a statement immediately after the lawsuit filing: “Travis Malloy did not contribute to the creation of this song. I wrote the lyrics and melody by myself in the privacy of my home. His claim is baseless and I am confident in the fact that justice will soon prevail.”

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Andrew Druckenbrod called Malloy a “rising star on the gospel music scene” last October. “That potential might be realized earlier if he wins a lawsuit he has filed over the hit song ‘Nobody Greater.’ A 2010 recording of the track by popular gospel singer VaShawn Mitchell hit No. 1 on Billboard's Gospel Songs chart and hasn't left the top 10 in its 63 weeks.”

An unnamed lawyer writing for Christian Cross Media inferred that this “unfortunate” litigation is probably the result of a common business naiveté or carelessness. “Let’s pray that this gets resolved quickly and amicably. For our industry, the song is too powerful, too effective and too big to be tainted by impropriety.”

Stellar recognition of the legends

Three artistic trailblazers are special Stellar honorees. Vy Higgensen broke many barriers as an African American and as a woman, both in New York City radio, magazine advertising, and theater production. North Carolina pastor John P. Kee is a Christian Music Hall of Fame gospel artist who credits a choir trip to Michigan as a pivotal spiritual experience. The gospel career of Atlanta’s Dorothy Norwood includes her work with iconic artists such as Mahalia Jackson, the Caravans, and on more than 40 albums.

For complete information visit www.thestellarawards.com

Grammy Awards, Feb. 12 on CBS

Mary Mary and Kirk Franklin will continue their boys against the girls competition at the Grammy Awards on Feb. 12. “Hello Fear,” penned by Franklin and “Sitting With Me,” co-written by the Campbell sisters with Gerald and Tammi Haddon will be considered with three other Grammy nominees as 2011’s Best Gospel Song.

The familiar names of Steven Curtis Chapman, Natalie Grant, and Chris Tomlin are Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music performance contenders, as are Brandon Heath and BET Sunday Best winner, newcomer Le’Andria Johnson.

After years of writing hit songs for other artists, award-winning songwriter Laura Story is standing in a spotlight of her own with “Blessings,” a Best Contemporary Christian Music Song nominee. She will face stiff competition from Jamie Grace, Toby Mac, and Christopher Stevens (“Hold Me”), Louie Giglio, Matt Maher and Chris Tomlin (“I Lift My Hands”), Matthew West (“Strong Enough”), Brandon Heath and Jason Ingram (“Your Love”). Heath received two Grammy nominations in previous years, but his album Out of Eden has generated three nominations this year.

In addition to Mary Mary and Kirk Franklin, nominees for Best Gospel Album are Kim Burrell’s The Love Album, Grammy winning veteran André Crouch’s The Journey, and Angel & Chanelle (Deluxe Edition) by Trin-I-Tee 5:7.

Contemporary Christian Music as a genre continues to stretch through the creative efforts of artists seeking to create relevant music for today’s Christian audience. Grammy nominations for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album are an eclectic mix: the worship innovation of Gungor (Ghosts Upon the Earth), strong physical and metaphorical landscapes by Brandon Heath (Leaving Eden), Leeland’s progressive rock that conquered difficult radio markets (The Great Awakening), Mandisa’s R&B/gospel fusion (What If We Were Real), and Royal Tailor’s nouveau pop/rock (Black & White).

Every album of Leeland has received a Grammy nomination. So far, the Texas band is always a bridesmaid, never a bride. This time, the band is finds a protégé sharing nomination space. Like its mentor, Royal Tailor’s debut album won a Grammy nomination. The rookies owe their Provident Records relationship to Leeland’s strong advocacy with label.

The 54th Annual Grammy Awards is slated for broadcast Feb. 12, 8/7 Central, on CBS. A complete list of nominees is at http://www.grammy.com/nominees

Grand Haven High School is 2012 Grammy Foundation semi-finalist

Grand Haven High School is one of 125 national semi-finalists in the Grammy Foundation’s 2012 Signature Schools program. This honor identifies the “top U.S. public high schools that are making an outstanding commitment to music education during an academic school year.”

Neil Portnow, president/CEO of The Recording Academy and Grammy Foundation, commends the honored schools on the Academy’s website. "Each of these semifinalist schools should be commended for their commitment to keeping the arts in their curriculum for the long term benefits of their students."

Finalists will be announced in March 2012 and receive monetary music program grants up to $10,000. The semi-finalist list is at www.grammy.com/news/grammy-foundation-announces-2012-grammy-signature-schools-semifinalists

Trent Lenderink Foundation Benefit Concert: Tammy Trent with the Katinas, Jan. 28

Tammy Trent and her special guests, The Katinas, perform at Grand Rapids First Church, 6 p.m. The annual benefit concert for the Trent Lenderink Endowment Fund is a fundraiser for Tri-unity Christian School. Trent’s husband, a Tri-unity Christian School alum, died in a 2001 Jamaican vacation scuba diving accident. The Katinas are comprised of five brothers from America Samoa.

There will be a freewill offering. For more information about Tammy Trent or the concert, visit www.tammytrent.com/tour.html

Keith & Kristyn Getty and friends in concert, Feb. 9

This 7 p.m. concert at Sunshine Community Church in Grand Rapids will benefit the Ada Christian School Education Foundation. Readers and music lovers who are unfamiliar with the Gettys might recognize at least one of their many modern hymns, “In Christ Alone,” also the title of their critically acclaimed stateside album debut. This musically gifted couple from Northern Ireland has performed at Franklin Graham crusades, the GMA Dove Awards, and at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

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