The event also honors individuals and organizations that are impacting our culture both past and present. This year's honorees include Catherine Brewton for Hope for Harvest, Jars of Clay for Blood: Water Mission, Michael W. Smith for Rocketown, and Gospel Music Trust Fund. Performers and presenters will be announced in the coming weeks. For ticket and table sponsor information, please visit gmahonors.org.
John Huie, CAA and GMA Honors Co-Chair says, “It is both humbling and exciting to see this special evening continue to grow. In just three years, this event has become one of the highlights of the year for the Gospel and Christian music industry. It is a great way to gather a lot of wonderful people for a night of celebration.”
HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES:
Originally known as the Rex Nelon Singers, the Nelons have been captivating audiences for four decades with their tight family harmonies and timeless songs. Currently, the group is comprised of Kelly Nelon, her husband Jason Clark, and daughters Amber and Autumn.The group has recorded more than 35 albums with chart-topping Southern Gospel classics like “We Shall Wear a Robe and Crown,” “Come Morning,” and “O For a Thousand Tongues.” Their many awards include three Grammy Nominations, six Dove Awards, 14 Singing News Fan Awards and a People's Choice Silver Telly Award for the concept video "Excuse Me, Are You Jesus?” They are frequently featured on the bestselling Gaither Homecoming recordings and videos and have performed on the Grand Ole Opry, among other historic venues.
A talented songwriter and the former lead singer for the legendary Imperials, Russ Taff gained recognition as "The Voice" during his tenure with the group. He later forged a successful solo career, releasing a series of innovative works that delved into his musical heritage while pushing the boundaries of contemporary Christian music. His eclectic taste was reflected in his recordings and live concerts, as he drew from multiple genres—rock, pop, blues, Southern gospel, Black gospel, country, even big band. Hailed by Billboard Magazine as “the single most electrifying voice in Christian music,” Taff has won a total of five Grammy awards and nine Gospel Music Association Dove awards. He has also been a member of the Gaither Vocal Band, and often appears at Gaither Homecoming concerts.
As a gospel singer, composer and choir leader, Bishop Hezekiah Walker and the Love Fellowship Choir took the world by storm with their sensational and innovative sound. Bringing a more youthful and hip-hop style than his predecessors, Hezekiah Walker and LFC quickly became one of the most popular choral groups in contemporary gospel. Walker not only began selling records but choirs around the world began to emulate the moves and blend of LFC. With Dove awards and Grammys to their credit, Hezekiah Walker and LFC have influenced the sound of a generation. As Bishop of Love Fellowship Tabernacle Church, his staunch message and innovative sound have earned him the moniker, “Pastor of Hip Hop.”
Rachinski is President/CEO of Christian Copyright Licensing, Inc. (CCLI) and founder of the Church Copyright License, which helps churches comply with the copyright law. CCLI is currently serving approximately 250,000 churches in 28 countries. He is also a contributing editor to Worship Leader Magazine and has received many honors for his leadership in the Gospel music industry, including the GMA’s Impact Award in 1994.
Full length bios for all inductees are available here.
Catherine Brewton for Hope for Harvest
Catherine Brewton, Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations of BMI, founded Hope For Harvest, a four-day event as an effort to fund and continue the services provided by Community Outreach Christian Ministries/The Harvest Center after the passing of her mother, Pastor Barbara Brewton-Cameron. This life-changing outreach impacts the community of Charlotte, North Carolina, by not only providing necessary living items to Charlotte’s underserved youth, but also provide an escape through music, dance and words of encouragement. Last year, Hope for Harvest fed more than 2,000 homeless citizens of the Charlotte community and raised awareness and funds towards the alleviation of homelessness. In the music industry Catherine's reputation proceeds her. In 2013, she was named Billboard Magazine's “Woman of The Year." Vibe, Ebony, Marie Claire and other publications have lauded her and her many efforts for the advancement of arts, as well as her philanthropic passions.
Jars of Clay for Blood: Water Mission
Founded by the Grammy and Dove award-winning group Jars of Clay and activist Jena Lee Nardella, Blood: Water has raised over $27 million in a call to personalize the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa. Since its launch in 2004, Blood:Water has worked alongside more than a dozen African organizations to bring clean water and HIV/AIDS support to over one million people in 11 countries. Jars of Clay has sold millions of albums and garnered Grammy, American Music and Dove Awards nominations, 16 No. 1 songs and major television and film song placements.
Michael W. Smith for Rocketown
Founded in 1994, Michael W. Smith's Rocketown is a holistic, faith-based youth outreach facility located in downtown Nashville. Rocketown has served thousands of youth in the community by providing programming focused on nurturing the mind, body and spirit. Smith has sold more than 15 million albums, scored two No 1 hits, earned three Grammys and more than 40 Dove Awards.
Gospel Music Trust Fund
Established in 1983 by the late Herman Harper, a former member of the Oak Ridge Boys and the president of the Harper Agency, the Gospel Music Trust Fund exists to provide financial assistance in the event of catastrophic circumstances to those individuals who have derived a substantial portion of their income from the field of Gospel music. Through generous donations and fundraising activities, the foundation has distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to artists, writers, musicians and business professionals in need.
About GMA Honors and Hall of Fame:
GMA Honors was established to recognize individuals and organizations that impact our culture for Christ through music. For 38 years, the GMA Foundation has honored well-deserving individuals and groups through an annual induction ceremony into the GMA Hall of Fame. The event will continue to induct trailblazers into the Hall of Fame but also celebrate current individuals and organizations within the gospel music community that are making significant contributions to the world through their humanitarian efforts as well as their talents.