by Robert Hasan James
January 15, 2010
The annual BMI Trailblazers Luncheon is one of the highlights during Stellar Awards weekend. This year was no different as BMI honored gospel greats, Donnie McClurkin and Andrae Crouch. The hosts of the evening was Byron Cage and Yolanda Adams. The show started off with Dorinda Clark-Cole performing her hit song “Take It Back” that got the crowd on their feet! The song also received an award for “Song of the year” to songwriter Derrick Starks. Sunday’s Best finalist, Jessica Reedy started things off with the jazzy rendition of “God Has Smiled On Me” that made her a Sunday Best favorite. The tribute finally starts with Donald Lawrence’s Company singers and these singers are absolutely phenomenal and put chills through everyone’s body the entire night. They started things off with “That’s What I Believe” followed by Sunday Best third runner up, Latice Crawford singing “I Call You Faithful”. Donnie McClurkin “sound alike” Micah Stampley sang “Speak To My Heart” and sounded amazing as Donnie began to get a little teary eyed. Just as Donnie thought that he was all cried out, his spiritual father and mentor, Marvin L. Winans sings “Stand” with a little help from younger brother, BeBe Winans. 3 Words….Crying, Sobbing, Weeping! After Yolanda Adams sings “We Fall Down”, Donnie is presented with the 2010 BMI Trailblazer Award. As he gives his speech, he honors Andrae Crouch and tells of a story when he was a litlle boy and he waited around for Andrae Crouch after a concert and Andrae prayed that the same anointing that was inside of him be transferred into young Donnie’s life. Next up, the tribute of all tributes begin as Donald Lawrence’s singers rips the crowd into pieces with their rendition of “The Blood”, “Take Me Back” , “Right Now”, “Soon and Very Soon” and “Quiet Times” . I hope that when GMC airs this that they do not edit “Quiet Times” because I simply cannot explain how those singers took that song to another level. WOW! But just when you thought things could not get better, in comes a woman I had never heard of named Tata Vega. Apparently she was the voice behind my favorite song from the movie “The Color Purple” entitled “God is Trying to Tell You Something”. Well this lady turned the place upside down and then the group had the nerve to start singing “Oh It Is Jesus”. By this time, the spirit of God was so heavy in the room that host- Yolanda Adams could not contain herself and the shouting fest began as a pregnant Erica Campbell (Mary Mary)and BeBe and CeCe began praising GOD on stage! Yolanda Adams felt led to pray for the entire room and during her prayer she said that “Without the blood, we are just actors”! Mary Mary now enters the stage and sings “We Are Not Ashamed” and you realize two things…first thing is Mary Mary can flat out SING and Andrae Crouch single handedly wrote the most amazing songs of the 20th century that most people still sing in Sunday morning worship today. The afternoon ends with Marvin Winans telling how Andrae Crouch founded the group “The Winans” and after hearing them sing “Are We Doing Your Will”, decided to sign the group to his label. The finale was impromptu and featured Bishop Paul Morton, Donnie McClurkin, Yolanda Adams, Karen Clark- Sheard, Byron Cage, BeBe and CeCe, Marvin Sapp, Kirk Frankin, Dorinda Clark- Cole, Shirley Caesar and J. Moss all singing numerous Andrae Crouch classics. Again, this is something that you have to see with your own two eyes because it simply cannot be transcended into words. A very emotional Andrae Crouch accepted his award and gave his testimony about how GOD delivered him from diabetes and led the “Congregation” in a few more musical selections such as: “Always Remember”, “To God Be The Glory” and “Through It All” with Donnie McClurkin on the keys and Shirley Caesar and Vanessa Bell singing background. In the midst of all of this glory, Kirk Franklin runs to the stage and asks all of the gospel artists in the building and beyond to join him that same night in the studio to record a song that he wrote for “911″ that he now wanted to do for the citizens of Haiti. All proceeds of the song will go to Haiti relief and the song that all of you have heard by now is “Is Anyone Listening” featuring Artists United.