Last week, I received my ballot to nominate individuals to be inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Association’s Hall Of Fame (SGMA HOF). At the bottom of this article, I have posted the SGMA’s criteria for selecting a SGMA HOF inductee.
It is important not to confuse the SGMA’s HOF with the Gospel Music Association’s Hall Of Fame (GMA HOF). Established in 1971, the GMA HOF honors all styles of gospel music and permits groups to be inducted as well as individuals.
The SGMA HOF, obviously, is limited to those who have impacted the Southern Gospel music industry, whether it be as a singer, a songwriter, or some other capacity. Only individuals, not groups, may be inducted. Established in 1997, the SGMA HOF now resides in a physical museum at the Dollywood theme part in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
The SGMA limits the number of individuals who can be nominated to four: two deceased and two living. I haven’t started narrowing down the deceased category yet, but I have given considerable thought to the living category.
I recently learned the GMA HOF will induct Karen Peck Gooch later this year along with black gospel’s The Staples Singers, CCM’s Carmen, and record producer Greg Nelson. GMA HOF voters took note of Gooch’s multiple Grammy Awards nominations, her steady stream of hit songs, and her supporting actress role in a major motion picture (2012’s Joyful Noise with Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah). SGMA HOF voters have not yet put Karen’s name forward, which means she will, oddly enough, reach the GMA HOF before she reaches the SGMA HOF.
I have I considered nominating Karen Peck Gooch this year. It’s rather embarrassing the GMA HOF voters got to her before the SGMA HOF voters.
The first person I seriously considered is Mark Trammell. He has longevity with multiple high-profile quartets, most recently as the owner of the group that bears his name.
I’ve also considered both William Lee Golden and Duane Allen. They have collectively taken Southern Gospel to a much larger audience. Golden is simply an American icon while Allen adds book author, songwriter, and producer credentials.
Aside from Bill Gaither himself, you won’t find ANY former Gaither Vocal Band members (Mark Lowry, Michael English, Guy Penrod, David Phelps, Jim Murray, etc.) in the SGMA Hall Of Fame. SGMA HOF voters probably don’t consider them “pure” Southern Gospel enough, even though their fame is undeniably greater than many who have already been inducted.
As you can see, I haven’t narrowed the Living category down to two yet, and I’m sure I’ll have just as difficult of a time determining who to nominate in the Deceased category.
I’m sorry to admit I failed to keep my SGMA membership active for several years. If you have allowed your SGMA membership to lapse as I did, or if you’ve never been a member, click HERE to join.
Keep in mind that ballots must be postmarked by March 16, plus the SGMA staff needs time to process your membership. If you want to get in on 2018 voting, you should act right now.
Meanwhile, please leave your thoughts as a comment under this article. I’m certainly open to suggestions on who I should consider.
Below is the SGMA criteria, as promised.