GMA Music in the Rockies Wrap Up

The Gospel Music Association’s (GMA) 31st Annual Music in the Rockies seminar and talent competition wrapped up earlier this month with a female quartet from Washington receiving the event’s highest honors.

Sisters Erica, Krista, Tasha, and Tamara, collectively known by their last name Witherspoon, took home the coveted Spotlight 2005 Overall Grand Prize award. The sisters also garnered a first place win in the Urban Gospel category, a second place finish in the Vocal Group Spotlight category, as well as “Disney’s Night of Joy Best of Show Award,” which gives Witherspoon an opportunity to perform at Night of Joy at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Fla., in September.

Other key winners included southern California-based band Shachah (which means “worship” in Hebrew) who won the Spotlight Band 2005 Grand Prize, Daniel Yarbrough, a drummer from Oklahoma, who won the Spotlight Instrumental 2005 Grand Prize, and Colorado’s Megan Isaacson who’s "My Worship" was named Song of 2005 and also claimed first place in the Praise & Worship/Choral Song category. Cindy Johnson of Winston-Salem, N.C., was the winner of Compassion International’s “Music & Ministry Experience” award, giving Johnson the opportunity to travel on an all-expense paid ministry trip with an established Christian artist to a Compassion International destination.

Each Grand Prize winner garnered a performance slot on the main stage on closing night of the Music in the Rockies concert series as well as a prize package that included musical equipment, free studio time and professional performance consultation.

"There was a lot of excitement generated at this year’s event, with many key industry tastemakers talking about the impressive level of talent that entered in the Spotlight and Song competitions,” said John W. Styll, president of GMA. “I suspect a few of these young artists will find their way to development and songwriting deals before too long. Perhaps some of them will experience great careers in Christian music because of this experience.”

Beginning in 1974, GMA Music in the Rockies is Gospel music’s longest running talent competition. The event, which is held at the Mountain Resort of Estes Park in Colorado, has been the starting point for such artists as Jars of Clay, Nichole Nordeman, Stacie Orrico, BarlowGirl, Matthew West, and Rachael Lampa.

A complete list of the event’s winners is as follows:

Spotlight 2005 Overall Grand Prize Winner
Witherspoon
(Erica, Krista, Tasha and Tamara Witherspoon)
Federal Way, WA

Song Of 2005 Grand Prize Winner
“My Worship”
Megan Isaacson
Westminster, CO

Spotlight Band 2005 Overall Grand Prize Winner
Shachah (pronounced sha-KAH)
(Earl Mergelsberg, Brenden McPeek, Jesse Morales, Joshua Wagner and Bryan Whitley)
Costa Mesa, CA

Spotlight Instrumental 2005 Overall Grand Prize Winner
Daniel Yarbrough - drums
Owasso, OK

Contemporary Christian Vocal (Adult Contemporary/Inspirational/Pop/Rock)
(3 Winners Chosen From Different Age Groups)
Nate Huss
Scottsdale, AZ

Morgan Guin
Burleson, TX

Mary Witherspoon
Niagra Falls, NY

Vocal Group
John & Debbie (John and Debbie Boller)
Cedar Rapids, IA

Southern Gospel Vocal
Morgann McClanahan
Mavisdale, VA

Urban Gospel Vocal
Witherspoon
Federal Way, WA

Band Vocal
Shachah
Costa Mesa, CA

Urban/Gospel/Hip-Hop Song
“I’m Good”
Tamara Witherspoon, Krista Witherspoon
Federal Way, WA

Southern Gospel/Country Song
“King James Version 401K Plan”
Greely Baggett, Jr.
Moore, OK

Praise & Worship/Choral Song
“My Worship”
Megan Isaacson
Westminster, CO

Pop Adult Contemporary/Inspirational Song
“Jesus Reigns”
Susan Gray
Houston, TX

Pop-Rock/Alternative Song
“Healing Sound”
Hector Reyes Miller and Wilfredo Reyes Miller
Bayamon, Puerto Rico

Disney’s Night Of Joy Best Of Show Award
Witherspoon
Federal Way, WA

Compassion International’s Music & Ministry Experience
Cindy Johnson
Winston-Salem, NC

For more information, log onto www.gospelmusic.org.