Nat'l Gospel Music Heritage Month Returns for 2nd Year

Starting Tuesday, people around the nation will be celebrating Gospel Music Heritage Month for the second straight year to recognize the music genre for its valuable and long-standing contributions to American culture.

"Gospel Music Heritage Month honors a true American art form for its vast contributions to our culture, bringing a message of hope and inspiration to people of all racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds," explained Gospel Music Channel, which last summer launched the "Gospel Music Heritage Month" initiative together with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Sen. Blanche L. Lincoln (D-Ark.), Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), and The Recording Academy.

This year, GMC once against joined with senators and congressmen to create the initiative, which resulted in legislation passed both by the House and the Senate designating September 2009 as "Gospel Music Heritage Month."

Throughout the month, sponsors of the initiative – including the Gospel Music Association, the Gospel Music Workshop of America, and The Stellar Awards – are encouraging Americans to attend concerts and events, watch and listen to gospel music, and learn and read about gospel music, among other activities.

GMC, which touts itself as the fastest-growing network in television, will be featuring the greatest names in gospel music on-air, online and on-demand with world television and network premieres, documentaries, concerts, original specials and series, interstitial pieces, music videos and more.

GMC gospel singers will also be singing the National Anthem and a PSA will run on the jumbotron at professional sporting events around the country, including Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, San Diego Chargers, NY Red Bulls/Giants Stadium and WNBA games.

"Gospel music is an important American legacy and continues to play a significant role of the lives of millions. It is appropriate to honor the countless contributions Gospel music has made to our society," commented Sen. Leahy after the first "Gospel Music Heritage Month" initiative was launched.

"By surpassing culturally constructed boundaries, gospel music has emerged as the musical thread uniting the fabric of America and is more popular than ever," added Rep. Bono Mack. "It is important that we recognize and celebrate the vital role that gospel music and all its many styles have played in shaping music history."

GMC, which is again leading "Gospel Music Heritage Month" celebrations, currently reaches 45 million homes on various cable and satellite systems around the country.

By the end of 2009, the network is expected to reach 47.1 million homes.