Renowned champion of Christian songwriters and developer of emerging talent across the country, Cindy Wilt Colville, passed away on Thursday, July 10th. She was 58. Cindy was diagnosed with advanced adenocarcinoma (lung cancer) in October and while she had been in failing health for a number of months, she was cared for and surrounded by her husband, mother, extended family and countless friends.
Cindy Lea Wilt was born in Lincoln, Maine to the late Rev. Dr. Lloyd Wilt and Lois Wilt, who survives her. She graduated from the music school at Houghton College and went to New York City to do urban ministry, where she met her future husband, Bruce Colville, whom she married (a couple of decades later).
In 1985, Cindy Wilt moved to Nashville to become a singer/songwriter but reality and fate quickly intervened. She landed a receptionist job at Lorenz Creative Services. From her receptionist desk, she moved to production manager for Greg Nelson who was producing records for Sandi Patty, Larnelle Harris, Steve Green and many other artists. She would work on the first four albums by Steven Curtis Chapman.
In 1993, she was recruited to run Benson Music Publishing and five years later she began a nine-year run as Vice President of Word Music Publishing.
Cindy has long been associated with the songwriting and performance career of Matthew West. She met him when he was nineteen, created a songwriting internship for him, and later signed him to his first publishing contract. In addition to Mattew West, Cindy Wilt signed Joel Lindsey, Jason Ingram, Clint Lagerberg, Pete Kipley, Jason Walker, and many more to their first publishing deals. She also worked extensively with Sue Smith, Cindy Morgan, Tony Wood, Sam Mizell, Ross King and many others.
After a brief foray into artist management, Cindy started her own music publishing and songwriting development company, CWC Creative Music, signing two writers—Kip Fox and Rachel Barrentine. In the last six years, she has taught and developed hundreds of early-career songwriters, traveled and led workshops across the country, become a fixture with the Christian Musician Summit’s Songwriting Boot Camp, was a proud board member of the Gospel Music Association and coordinator of the song track for the Immerse Training Conference. Cindy also led her own intensive songwriting retreat near Nashville. Starting in 2009, Cindy Wilt Colville organized and facilitated the ASCAP Foundation’s Christian Songwriters Workshop, which continues.
Additionally, for fifteen years, every Sunday night, Cindy ministered to and loved “her girls” at Tennessee Prison for Women. As far as she was concerned, it was the best thing she ever did.
ASCAP has announced its intention to extend their Songwriter GPS Program in the Christian market as a memorial to Cindy Wilt Colville’s work and legacy.
Her husband asks, in lieu of flowers, that memorial gifts and donations be made in her name to Church of the Redeemer (Anglican): 921 Caldwell Lane, Nashville, TN 37204.
A funeral service will be given by Church of the Redeemer on Wednesday, July 16 at 10:00 a.m. The service, with a reception to follow, will take place at Grace Community Church: 5711 Granny White Pike, Brentwood, TN 37027. All are welcome.
Besides her husband and mother, Cindy Wilt Colville is survived by two brothers, Kendall and Timothy (Rukabuza) Wilt, loving in-laws, three nephews, eight nieces, many cousins and the friendship of everyone in the Christian music business.