Belmont Church, Koinonia Bookstore & GMA Honored for Contribution to Nashville’s Music History

The Nashville Metropolitan Historical Commission, in association with the Nashville Metro Council, recently announced the creation of an historical marker at 1000 16th Avenue South to be unveiled on Thursday, July 25th, to honor decades of the impact of Belmont Church, Koinonia Coffeehouse and the Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) industry on the city of Nashville. Additionally, today the Metro Council will approve a resolution celebrating 50 years of the Gospel Music Association (GMA)’s Dove Awards; thanking the trade organization for collaborating with three major CCM record companies to fund the historical marker.

The Metro Council meeting began with an invocation led by Dove Award-winning quartet Point of Grace, followed by a reading of the resolution. The historical marker unveiling ceremony, to be attended by some of the original artists involved with Koinonia and Belmont, will take place on site at the corner of 16th Avenue South and Grand Avenue at 9:30a on Thursday, July 25th. This location is at the heart of what is known as Nashville’s famous Music Row. The event is free and open to the public. A concert of celebration featuring artists and songs from the era is set for Saturday, July 27th at the Koinonia Coffeehouse (1000 16th Avenue South) and will be open to the public on a first come basis until capacity.

“Gospel and Contemporary Christian Music have played a big, but sometimes unsung, role in Nashville’s creative evolution and in our being known worldwide as Music City,” Nashville Mayor David Briley said. “It’s fitting that we honor the impact these musicians, singers, songwriters, producers, engineers and others have had on listeners around the world.”

“I moved my CCM marketing agency to Nashville in 1986 because of the growing impact of this music and by the 1990’s, Contemporary Christian and Gospel Music was outselling jazz and classical according to the RIAA,” explains Councilmember Nancy VanReece (District 8) who spearheaded efforts for the marker and resolution. “Nashville has truly become the capital of this genre and I am pleased to have collaborated with Councilmember O’Connell to see the marker realized on Music Row…where it belongs.”

“Religious music has been integral to Nashville’s identity as “Music City,” from pioneering faith-based music publishing houses to the international impact of the Fisk Jubilee Singers,” adds Freddie O’Connell, Councilmember for District 19 where the marker is located. “Koinonia became a destination where young talent such as Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith—now multi-Grammy and Dove Award winners—shared their first songs.”

“The Gospel Music Association is thankful for our colleagues at Curb/Word, Capital Christian Music Group, and Provident Music Group for their financial support for the historical marker and dedication to serving our community in this way,” comments GMA President & Executive Director, Jackie Patillo. “We are also honored to receive the resolution from the Metro Council, on behalf of the CCM and Gospel industry based here, which honors the 50th year of the Dove Awards and we want to urge the community to consider attending the awards on October 15th at Lipscomb’s Allen Arena.”

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