LOS ANGELES, Calif. (EP) - In a Grammy Awards ceremony that featured baby-boomer artists including Steely Dan and Elton John, awards in the gospel categories also honored artists with many years in the business.
Petra, one of the pioneering Christian rock groups, took home a Grammy for "best rock gospel album" for their album Double Take.
The "best pop/contemporary gospel album" Grammy went to Jars of Clay for If I Left the Zoo. It was the second Grammy for the multi-platinum-selling band. "We are honored, among all the talent nominated for the award, to have won the Grammy," said band member Stephen Mason. "I hope that we can take away some of the apathy that has taken control of modern music and help others make positive choices in life. We continue to be inspired by the messages of truth. We dedicate this award to Cassie Bernall and all those standing up for truth." (Bernall is a teen who was killed in the Columbine massacre, reportedly after standing up for her Christian faith.)
Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder won the Grammy for "best southern, country or bluegrass gospel album" for Soldier of the Cross.
Gospel great Shirley Caesar's You Can Make It was honored with a Grammy in the "best traditional soul gospel album" category.
Youth was served as well, with newcomers Mary Mary winning the "best contemporary soul gospel album" Grammy for their album Thankful.
The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, no stranger to awards, won the "best gospel choir or chorus album" Grammy for Life: God is Working. It was their fourth Grammy Award. The 275-member choir includes people from various walks of life, including doctors, lawyers, housewives, models and construction workers. Some commute to Brooklyn from as far as Connecticut and New Jersey. Because few members are trained musicians, many learn by sound and memory. "For us, it's not performing," said choir member Maritza Cruz, who is an OB-YGYN "It's not necessarily entertaining. It's really a ministry and leading people into worship and praise. And doing it for the Lord."
An evangelical recording company based in Germany earned a "best choral performance" Grammy for releasing Penderecki: Credo, performed by Helmuth Rilling with the Oregon Bach Festival Choir and Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra. Haenssler publishers, located in Holzgerlingen near Stuttgart, is known for recordings of church music, especially Bach. The publishing house also produces Christian literature. Senior CEO is Friedrich Haenssler, 73, who has also held leadership positions in more than 30 evangelical organizations.
In a new category, the "best Native American music album" Grammy went to the album Gathering of Nations Pow Wow, featuring various artists. Accepting the award, one of the producers gave thanks to "the greatest warrior of all, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."