By Jim Bailey
For The Herald Bulletin
---- — It may have been the most honored lineup of talent ever assembled at Anderson’s Reardon Auditorium earlier this month.
The cast of Good News Radio’s annual video shoot, “Victory in Jesus: A Live Concert and Video Production,” assembled by Alexandria’s Woody Wright and Hearts of Love Ministry’s Scott Kramer, included heralded country singer-songwriter Larry Gatlin, who holds a Grammy Award for his song, “Broken Lady.” Then there was Russ Taff, who has won no fewer than five Grammys. The Nelons were nominated for nine SGN Scoops Diamond Awards and recently brought home a People’s Choice Telly Award for their song video, “Excuse Me, Are You Jesus?” Tanya Goodman Sykes, daughter of the late Rusty Goodman, is a Grammy winner. So is Willie Wynn, a member of the original Oak Ridge Boys, along with a Dove Award and honored as a “Living Legend” at the Grand Ole Gospel Reunion.
Singer-songwriter-producer Michael Sykes holds more than a dozen Dove Awards and has had multiple Grammy nominations. Buddy Greene wrote the music to “Mary, Did You Know?,” which has become a Christmas standard. Reggie and Ladye Love Smith, a frequent duo at Gaither Homecoming concerts, are even better known as Nashville backup singers, having appeared with Patty LaBelle, Dolly Parton, George Jones, Lee Greenwood Brenda Lee, Ricky Skaggs, Steven Curtis Chapman, Sandi Patty and many others.
Rounding out the lineup were Woody and Vonnie Wright, Ponder Sykes & Wright, Rachel West Kramer, 16-year-old Maria Kramer and Jairo Arvizu.
Commenting on the array of awards racked up by the musicians on the Reardon Auditorium stage, Wright quipped, “I was officially notified last week that one of my albums was certified plywood.”
Good News Radio is on more than 200 stations across the country as well as in other countries. “Scott (Kramer) had worked with some of my friends in Nashville,” Wright explained. “He needed a host for the radio program, so he gave me a call. I was always enamored with radio anyway, and in my later years the Lord has opened doors for me.”
Gatlin’s appearance at the concert was the headliner. “We have had Larry on the (radio) program,” Wright commented. “He was my hero, and I asked him if he could be on the concert. I was thrilled he was able to participate.”
As Greene on harmonica and Jeff Taylor on accordion pumped out a gypsy tune, Gatlin exercised a bit of creativity by writing out a set of appropriate lyrics.
The reunion of David Ponder, Michael Sykes & Woody Wright came 14 years after the last time the group sang together. In the interim Ponder underwent four heart bypasses at age 39.
Wright brought it all together for the enthusiastic crowd by noting that each of the 66 books of the Bible can be summed up in three words: “I love you.” If limited to two words, he said, it would be “I’m sorry.”
Jim Bailey’s column appears on Thursday. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.