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Chicago's Gospel community recognizes peers at 1st Chicago Gospel Music Awards

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An overwhelming crowd showed up to the first Chicago Gospel Music Awards (CGMA) decked to the nines. Co-founders, husband and wife team, Skip and Barbara Barrett pulled out all stops to showcase Chicago's own talent. For many years, it seemed as if Chicago artists would relocate to other states and then finally become recognized for their gifts that they cultivated in their hometown. Well, the time has come and has been long overdue for Chicago to stand up and shine the spotlight on our own.

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Chicago has been known as the home of Gospel music and the place to find talented choirs. The Thompson Community Singers, better known as the "Tommies", founded by a prominent Chicago pastor, Milton Brunson, in 1948 at McKinley High School. Serving through song for over 50 years, winning a Grammy in 1995 and even having a post office named in Brunson's honor. We have a rich history in Chicago of great Gospel music. The legendary Barrett Sisters, with two original members still living, were honored with an award celebrating their commitment to traditional Gospel music and being an example of longevity in an industry where nowadays many come and go.

In today's Gospel music industry we have notable and multi-award winning artists such as Donald Lawrence, Pastor Charles Jenkins & Fellowship, Ms. Anita Wilson, vocal phenomenon Jonathan McReynolds, who has accomplished more in his 24 years than most will in a lifetime and there are so many others that space will not allow to mention, but are worthy of all accolades and recognition. These among others received an award to denote their amazing ministry. For a complete list of recipients visit Chicago Gospel Music Awards' website.

For those who were nominated this year and did not receive an award, it does not mean that you are any less talented and deserving. Continue to hone your skills and seek God. Believing in yourself and keeping the faith is key to accomplishing your dreams. As you put in the ground work necessary to establish your ministry, making your foundation stable in the industry, and maintaining your integrity, there's only a matter of time before your name will be known and you're one of Gospel music's influential voices.