Worship students serve their musical heroes during the Dove Awards

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Moving from stage to curtain, 16 cult majors from Cedarville will volunteer at the 52nd Annual Dove Awards on October 19.

For the past four years, the Department of Worship at Cedarville University has volunteered for the Gospel Music Association’s annual Dove Awards, held in Nashville, Tennessee, to honor achievements in Christian music. Students participating in the Major in Praise at Cedarville have the opportunity to volunteer for the trip led by Associate Professor of Praise, Dr. Roger O’Neel.

“The relationship between the University of Cedarville and the Gospel Music Association has been mutually beneficial,” said O’Neel. “Our students are respectful, professional and conscientious servants. They get to experience a massive event behind the scenes, attend dress rehearsals, and understand how a big event like the Dove Awards works.

Students are often tasked with meeting artists and performers on the red carpet and accompanying them throughout the event, from locker rooms to press conferences.

“We had a student in the past assigned to help Chris Tomlin. After winning an award, they took him to the press room. Unbeknownst to them, he was in the running for another award, so they had to interrupt the interview and take him on stage so he could accept his award, ”recalls O’Neel. “This opportunity is stressful but also so much fun.”

Alexis Williams, a cult major from Dallas, Texas, attended the 2019 Dove Awards in her freshman year and is returning this year to work in the press room.

“I remember playing the Gaither Vocal Band and my jaw was on the ground. Bethel Music was there, as well as Hillsong and all these artists who have been a huge influence for me, ”Williams said. “We’re here to serve so you have to try to be professional, but it’s a crazy experience to meet your heroes in the hallway.”

At the 2019 Dove Awards, Williams was assigned to Brown Bannister, director of the Lipscomb University School of Music and Christian music producer with 25 Dove Awards and 14 Grammy Awards.

“He was relaxed, sweet and genuine,” said Williams. “Some artists have managers or assistants, but he gave me his personal phone number and told me to call if I ever needed anything!

The opportunity for students to serve alongside big names in contemporary Christian music is invaluable.

“As worship majors, execution is your ministry,” Williams said. “We are able to serve these artists in their national ministry while seeing the event in a different light, behind the scenes. It really is a service opportunity.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,715 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 150 fields of study. ‘studies. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of Ohio’s largest private universities, nationally recognized for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including the Bachelor of Arts in Worship and the Master of Arts in worship and theology, a strong degree and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and a high ranking of student engagement. For more information about the University, visit cedarville.edu.


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