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Bestor, Bailey among Pearl Award winners

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Pearl Awards, Thursday evening, July 27, McKay Center, Utah Valley State College, Orem.

Crawford Gates, honored for a lifetime of achievement with his music, perhaps said it best: to do something that has meaning in the lives of other people adds meaning to your own life.

It was a sentiment expressed over and over on a night when faith was celebrated, accomplishment honored and music valued as the 3rd annual Pearl Awards were presented by the Faith Centered Music Association.

Hilary Weeks and Jenny Oaks Baker were the night's big winners, each carrying off three awards. Thurl Bailey — or "the tall one," as he was dubbed by presenter Jerold Ottley — was right behind with two Pearls.

But for the rest, the evening showcased the diversity and scope of music built around faith — from instrumental to inspirational to contemporary.

Faith-centered music is more popular than ever, said Bailey, who released his first-ever CD last year and noted that he feels like an NBA rookie all over again. Society needs this kind of music, he said. "We're to the point where it seems we like to focus on the negative. We need the positive influences of this kind of music to help us look forward, to help us teach our children."

A second special award, the Rich Gibbons Humanitarian Award, went to Kurt Bestor. This award is given to an artist who has reached beyond music to serve the community, and Bestor was cited in particular for work with public schools and countless groups that benefit children.

Bestor paid tribute to his two daughters, born with spina bifida, who, he said, lead and guide him, and noted how deeply touched he felt to be so honored by his peers. But, he said, that's what this kind of music is all about. "We hope it lifts others. We're not doing this just to buy ourselves boats."

The show, hosted by Bailey and Eric Snider, was taped for broadcast on KJZZ-TV, scheduled for Aug. 20.

"I'm just wowed by all the quality entertainment out there," said vocalist Kenneth Cope, "and impressed with the way it celebrates the beliefs and value system of our culture."

Recipients of the 2000 Pearl Awards are:

Inspirational song: "Mercy's Arms," performed by Gladys Knight; written by Julie de Azevedo.

Sacred song: "Jesus Once Was A Little Child," performed by Jenny Oaks Baker; arranged by Greg Hansen.

Contemporary song: "All The While," performed by Thurl Bailey; written by Bailey and James Marsden.

Instrumental song: "Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel," performed by Festival Brass & Winds; arranged by Larry Bastian.

Theme or concept album: "Let Us Adore Him"; the Gibbons Family.

Contemporary album: "Dive Deep"; Julie de Azevedo.

Instrumental album: "Songs My Mother Taught Me"; Jenny Oaks Baker.

Musical presentation or soundtrack album: "American Prophet"; Merrill Jenson and Sam Cardon.

Sacred album: "All Creatures of Our God and King"; BYU Men's Chorus with Mack Wilberg.

Inspirational album: "Lead Me Home"; Hilary Weeks.

Group of the year: Ryan Shupe & the Rubber Band.

Male vocalist of the year: Kenneth Cope.

Producer of the year: Sam Cardon.

Songwriter of the year: Hilary Weeks.

Female vocalist of the year: Hilary Weeks.

Instrumentalist of the year: Jenny Oaks Baker.

New artist of the year: Thurl Bailey.

Performing artist of the year: Peter Breinholt.

And in a pre-show ceremony, awards were given to:

  • Arranger: Mack Wilberg.

Studio vocalist: Jenny Jordan Frogley.

Studio musician: Michael Dowdle.

Engineer: Barry Gibbons.

Album design: Gillett & Company for Dive Deep

Radio show: Doug Wright, KSL

Record label: Excel Entertainment Group.

E-MAIL: carma@desnews.com