Hello America! With 2013 behind us, the high
points and anecdotes are remembered with a big smile and a laugh or
two. And as many Gospel
organizations drew to a close, they were holding their annual awards
shows and banquets, in which the Waymasters played a big part. Some
of these awards are voted on by the fans, others by fellow members,
but all recognize the achievements of Gospel artists. One such
organization is the United States Association of Gospel Entertainers
and Musicians or USAGEM.
USAGEM Awards Show and Banquet was held on November 16 in Nashville,
TN. As 2013 was a wonderful year for us, we were asked to perform at
the show, as well as present one of the awards. Now, we don’t know
how many of you have ever had the opportunity to present an award at
a function like this, but it’s not like you might imagine.
First of all, it’s happening on a schedule in front of a
live audience while being filmed for airing on RFDTV and certain
other Gospel cable channels at a later date. This means everything
needs to run smoothly with little or no hiccups. A wonderful concept
except it never applies in our case (see our previous article,
“Timing is Everything”).
were to present the Black Gospel Crown Jewel Award.
As you see on TV, when it was time for us to do this, we were
introduced and happily made our way across the stage and to the
podium to make our presentation.
As would be expected by anyone who knows us, we weren’t
even able to execute that without looking like the Marx Brothers
late for a card game. Standing at the podium, Tim, the shortest
member of the band, stood behind Tommy and was virtually invisible
to the audience. As Tommy explained the award, things seemed to be
going as planned. Darrell then introduced the list of nominees for
the award and again, things went well. Finally, it was time for the
moment of truth: Darrell turns to the crowd and with a confident
smile announces, “And the winner is…” The band looks at Chewie
who was to announce the winner and he simply looks back. As everyone
spun and twisted in a panic, looking at each other to see who had
the envelope, it quickly became apparent that no one did. Oh
no…now what? In our heads all we could hear was crickets.
Deafening silence with an auditorium of people staring at us for
what seemed like minutes rather than the actual second or two that
quickly took turns cracking one-liners and hoping against hope that
someone from backstage would appear with the missing envelope and
consequently end the slow, thereby sinking the panic that we now had
found ourselves in. How
could things go south so fast?
We were almost home. All we had to do was open the envelope
and announce the winner. How
hard could that possibly be? But no-o-o-o, this is the Waymasters.
do we ever do anything normal or without episode?
was just another example of life on the “W” team.
Then, as if by magic, the lovely young woman who had been
bringing out the awards all night suddenly appeared and handed
Darrell the now fabled, elusive envelope.
Darrell quickly opened the envelope and with a silent sigh of
relief, once again proclaimed “And the winner is…” and handed
the envelope to Chewie. As if a switch had been flipped, again the
dreaded quiet overtook the stage.
Chewie stood, staring at the card in complete silence.
Tommy leaned over and snapped him back to life while Darrell
once again set the stage for the winner with a, “Tell us who it is
Chewbacca!” Chewie clearly and loudly read off the winner as if he had
been doing it all night, and the drama was finally over . . . . or
so we thought.
winner of the award, Dewitt Johnson, was suddenly MIA.
The crowd was clapping and the music was playing but there
was no Dewitt. We had just seen and spoken with him backstage, so we
knew he was there, but the longer we stood there, the longer we
stood there by ourselves. One
of his close friends came up to accept the award for him and as he
was telling everyone how much Dewitt appreciates the honor, Dewitt
walks up from backstage.
did go home with his award, and we did finally get off that stage,
but we would be willing to wager that the organizers of the awards
show will think twice before they ask the three-ring circus that
seems to follow the Waymasters around, to present another award!
next month, be blessed!