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Gospel music producer/promoter among 2008 SGMA Hall of Fame inductees

Gospel music producer/promoter among 2008 SGMA Hall of Fame inductees

Posted: Thursday, November 20, 2008 10:41 pm

Gospel music producer and promoter Polly Grimes of Redondo Beach, Calif. was inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame at Dollywood recently in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Grimes brought pioneered the efforts to bring Southern gospel artists to California. Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame member Les Beasley of the Florida Boys inducted his long time friend. “I am so proud to have you here,” she told Beasley. “You (gospel music fans and performers) are the people that have been a part of my family. She thanked her family for their support. “Most of all I want to thank God, for He is the one who gives the “song” that has touches the hearts and lives of countless people around the world,” she said. The Triumphant Quartet sang one of her favorite songs: “O’ What a Savior.” Grimes was the first to introduce gospel music in major venues on the West Coast, and the first business woman to promote gospel music, said Charlie Waller, executive director. “Polly Grimes pioneered gospel music productions in the Western United States, major entertainment capitals and internationally, beginning in 1960,” he said. Originally from Oklahoma, she moved to California at an early age where she majored in music and business, sang as a soloist and with her family quartet, and served as a choir director, he said. “She knew early in life that she wanted to make a difference in the world and believed that God had a calling and destiny for her that involved gospel music,” he said. Her professional entrance into the music world was in the secular world where she organized a trio who performed with various pop artists; one of their songs surfaced on the regional secular music charts, he said. She was involved in the promotion of a number of major hits including, “Young Love,” he said. However, gospel music continued to be her true calling; consequently, at the appropriate time, she adapted her knowledge and personal experience to the Christian world and started a promotion and production company — Gospel Concerts, he said. “Her first gospel concert was at the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium in 1960, featuring the Blackwood Brothers and Statesmen,” he said. “She then expanded the concerts in 17 states and internationally. “ Grimes said introducing gospel music was challenging in California. “As people were more secularly inclined than in most parts of the country, and many churches were uncomfortable with the idea of religious music packaged and presented as professional entertainment, we had to define what the music was, get people excited about it, and at the same time cut through misconceptions,” she said. “However, my vision was so focused I did not take time to dwell on any possible obstacles. This was a time of forging new frontiers and of high enthusiasm; the driving force, was knowing that I was helping to create something new that could bring people both joy and the light of God’s Word.” She has also presented gospel music at some of the most prestigious auditoriums in Israel, as well as having produced a number of gospel music videos from the Holy Land. She was first to present a gospel music cruise. “It has been a rewarding journey,” she said. The other 2008 SGMA class of inductees are Ray Dean Reese, the late Fred Daniel, Squire Parsons, the late Herschel Lester, and the late Luther G. Presley. Producer and musician Lari Goss was presented the James D. Vaughn Impact Award. The Southern Gospel Music Association is a non-profit organization that maintains the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame, the only facility honoring this genre of music, for the historic preservation of the accomplishments of the music and its people. Museum hours match those of Dollywood. Donations are tax-deductible. Individuals and businesses may donate to assist with honoring inductees with special bronze plaques that are displayed in the Hall of Fame. For more information about the museum or its inductees, visit www.sgma.org. Posted 11.20.08

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