Guest blogger Joimel shares experience at BMI Trailblazers Luncheon

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I’m so excited about today’s guest blogger! Her name is Joimel and she is a Praise & Worship artist at Grace Church in Humble, TX. She attended the 2011 BMI Luncheon for the first time with the always gracious Nicole Heyward of Creative Classic Agency.


“My First Time at BMI”–Joimel Jones (@Joimel)


For many years, I have heard of the BMI luncheon during the Stellar Awards weekend. This luncheon has so much buzz surrounding it that I’ve been aware of people solely coming in for the luncheon and leaving back out before the actual Stellar Awards Ceremony. Needless to say, I was excited to finally see what all the hype was about!

Once we (the fabulous Ms. Nicole Heyward and I) arrived at Rocketown, at least 6 car attendants greeted us with valet service. Careful to not trip up the stairs, the 1st familiar face I see is Mr. Brian Courtney Wilson.

As I consider him a part of my fellow Houstonian family, I immediately feel right at home after we greet each other with a hug. Nicole checks us in, gets our seating cards and we enter the main room to find our seats at Table 25.

We meet and greet others such as Lowell Pye, Sheri Jones-Moffett, and Y’anna Crawley to name a few. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by the genuine love that each of these industry greats displayed to a virtually unknown in the Gospel community!

Pastor Rudy Rasmus came in and chatted with us about his first red carpet experience there at BMI; he was conducting interviews for his SIRIUS Radio Show “The Love Revolution.” He’s another member of my Houstonian family so I was happy to see him as well.

As the room fills, so does the laughter, chatter, and love. Seated at our table were Mr. Wess Morgan, Bishop Hezekiah Walker, and Mr. Don Jackson of Central City Productions.

After many attempts to have the guests take their seats, lunch is served and the show begins! Ok, so lunch was some sort of chicken surprise but the green beans were great. The show starts with BeBe and CeCe Winans performing the hit “Close to You”. This song received the award for most performed Gospel Song from BMI.

This year’s BMI luncheon honored the achievements and contributions from the Trailblazers, Pastor Shirley Caesar and Commissioned.   Donnie McClurkin co-hosted the musical tribute to Pastor Caesar, which featured rousing musical performances by Arnetta Murrill, Ledisi, Lucinda Moore, Beverly Crawford, and Kim Burrell. Pastor Caesar graciously accepted her award and teased the audience as we waited for her to render at least one song from her extensive repertoire.

Several times throughout the day, I became quite emotional. I am the great niece of one the greats in Gospel Music, Mother Willie Mae Ford Smith. During the luncheon, I looked to my left and saw such legends as Andre Crouch, and Dr. Bobby Jones and immediately felt her presence in the room with me.

As I finally hold back a few tears, Houston’s own Kim Burrell anchors the homage to Commissioned. A commanding musical tribute was delivered by Dawkins & Dawkins, Men of Standard, Parkes Stewart and Deitrick Haddon, The Clark Sisters, Marvin Sapp, and The Soul Seekers.  Each one of the aforementioned not only give their musical tribute but their fond personal experiences with the group. It was amazing!

The original members of Commissioned (Fred Hammond, Mitchell Jones, Keith Staten, Karl Reid, Michael Brooks, and Michael Williams) and Marvin Sapp gathered on stage for the finale, marking the group’s first performance together in over a decade. They were greeted with a standing ovation by the audience of Gospel music’s premiere songwriters, producers, recording artists, executives, and legends.

As we left the building which is typically a Community Service Center, I felt a great sense of gratitude, inspiration to do more and was extremely excited about my performance the next day and the Stellar Awards show. I was honored to be in the room for the 2011 BMI Trailblazers Luncheon!

Pastor Rudy and Nicole Heyward


Thanks Joimel & Nicole for sharing your experience with 1800Gospel! It sounds like the luncheon was wonderful and full of love.

A little bit more about Joimel-she is working on her first EP and the first single is titled “In Spite of Me”. Read more about Joimel at Creative Classic Agency.

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