Acclaimed artists Smokie Norful, Point of Grace, and Dennis Jernigan have been selected for induction in the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. The inductees will be honored for their lifetime achievements in music during an annual induction ceremony taking place on July 28 in Muskogee, Okla.
According to NewsOK, the class of 2018 will be honored in the first-ever genre-specific induction in the history of the organization, referring to new Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame executive director Jermaine Mondaine.
"Part of my reasoning and/or thinking as new director is I wanted to try some different things, so we wanted to try genre-specific," Mondaine explains. "That's not to say that that's something that we're going to be doing going forward. It's something that we wanted to do with this induction in particular. In times past whenever we had inductions and we had Christian artists, it could get a little weird... inducting a Christian artist with a secular artist."
Smokie Norful is a Grammy-winning gospel artist and pastor currently based in Chicago but born and raised in Muskogee. He is a multiple RIAA certified platinum-selling artist and was named Billboard's Gospel Artist of the year in 2003 and 2004.
Contemporary Christian vocal group Point of Grace has sold more than eight million recordings and last year celebrated their 25thanniversary. The group is currently made up of original members Denise Jones and Shelley Breen, as well as Leigh Cappillino, and has earned three Grammy nominations and won multiple Dove Awards.
Oklahoma-native and contemporary Christian singer-songwriter Dennis Jernigan has released more than 20 full-length albums, and has penned numerous songs sung in churches and at worship gatherings worldwide, including "You Are My All In All," "Thank You," "Who Can Satisfy My Soul (There Is A Fountain)," "I Belong To Jesus," "We Will Worship The Lamb Of Glory," and many more.
All three honorees are expected to perform at the induction ceremony, taking place at 6 p.m. on July 28 at the Muskogee Civic Center, in Muskogee, Okla., only blocks from where the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame is located. Tickets to the concert are $25 and are available at EventBrite.com or by calling 918-687-0800.
The induction concert is set for the second day of the two-day Gospel Fest (July 27-28), which is part of a summer concert series the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame launched this year, beginning with Latin Fest in May and followed by Soul Fest in June.
Mondaine admits that gospel and Christian music has been underrepresented in previous years, "We're in the Bible Belt, and one of the genres that we have done a not-so-good job of covering, which is prominent around here, is gospel or Christian music. So, we decided to do a Gospel Fest."
The Gospel Fest will start with free family-friendly festivities, including waterslides, food vendors, and live music, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on July 27 outside the Muskogee Civic Center.