Bev McCann

MGM

Creekside Gospel Music Convention

Beckie Simmons is Living a Life-long Dream

Written by Staff on November 13, 2017 – 4:30 pm -

Beckie Simmons and Glen Bates, a dynamic duo in Gospel Music.

Beckie Simmons and Glen Bates, a dynamic duo in Gospel Music.

In Southern Gospel Music, there are some iconic female vocalists, including Mom Speer, Vestal Goodman and Lily Fern Weatherford to name a few. However, the behind-the-scenes list of female executives is sparse. Lou Hildreth and Faye Shedd have been involved in Gospel Music as agents and promoters. However, no lady has impacted Southern Gospel Music the way Beckie Simmons has to date. Her love affair with Gospel Music is heartfelt and genuine, and it started at a young age.

Simmons was active in the church where her dad and brother pastored.

“We all played instruments, sang and were very involved in the church full-time, with not only a church, but a daycare center, a printing shop, a radio program and a television show,” Simmons says. “I worked full time for the church and even taught piano lessons at the church.”

Simmons recalls the first concert she attended.

“I was featured on a local 30-minute organ show on the Southern Gospel station in our area, and one day the station manager called and asked if I would play the Hammond Organ 30 minutes prior to a Gospel concert the following week,” Simmons remembers. “I said yes. That concert featured the Rambos, the Oak Ridge Boys, J.D. Sumner and the Stamps, and the Downings. That concert I went to was promoted by Sonny Simmons. I was hooked and just fell in love with the music.”

Sonny was from Columbus, Ohio, while Beckie hailed from Louisville, Ky. In time, Sonny and Beckie became what many would call the major power couple in the music business. They moved to Nashville for their concert promotions business, Masters Promotions. They set up shop in a borrowed, one-room office.

As the business grew, Masters Promotions evolved into a full promotions company and eventually a booking agency.

“It didn’t start out that way, but artist bookings grew out of the concert promotions,” Simmons explains. “It just happened.”

Eventually, a new name was chosen, and Century II Promotions became one of the premier companies booking Southern Gospel Music in the evolution and expansion years of Gospel Music. They relocated their office to Nashville’s famed Music Row. The Simmons were in the thick of things in the music world. Their agency expanded its talent roster to include all types of musical and entertainment artists. In doing so, the Simmons worked with some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry.

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