The Statler Brothers, one of the most award-winning groups in music history, will receive the 2011 James D. Vaughan Impact Award on Sept. 28 during a special ceremony at Dollywood at the Southern Gospel Music Association’s (SGMA) annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Singing News Fan Awards.
“We are honored to be offered the James D. Vaughan Impact Award,” the Statler Brothers said. “The SGMA has done a wonderful job of preserving Southern gospel for the ages, and we’re proud to be a part of the family. There still is nothing more inspiring, exciting and fulfilling than a Southern gospel concert with high tenors and low basses with arrangements that make your heartstrings stand on end.”
Group members Harold Reid, Phil Balsley, Jimmy Fortune and Don Reid will attend to accept the award which is named in honor of James D. Vaughan, a Southern gospel music pioneer and one of the genre’s founders. Past recipients include Bill Gaither, James Blackwood, Les Beasley, Bob Brumley, Mosie Lister, Paul Heil, Eva Mae LeFevre, J.G. Whitfield, Lari Goss, Barbara Mandrell and Dolly Parton.
“Not only are their roots firmly planted in Southern gospel music, the Statler Brothers’ incredible career carried Southern gospel to millions of country music fans and beyond,” said Charlie Waller, SGMA executive director. “Their rich musical legacy makes us proud to honor them with the James D. Vaughan Impact Award.”
The Statler Brothers, founded in 1955 in Staunton, Va., began performing in local churches with founding members Don Reid, lead; Harold Reid, bass; Balsley, baritone; and Lew DeWitt, tenor. Fortune became the group’s tenor singer in the early 1980s, replacing DeWitt who died in 1990. The Statler Brothers appeared regularly on ABC’s “The Johnny Cash Show” early in their career. They hosted “The Statler Brothers Show” their own weekly and top-rated variety show on The Nashville Network from 1991 to 1998. With more than 40 albums, the Statler Brothers were honored with three Grammy® Awards, nine Country Music Association Awards for Vocal Group of the Year, and two Academy of Country Music Awards. The Statler Brothers were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008. The group’s career spanned six decades until the Statler Brothers officially retired in October 2002.
The SGMA Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony/Singing News Fan Awards is Sept. 28 at DP’s Celebrity Theatre at Dollywood, home of the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame. Seating is reserved, and tickets are $75 ($55 for Dollywood season passholders) and include one-day Dollywood admission, parking and lunch as well as Dollywood’s more than 40 rides, shows and attractions. Tickets must be purchased in advance by calling the SGMA office at (865) 908-4040.
The SGMA is a non-profit organization that maintains the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame, the only facility honoring Southern gospel music and dedicated to the historic preservation of the genre’s accomplishments, both for the music and the people. Museum hours coincide with Dollywood’s operating schedule. Donations are tax-deductible. For more information about the museum or its inductees, visit www.sgma.org.