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Students perform a worship set during Cedarville University chapel service

Worship majors volunteer at 2017 GMA Dove Awards

by Natalia Kirychuk, Public Relations Writer

Nine Cedarville University worship students will volunteer Tuesday, Oct. 17, at the 48th Annual Gospel Music Association (GMA) Dove Awards ceremony at Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena in Nashville.

The GMA Dove Awards started in 1970 to honor the very best of Christian music. The show celebrates musical diversity, presenting awards to artists representing modern rock, rap, hip-hop, pop, worship, southern gospel, urban, bluegrass and country.

Earlier this year, Cedarville was selected to help with the GMA Academy launch. The GMA Academy creates networking opportunities between college students and Christian music professionals by providing job and internship listings, industry updates, volunteer opportunities and event invitations. Thanks to his work with the launch, GMA asked Dr. Roger O’Neel, assistant chair and associate professor of worship, if Cedarville worship students would volunteer at the Dove Awards.

“This is a very unique opportunity for our students,” said O’Neel. “To participate on a production of this caliber and scope will allow them to meet influential people in the music publishing industry, managers and contemporary Christian music artists themselves. We hope that this will be educational for the students, as well as beneficial for Cedarville.”

Senior worship majors Stuart Leach, Jules Schieferstein, Cole Tague, Kevin Maillefer; juniors Laura Skaggs, Megan Newsted, Jason Smith, Caleb O’Neel; and sophomore Brandon Slifer will make the trip, accompanied by O’Neel, his wife, Nancy, and assistant professors of worship, Susan Plemons and Jason French.

“I'm super excited about this opportunity because I love Nashville,” said Leach. “I will get to visit the church where I got to serve this summer, and it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to be involved with the Dove awards.”

Students will be involved in setup Monday night and assist the artists during the awards show on Tuesday as they attend press conferences, events and move on and off stage.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,963 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit

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