One Thousand Days Transformed - The Campaign for Cedarville

by Sarah Mummert, Student Public Relations Writer

Twenty-three worship students from Cedarville University will have the unique opportunity to help host the Gospel Music Association’s (GMA) 53rd annual Dove Awards in Nashville, Tennessee. This is the fifth time Cedarville has been asked to participate in the event.

The ceremony, which will feature national recording artists such as Chris Tomlin, Crowder, Erica Campbell, Jekalyn Carr and Phil Wickham, will take place Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 6:30 p.m. EDT, and it will be broadcast worldwide on Trinity Broadcasting Network Friday, Oct. 21, at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. EDT.

Cedarville’s worship students will serve as talent escorts, ensuring the performers navigate the event, whether it be finding the red carpet, the stage or the press room. Dr. Roger O’Neel, assistant chair and associate professor of worship at Cedarville, noted the importance of such a role during a live show. Worship Major Emma Haylett singing on the chapel stage

“Not having the talent where they need to be for a live awards show would be a real problem,” O’Neel said. “It is stressful but exciting to be a part of.”

The opportunity provides quite a learning experience as students get to see how this large production is put together, from the sound check to how things are organized backstage. These basic skills will transfer to the careers that many worship students pursue.

In addition to gaining practical experience in putting together worship events, students get to interact with well-known agents and artists. Cedarville’s relationship with the GMA opens the door into the music business for students who are aspiring songwriters.

Emma Haylett, a sophomore from Denver, Colorado, majoring in worship and minoring in songwriting, was involved with the Dove Awards last year and will return this year. Last year, she served as a talent escort for We The Kingdom’s kids’ choir from southeastern Asia called His Little Feet.

The GMA invites Cedarville students back each year for good reason. “They love our students because they are polite, servant-minded and professional,” said O’Neel.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 5,082 undergraduate, graduate, and dual enrolled high school students in more than 175 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including its Bachelor of Arts in Worship, high graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and the #4 national ranking by the Wall Street Journal for student engagement. For more information about the University, visit

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