Minister Barry Douglas, of the Nelson County gospel group, Minister Barry Douglas and the Word, had a tough choice to make after the band’s music was nominated for the 2022 Rhythm of Gospel Awards.
“One thing about being the leader, you have to pay attention to the whole band as a whole,” said Douglas, the band’s lead singer and manager.
Minister Barry Douglas and the Word had planned to attend the ceremony in Jacksonville, Florida, but Douglas had to consider members with underlying illnesses and young children given the rise in COVID cases -19.
“We just don’t want to risk that chance of going to a hotspot and risking exposure to not only ourselves, but also taking it home and giving it to our children who aren’t vaccinated. “Douglas said of the risk of exposure to the virus.
The Rhythm of Gospel Awards is an annual televised awards ceremony hosted by the National and Independent Gospel Music Association. According to its website, the Rhythm of Gospel Awards honor outstanding churches and pastors, choirs and independent gospel artists for their contributions to their communities. The event also provides a platform for independent artists to network.
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Minister Barry Douglas and the Word received seven Rhythm of Gospel Music Award nominations in 2022 for Contemporary CD of the Year, Special Event CD of the Year, Traditional CD of the Year, Quartet of the Year, Praise and Worship CD of the Year, Best Performance by a Group or Duo and for Douglas as Traditional Male Vocalist of the Year.
Travel costs were another factor in the group’s final decision not to attend the ceremony.
Douglas said the group ministers at no cost to the community, but charitable work makes it difficult for the group to grow and travel.
“When it comes time for us to move forward, we kind of get stuck because we don’t have the money and that’s the problem we have,” he said.
Douglas acknowledges that nominations are always a feat.
“Regardless of whether we win an award or not, we will enter the book as a group named Rhythm of Gospel,” he said.
Minister Barry Douglas and the Word have been together for nearly 12 years, first as Gospel Creation Singers.
“It was a group of young people who got together and just started singing and literally made it into a band,” Douglas said. “We are always made up of young people, some middle aged, some older, it makes no difference between the two. And just people who like to come together and serve the Lord.
According to Douglas, the group joined gospel greats Rance Allen, Paul Porter and Debra Snipes for gospel performances and performed on stage at the church of “gospel queen” Shirley Caesar.
“We came from having no music, having nothing. It was just the voices,” Douglas said.
Now the band trains with a live band and writes and arranges their own songs.
“We’re learning to get into writing our own music, our own material, because we have so much talent in our band,” he said.
Douglas said the group is particularly versatile: “We don’t just do gospel, we do quartet, we do contemporary, we do different music. All this in the name of Jesus Christ.
Regina Wayne has stated that she has been a background vocalist with the band for around 10 years. She is disappointed that the group is not going to the Rhythm of Gospel Awards.
“I think it would have been a great experience for us. But we just hope and pray that maybe we can get that opportunity next year,” Wayne said.
She agreed that the group’s decision not to attend was related to COVID-19 and the cost of the trip.
“We didn’t really have the finances available to attend,” Wayne added.
She said the group sings older songs, but with a twist, and otherwise writes its own material.
She explained the process of writing a song: “We’ll just create a song, then we’ll pitch it to our keyboard player, then he’ll try to put some music behind the tracks, and then we’ll go from there.”
During the pandemic, Minister Barry Douglas and the Word went from doing every two weeks to not doing anything at all. Wayne said the band plans to resume regular workouts in March.
Rebecca Canada, Minister Barry Douglas and head of public relations for Word, said the members of the group are faith- and family-oriented.
“They sing according to their lifestyle. So they definitely live and sing by the word of God,” Canada said.
Wayne said she called him, “’See the God in me.’ “
“Because you can actually see it. You can feel it just by singing and presenting. So that’s what I would say. You can see the God in us,” Wayne said.
Douglas said that even though the band never makes it to bigger stages, “My main goal, my first goal, is to see a soul saved. That’s my first goal, and that means my life has no was not in vain, and everything we do on this side has not been in vain.