Looking back on a night filled with positive and brilliant talent, the 2005 Shai Awards kept true to their mission of fostering the growth of Christian music across Canada and promoting these artists nationwide. Each year, founder Dionne Smith and the Shai Awards crew hold the show in a different province of Canada and showcase the diversity of our country with Rock, Pop, Rap,and Urban music (to name a few) with a Francophone and Aboriginal award category also being added in recent years. This year's awards were held at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga this past Saturday, and next year's ceremonies are set to be held in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Michael "Pinball" Clemons and his wife Diane Clemons were gracious hosts, adding humour, insight, and energy to the evening. Diane even gave the audience a taste of her own singing abilities in order to allow the audience to "get their praise on" as she and Michael put it so effectively. Michael Clemons is an excellent host and all over great at capturing the meaning behind what he's seen and been through. He had this to say of rock band Sterotrap, who performed at the awards, "on this rock (and roll) I will build my church." This reference speaks of how rock music is being influenced by Christ for the betterment of our youth. He also talked about the role that Jesus was playing in his life when the Toronto Argonauts became 2005 Grey Cup Winners, "The victory [was] already ours. I wonder if I knew [that] I had already won the game."
An incredible violinist opened the show with a bright blue violin and tons of self-made orchestration; Trevor Dick, who ripped it up on violin is by far one of Canada's best violinists and given his pop sound, has already entered into the favours of the Canadian music community.
A few artists that Soul Shine has managed to catch up with recently were rewarded greatly. Rising star Greg Sczebel was by no means ignored during this event, the audience happily punctuated his performance with feverish applause. His album, "Here to Stay" was played during set up, intermission, and during the wrap up of the ceremony. Sczebel also managed to pick up Contemporary/Pop Album of the Year and Urban/Soul Album of the Year for his album "Here to Stay" with the cake topper of winning Song of the Year for the track "In the Pocket". Starfield won Artist of the Year, but sources said that after their performance were seen heading to a gig in Waterloo, so Amanda Falk accepted the award on their behalf.
As you can see, the Shai Awards were less about the gowns and gossip and more about the people and their love for God. One of the most memorable impressions the 2005 Shai Awards had was when the Mayor of Mississauga, Hazel McCallion expressed her gratitude for Christian musicians, and told everyone how much the Bible helps her in her day to day duties as Mayor. As the show closed, she danced along with a huge gospel choir on stage and as everyone will attest who attended that evening, "got her praise on" for us and the glory of God.
Writer: Lindsay Whitfield