By Marilyn Stewart
When it comes to top-of-the-chart Christian music, the coveted Dove Award is the prize that sets off the best. For NOBTS doctor of music arts student Tyler Brinson, it’s an honor he now counts among his achievements.
Brinson, with noted gospel songwriter and producer Geron Davis, received the 2015 Dove Award for Choral Collection of the Year for the recording project, “Splendor of Heaven.” The award was presented in Nashville in October 2015. Davis is noted for such hits as “We’re Standing on Holy Ground” and “In the Presence of Jehovah,” and others.
Produced with the 150-member choir of First Baptist Church of Cleveland, Tenn., where Brinson serves as minister of music and worship, the collection’s title song “Splendor of Heaven,” is a contemporary praise and worship melody based on Ephesians 2:6-7.
“Many of the songs evoke a strong imagery of the beauty of God, the eternal promise for believers,” Brinson said. “That title song encompassed well the message throughout the project.”
The Dove Awards, presented annually by the Gospel Music Association, honor musicians and music productions in 41 categories including Gospel, Southern Gospel, contemporary Christian, Hip-hop, Pop, Bluegrass, and others.
Intended to reach an audience with a wide demographic, the album “speaks to everyone,” Brinson said. Two songs on the album are anthemic ballads; one is folksy with acoustic guitar, bass, and fiddle; and one song, “Great God, Great Praise,” is Black Gospel, Brinson said.
“There’s music for every generation on this project. It speaks to everyone,” Brinson said.
Brinson’s lifelong friendship with Davis spurred the project on. Davis wrote five of the songs. Brinson and Davis arranged the selections.
One song, “Glorious Savior,” has special meaning to Brinson. It was written by his father, Terrell Brinson, who was present during recording and was presented the score to the album produced by legendary producer and writer Lari Goss. Goss died six days after completing the project, making his arrangements of two songs on the album – “Glorious Savior” and “Press On” – his final contributions to the music industry.
Brinson said his father’s song holds significance and meaning for him. Brinson said, “One line says, ‘When I kneel before Amazing Grace.’ God doesn’t just offer amazing grace. He is amazing grace.”
Brinson’s choir has performed in Washington D. C. outside the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument and closed with an invitation to listeners to learn more about Christ. The choir has also performed at New York City’s Brooklyn Tabernacle and sings the national anthem each year at the Atlanta Braves’ games.
Since the album’s release, choir membership has expanded, but so has members’ understanding of calling.
“The project has helped develop a greater sense of calling and purpose among the choir members and a clear and broader vision of the choir’s role as worship leaders, Brinson said. “Through this project and its circulation, I believe the choir’s gained an even greater sense of their part in the church’s ultimate calling, not to just grow in the worship of God at home, but also to move the message of the gospel of Christ beyond our church’s four walls.”
Brinson, who is in the dissertation phase of his degree, married his wife, Diana, the same month as receiving the award.
Sheet music is available through Brentwood Benson Publishing. The CD is available by contacting the church at 423.709.9104.