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SGMA Research Library Established in Music City

Hendersonville, TN, September 12, 2019 – The Southern Gospel Music Association is pleased to announce the founding of the SGMA Research Library. The facility will be housed in an early 20th century Victorian home located adjacent to the campus of Daywind Music Group/NewDay Christian Distribution in the Nashville suburb of Hendersonville, TN. Space in the building is being provided through the support of Dottie Leonard Miller, CEO of Daywind/NewDay.

The foundational content for the archive consists of more than 10,000 items contained within The Harold Timmons Collection donated earlier this year. The SGMA will be actively seeking additional donated items, particularly sound recordings, sheet music and songbooks, to compile a comprehensive Southern Gospel Music catalog. Once completed, the library will be available to the public by appointment for the purpose of research. In support of the SGMA core mission to preserve and promote the history and heritage of this American roots-music artform, the Research Library will embark on a long-term project to digitally archive the entirety of its contents through the efforts of volunteers and interns under the direction of SGMA archive committee chairman, Aaron Rich.

“We’ve always wanted a great library and a collection of artifacts,” stated SGMA president, Arthur Rice. “Not only is this a tremendous step forward for our organization, it will be good for fans and artists as well. It will benefit anyone wanting to research anything related to Southern Gospel Music.  We are excited about this new endeavor and very grateful to Dottie for this generous act of support.”

Dottie Leonard Miller shared, “Southern Gospel Music has been at the core of my business since we began selling sheet music to Christian bookstores in 1981. It has always been my ministry to support the ministries of artists and songwriters. Their songs lift up the Lord. I am now blessed to have the opportunity to help preserve the legacy of those ministries and the pioneers who came before them.”

Established in 1994, the Southern Gospel Music Association (SGMA) is a professional preservation association of artists, songwriters, industry leaders and fans founded to preserve, protect and promote Southern Gospel music, as well as its history and heritage.

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Those interested in information about donating items needed to complete the archive may reach out to Aaron Rich, archives@sgma.org, or speak to him at the SGMA Exhibit during the National Quartet Convention in Pigeon Forge, TN, September 23 – September 28, 2019.

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Formed over 19 years ago by Deon & Susan Unthank originally as SoGospelNews.com, the site was birthed from an email discussion group by the same name. The SoGospelNews email discussion list was created by the Unthanks after the Singing News shut down its extremely popular discussion list. SoGospelNews started as a simple webpage listing artists, fans, individuals, etc. that were avid supporters of the newly formed SoGospelNews talk list. The site eventually took on printing news for Southern Gospel artists, and eventually took on reviewing the latest recordings from both signed and independent artists within the small genre. SoGospelNews became the most viewed Southern Gospel website on the Internet with over 4,000,000 hits per month.

The Unthank family are now involved in the site, as well as the addition of over two dozen staff writers. The website is based out of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. In April 2010, SoGospelNews changed its name to AbsolutelyGospel.com. The name change allows them to cover news items of not only Southern Gospel, but also Country Gospel, Inspirational, and Black Gospel.

On January 5, 2011, Susan Unthank passed away, leaving the website in control of Deon, their son, Chris, and their daughter Amy.

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