Penny Ferguson Picture

The Maritime Gospel Music Association (MGMA) & The MGMA Gala Awards


By Penny L. Ferguson

   I have been asked to write about the gospel music scene in Canada. Canada is a vast country. I live on the east coast and, as primarily a song writer, I don’t travel a lot for singing. I will have to limit what I write to what know about.

   Last fall, Through His Grace (my husband, Paul, and I) received a nomination for Duet of the Year from the Maritime Gospel Music Association.

   Last fall, Through His Grace (my husband, Paul, and I) received a nomination for Duet of the Year from the Maritime Gospel Music Association. I was also nominated as Gospel Song Writer of the Year. The Gala Awards are held a distance from where we live and, because of circumstances, we cannot be away over night. The Gala and Awards, which includes concerts, occur over two days. Paul and I had to decide which day we would attend. The Duet award was being presented on Friday night and, as nominees, we would get to sing one song. The Song Writer award was presented on Saturday. With no expectation of winning, we decided to attend Friday because we would get to showcase one of our songs.
   Before I tell about the Gala Awards, I am going to write about the Maritime Gospel Music Association. For American readers, first a little geography lesson, in case you are not familiar with Canada’s east coast. “Maritime” in the Association’s title refers to Canada’s Maritime provinces. This is a regional designation for the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. I was unable to find out when the MGMA was founded but I have been a member since 2006 and I don’t think its much older than that. Much of the information which follows was taken by permission from the MGMA’s web site (  It states the Association’s purpose: “At the Maritime Gospel Music Association our mission is to share, promote and celebrate the Gospel through music. To serve as the voice and face of Christian music in the Maritimes. To equip the artist with website support, professionally arranged concerts, mentoring in presentation and recording, and liaison with area media broadcasters. To provide an atmosphere in which the artist, songwriters, industry leaders, retail stores, radio stations, concert promoters, and local churches can coordinate their efforts for the purpose of benefiting the industry, while remaining true to the purpose of communicating the Gospel message.”

   Burrell Cross is President of the MGMA Executive. It includes a Vice-President (Ross Ingram), a Secretary/Treasurer (Peggy MacLaughlin), an Awards Program Chairperson (Norman Raynes), an Association Events Coordinator (Keith Young), and an Events Coordinator for Fredericton and New Brunswick (Larry Moss). There are no Events Coordinators for the provinces of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
   Membership for the MGMA is divided into two categories—Artists and Non-performing. The dues are: Artist--$50.00, Basic--$15.00 (on-line) or $10 (mail), Family-- $25.00 (on-line) or $20 (mail). Artist and Industry members are categorized as: Contemporary/Inspirational, Southern Gospel, Country Gospel, R&B/Pop Rock, Bluegrass, Roots, Recording Studios and Audio/Lighting Sales & Rentals. There are currently twenty-eight artists members. The MGMA reserves legal right to accept or reject membership requests.


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