MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Gabriella Damens, a 13-year-old Maplewood Middle School student, will head to Nashville, where she will have the opportunity to sing as part of a large choir for the third time at the Gospel Music Association’s annual Dove Awards, honoring the outstanding achievements of artists representing all genres of Christian music.
This year the choir will be singing with world-renowned country music artist Reba McEntire, whose first gospel album, “Sing It Now: Songs of Hope and Faith,” has been nominated for Country Album of the Year and features her hit single, “Back to God,” which has also been nominated for a Dove Award in the category of Bluegrass/Country Song of the Year.
For the past two years, Gabriella has been an active member of The New American Chorus, made up of more than 200 primarily adult singers from around the country brought together several times a year to accompany some of the most well-known contemporary Christian music artists in venues such as Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center and Lipscomb University Arena for the Dove Awards. As a result, this middle schooler has had the opportunity to sing in the choir twice at Carnegie Hall, accompanying The Casting Crowns in 2015 as well as last year’s 2016 concert featuring both Lauren Daigle and Francesca Battistelli. Gabriella, with the help of her friend, Caspian, earned enough money this year by mostly washing cars to pay for her own ticket.