Gospel music

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Gospel music is a genre of Christian music. The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of gospel music varies according to culture and social context. Gospel music is composed and performed for many purposes, including aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, and as an entertainment product for the marketplace. Gospel music usually has dominant vocals (often with strong use of harmony) with Christian lyrics. Gospel music can be traced to the early 17th century, [1] with roots in the black oral tradition. Hymns and sacred songs were often repeated in a call and response fashion. Most of the churches relied on hand clapping and foot stomping as rhythmic accompaniment. Most of the singing was done a cappella. [2] The first published use of the term "gospel song" probably appeared in 1874. The original gospel songs were written and composed by authors such as George F. Root, Philip Bliss, Charles H. Gabriel, William Howard Doane, and Fanny Crosby. [3] Gospel music publishing houses emerged. The advent of radio in the 1920s greatly increased the audience for gospel music. Following World War II, gospel music moved into major auditoriums, and gospel music concerts became quite elaborate. [4]

Christian music music with Christian theme

Christian music is music that has been written to express either personal or a communal belief regarding Christian life and faith. Common themes of Christian music include praise, worship, penitence, and lament, and its forms vary widely across the world.

Hymn type of song specifically written for the purpose of adoration or prayer

A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification. The word hymn derives from Greek ὕμνος (hymnos), which means "a song of praise". A writer of hymns is known as a hymnodist. The singing or composition of hymns is called hymnody. Collections of hymns are known as hymnals or hymn books. Hymns may or may not include instrumental accompaniment.

Call and response is a form of interaction between a speaker and an audience in which the speaker's statements ("calls") are punctuated by responses from the listeners. This form is also used in music, in which it falls in the general category of antiphony.

Contents

Gospel blues is a blues-based form of gospel music (a combination of blues guitar and evangelistic lyrics).[ not verified in body ] Southern gospel used all male, tenor-lead-baritone-bass quartet make-up. Progressive Southern gospel is an American music genre that has grown out of Southern gospel over the past couple of decades. Christian country music, sometimes referred to as country gospel music, is a subgenre of gospel music with a country flair. It peaked in popularity in the mid-1990s.

Gospel blues or holy blues is a form of blues-based gospel music that has been around since the inception of blues music, a combination of blues guitar and evangelistic lyrics. Notable gospel blues performers include Blind Willie Johnson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Reverend Gary Davis and Washington Phillips. Blues musicians such as Boyd Rivers, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charley Patton, Sam Collins, Josh White, Blind Boy Fuller, Blind Willie Mctell, Bukka White, Sleepy John Estes and Skip James have recorded a fair number of Gospel and religious songs, these were often commercially released under a pseudonym.

Southern gospel music is a genre of Christian music. Its name comes from its origins in the Southeastern United States whose lyrics are written to express either personal or a communal faith regarding biblical teachings and Christian life, as well as to give a Christian alternative to mainstream secular music. Sometimes known as "quartet music" for its traditional "four men and a piano" set up, southern gospel has evolved over the years into a popular form of music across the United States and overseas, especially among baby boomers and those living in the Southern United States. Like other forms of music the creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of southern gospel varies according to culture and social context. It is composed and performed for many purposes, ranging from aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, or as an entertainment product for the marketplace.

Bluegrass gospel music is rooted in American mountain music. Celtic gospel music infuses gospel music with a Celtic flair, and is quite popular in countries such as Ireland. British black gospel refers to Gospel music of the African diaspora, which has been produced in the UK. Some proponents of "standard" hymns generally dislike gospel music of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, with historical distance, there is a greater acceptance of such gospel songs into official denominational hymnals.

Bluegrass music is a genre of American roots music that developed in the 1940s in the United States Appalachian region. The genre derives its name from the band Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys. Bluegrass has roots in traditional English, Irish, and Scottish ballads and dance tunes, and by traditional African-American blues and jazz. The Blue Grass Boys played a Mountain Music style that Bill learned in Asheville, North Carolina from bands like Wade Mainer's and other popular acts on radio station WWNC. It was further developed by musicians who played with him, including 5-string banjo player Earl Scruggs and guitarist Lester Flatt. Bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe characterized the genre as: "Scottish bagpipes and ole-time fiddlin'. It's Methodist and Holiness and Baptist. It's blues and jazz, and it has a high lonesome sound."

Celtic music music genre

Celtic music is a broad grouping of music genres that evolved out of the folk music traditions of the Celtic people of Western Europe. It refers to both orally-transmitted traditional music and recorded music and the styles vary considerably to include everything from "trad" (traditional) music to a wide range of hybrids.

The African diaspora consists of the worldwide collection of communities descended from native sub-Saharan Africans or people from Sub-Saharan Africa, predominantly in the Americas. Historically, ethnographers, historians, politicians and writers have used the term particularly to refer to the descendants of the West and Central Africans who were enslaved and shipped to the Americas via the Atlantic slave trade between the 16th and 19th centuries, with their largest populations in Brazil, the United States and Haiti. Some scholars identify "four circulatory phases" of this migration out of Africa. Prior to the Atlantic slave trade, Arab traders took even more slaves from other parts of Africa, selling them to markets in North Africa and the Middle East.

Style

Gospel music features dominant vocals (often with strong use of harmony) and Christian lyrics. Some modern gospel music, however, isn't explicitly Christian and just utilizes the sound. Subgenres include contemporary gospel, urban contemporary gospel (sometimes referred to as "black gospel"), Southern gospel, and modern gospel music (now more commonly known as praise and worship music or contemporary Christian music). Several forms of gospel music utilize choirs, use piano or Hammond organ, tambourines, drums, bass guitar and, increasingly, electric guitar. In comparison with hymns, which are generally of a statelier measure, the gospel song is expected to have a refrain and often a more syncopated rhythm. [5]

Urban/contemporary gospel is a modern form of Christian music that expresses either personal or a communal belief regarding Christian life, as well as to give a Christian alternative to mainstream secular music. Musically, it follows the trends in secular urban contemporary music.

Contemporary Christian music genre of modern popular music

Contemporary Christian music is a genre of modern popular music which is lyrically focused on matters concerned with the Christian faith. It formed as those affected by the 1960s Jesus movement revival began to express themselves in a more contemporary style of music than the hymns, Gospel and Southern gospel music that was prevalent in the church at the time. Today, the term is typically used to refer to pop, rock, or praise & worship styles.

Several attempts have been made to describe the style of late 19th and early 20th century gospel songs in general. Christ-Janer said "the music was tuneful and easy to grasp ... rudimentary harmonies ... use of the chorus ... varied metric schemes ... motor rhythms were characteristic ... The device of letting the lower parts echo rhythmically a motive announced by the sopranos became a mannerism". [6]

Patrick and Sydnor emphasize the notion that gospel music is "sentimental", quoting Sankey as saying, "Before I sing I must feel", and they call attention to the comparison of the original version of Rowley's "I Will Sing the Wondrous Story" with Sankey's version. [7] Gold said, "Essentially the gospel songs are songs of testimony, persuasion, religious exhortation, or warning. Usually the chorus or refrain technique is found." [8]

Ira D. Sankey American gospel singer and composer

Ira David Sankey, was an American gospel singer and composer, known for his long association with Dwight L. Moody in a series of religious revival campaigns in America and Britain during the closing decades of the 19th century. Sankey was a pioneer in the introduction of a musical style that influenced church services and evangelical campaigns for generations, and the hymns that he wrote or popularized continued to be sung well into the 21st century.

Roots and background

According to Yale University music professor Willie Ruff, the singing of psalms in Gaelic by Presbyterians of the Scottish Hebrides evolved from "lining out" – where one person sang a solo and others followed – into the call and response of gospel music of the American South. [9] Coming out of the African-American religious experience, American gospel music can be traced to the early 17th century, [1] with foundations in the works of Dr. Isaac Watts and others. Gospel music has roots in the black oral tradition, and typically utilizes a great deal of repetition, which allows those who could not read the opportunity to participate in worship. During this time, hymns and sacred songs were lined and repeated in a call-and-response fashion, and Negro spirituals and work songs emerged. Repetition and "call and response" are accepted elements in African music, designed to achieve an altered state of consciousness we[ who? ] sometimes refer to as "trance", and strengthen communal bonds.

Most of the churches relied on hand-clapping and foot-stomping as rhythmic accompaniment. Guitars and tambourines were sometimes available, but not frequently. Church choirs became a norm only after emancipation. Most of the singing was done a cappella. [2]

18th century

Perhaps the most famous gospel-based hymns were composed in the 1760s and 1770s by English writers John Newton ("Amazing Grace") and Augustus Toplady ("Rock of Ages"), members of the Anglican Church. Starting out as lyrics only, it took decades for standardized tunes to be added to them. Although not directly connected with African-American gospel music, they were adopted by African-Americans as well as white Americans, and Newton's connection with the abolition movement provided cross-fertilization.

19th century

The first published use of the term "Gospel Song" probably appeared in 1874 when Philip Bliss released a songbook entitled Gospel Songs. A Choice Collection of Hymns and Tunes. It was used to describe a new style of church music, songs that were easy to grasp and more easily singable than the traditional church hymns, which came out of the mass revival movement starting with Dwight L. Moody, whose musician was Ira D. Sankey, as well as the Holiness-Pentecostal movement. [3] Prior to the meeting of Moody and Sankey in 1870, there was an American rural/frontier history of revival and camp meeting songs, but the gospel hymn was of a different character, and it served the needs of mass revivals in the great cities. [10]

The revival movement employed popular singers and song leaders, the most famous of them being Ira D. Sankey. The original gospel songs were written and composed by authors such as George F. Root, Philip Bliss, Charles H. Gabriel, William Howard Doane, and Fanny Crosby. [3] As an extension to his initial publication Gospel Songs, Philip Bliss, in collaboration with Ira D. Sankey issued no's. 1 to 6 of Gospel Hymns in 1875. [11] Sankey and Bliss's collection can be found in many libraries today.

The popularity of revival singers and the openness of rural churches to this type of music (in spite of its initial use in city revivals) led to the late 19th and early 20th century establishment of gospel music publishing houses such as those of Homer Rodeheaver, E. O. Excell, Charlie Tillman, and Charles Tindley. These publishers were in the market for large quantities of new music, providing an outlet for the creative work of many songwriters and composers. [12]

20th century

Mahalia Jackson in the Concertgebouw concert hall, The Netherlands MahaliaJackson.jpg
Mahalia Jackson in the Concertgebouw concert hall, The Netherlands

The holiness-Pentecostal movement, or sanctified movement, appealed to people who were not attuned to the Europeanized version of black church music. Holiness worship has used any type of instrumentation that congregation members might bring in, from tambourines to electric guitars. Pentecostal churches readily adopted and contributed to the gospel music publications of the early 20th century. Sister Rosetta Tharpe was the first great recording star of gospel music. [13] Late 20th-century musicians such as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Mahalia Jackson, Andrae Crouch, and the Blackwood Brothers either were raised in a Pentecostal environment, or have acknowledged the influence of that tradition. [14]

The advent of radio in the 1920s greatly increased the audience for gospel music, and James D. Vaughan used radio as an integral part of his business model, which also included traveling quartets to publicize the gospel music books he published several times a year. [15] Virgil O. Stamps and Jesse R. Baxter studied Vaughan's business model and by the late 1920s were running heavy competition for Vaughan. [14] The 1920s also saw the marketing of gospel records by groups such as the Carter Family.

The first person to introduce the ragtime influence to gospel accompaniment as well as to play the piano on a gospel recording was Arizona Dranes. [16]

In African-American music, gospel quartets developed an a cappella style following the earlier success of the Fisk Jubilee Singers. The 1930s saw the Fairfield Four, the Dixie Hummingbirds, the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, the Five Blind Boys of Alabama, The Soul Stirrers, the Swan Silvertones, the Charioteers, and the Golden Gate Quartet. Racism divided the nation, and this division did not skip the church. If during slavery blacks were treated as inferior inside the white churches, after emancipation they formed their own separate churches. The gospel groups which were very popular within the black community, were virtually unknown to the white community, though some in the white community began to follow them. [17] In addition to these high-profile quartets, there were many black gospel musicians performing in the 1920s and 30s, usually playing the guitar and singing in the streets of Southern cities. Famous among them were Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Joe Taggart and others.

In the 1930s, in Chicago, Thomas A. Dorsey (known for composing the song "Precious Lord, Take My Hand"), who had spent the 1920s writing and performing secular blues music under the name "Georgia Tom", turned to gospel music, establishing a publishing house. [4] He had experienced many trials in his life,including the death of his pregnant wife. Thomas gained biblical knowledge from his father, who was a Baptist minister, and was taught to play piano by his mother. He started working with blues musicians when the family moved to Atlanta. [18] It has been said that 1930 was the year when modern gospel music began, because the National Baptist Convention first publicly endorsed the music at its 1930 meeting. [19] Dorsey was responsible for developing the musical careers of many African-American artists, such as Mahalia Jackson. [4]

Meanwhile, radio continued to develop an audience for gospel music, a fact that was commemorated in Albert E. Brumley's 1937 song, "Turn Your Radio On" (which is still being published in gospel song books). In 1972, a recording of "Turn Your Radio On" by the Lewis Family was nominated for "Gospel Song of the Year" in the Gospel Music Association's Dove Awards. [20]

Following the World War II, gospel music moved into major auditoriums, and gospel music concerts became quite elaborate. [4] In 1950, black gospel was featured at Carnegie Hall when Joe Bostic produced the Negro Gospel and Religious Music Festival. He repeated it the next year with an expanded list of performing artists, and in 1959 moved to Madison Square Garden. [21] Today, black gospel and white gospel are distinct genres, with distinct audiences. In white gospel, there is a large Gospel Music Association and a Gospel Music Hall of Fame, which includes a few black artists, such as Mahalia Jackson, but which ignores most black artists. [22] In the black community, James Cleveland established the Gospel Music Workshop of America in 1969.

Gospel music genres and subgenres

Christian country music

Christian country music, sometimes referred to as country gospel music, is a subgenre of gospel music with a country flair, is also known as inspirational country. Christian country over the years has progressed into a mainstream country sound with inspirational or positive country lyrics. In the mid-1990s, Christian country hit its highest popularity. So much so that mainstream artists like Larry Gatlin, Charlie Daniels and Barbara Mandrell, just to name a few, began recording music that had this positive Christian country flair. These mainstream artists have now become award winners in this genre. [23] [24]

British Black Gospel

British black gospel refers to Gospel music of the African diaspora, which has been produced in the UK. It is also often referred to as urban contemporary gospel or UK Gospel. [25] The distinctive sound is heavily influenced by UK street culture with many artists from the African and Caribbean majority black churches in the UK. [26] The genre has gained recognition in various awards such as the GEM (Gospel Entertainment Music) Awards, [27] MOBO Awards, [28] [29] Urban Music Awards [30] and has its own Official Christian & Gospel Albums Chart. [31]

Comparison to other hymnody

Some proponents of "standard" hymns generally dislike gospel music of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For example, Patrick and Sydnor complain that commercial success led to a proliferation of such music, and "deterioration, even in a standard which to begin with was not high, resulted." [32] They went on to say, "there is no doubt that a deterioration in taste follows the use of this type of hymn and tune; it fosters an attachment to the trivial and sensational which dulls and often destroys sense of the dignity and beauty which best befit the song that is used in the service of God." [33]

Gold reviewed the issue in 1958, and collected a number of quotations similar to the complaints of Patrick and Syndor. However, he also provided this quotation: "Gospel hymnody has the distinction of being America's most typical contribution to Christian song. As such, it is valid in its inspiration and in its employment." [34] [8]

Today, with historical distance, there is a greater acceptance of such gospel songs into official denominational hymnals. For example, the United Methodist Church made this acceptance explicit in The Faith We Sing, a 2000 supplement to the official denominational hymnal. In the preface, the editors say, "Experience has shown that some older treasures were missed when the current hymnals were compiled." [35]

See also

Related Research Articles

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How Can I Keep from Singing? Christian hymn

"How Can I Keep From Singing?" is a Christian hymn with music written by American Baptist minister Robert Wadsworth Lowry. The song is frequently, though erroneously, cited as a traditional Quaker or Shaker hymn. The original composition has now entered into the public domain, and appears in several hymnals and song collections, both in its original form and with a revised text. Though it is not, in fact, a Quaker hymn, twentieth-century Quakers adopted it as their own and use it widely today.

Kingdom songs are the hymns sung by Jehovah's Witnesses at their religious meetings. Since 1879, the Watch Tower Society has published hymnal lyrics; by the 1920s they had published hundreds of adapted and original songs, and by the 1930s they referred to these as "Kingdom songs" in reference to God's Kingdom.

Philip Bliss hymn writer

Philip Paul Bliss was an American composer, conductor, writer of hymns and a bass-baritone Gospel singer. He wrote many well-known hymns, including "Almost Persuaded"; "Hallelujah, What a Saviour!"; "Let the Lower Lights Be Burning"; "Wonderful Words of Life"; and the tune for Horatio Spafford's "It Is Well with My Soul."

"I'll Fly Away" is a hymn written in 1929 by Albert E. Brumley and published in 1932 by the Hartford Music company in a collection titled Wonderful Message. Brumley's writing was influenced by the 1924 secular ballad, "The Prisoner's Song".

Robert Lowry (hymn writer) American professor of literature, composer of gospel hymns

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<i>Redemption Hymnal</i>

The Redemption Hymnal is a red-covered hymnbook containing 800 evangelical hymns, first published by the Elim Publishing House in London, in 1951. The hymnal was compiled by a committee of leaders from the three main Pentecostal denominations in the United Kingdom: Assemblies of God in Great Britain, Elim Pentecostal Church and the Apostolic Church (denomination). It is strongly associated with the emergence of the Pentecostal movement in the United Kingdom.

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Charles Davis Tillman American singer

Charles Davis Tillman —also known as Charlie D. Tillman, Charles Tillman, Charlie Tillman, and C. D. Tillman—was a popularizer of the gospel song. He had a knack for adopting material from eclectic sources and flowing it into the mix now known as southern gospel, becoming one of the formative influences on that genre.

The gospel song, Palms of Victory, also called “Deliverance Will Come,” and “The Way-worn Traveler,” was evidently written in 1836 by the Rev. John B. Matthias, a Methodist Episcopal minister in New York state. This attribution is not well documented, and Matthias had no known history of song-writing, but there is no other author to whom it can be attributed.

George Coles Stebbins (1846–1945) was a gospel song writer. Stebbins was born February 26, 1846, in Orleans County, New York, where he spent the first 23 years of his life on a farm. In 1869 he moved to Chicago, Illinois, which marked the beginning of his musical career.

What Wondrous Love Is This

"What Wondrous Love Is This" is a Christian folk hymn, sometimes described as a "white spiritual", from the American South. Its text was first published in 1811, during the Second Great Awakening, and its melody derived from a popular English ballad. Today it is a widely known hymn included in hymnals of many Christian denominations.

The term Gospel Song, first used by Philip Bliss, was created in order to describe a new genre of spiritual songs that originated out of the church hymn singing tradition and was meant to support the preacher's message, the Gospel, at huge gatherings of faithless audiences during the Great Awakening of the Methodist Church in the U.S. during the late 19th century by finding new, easy to learn expressive melodies and using a repetitive structure of Verses and Choruses.

References

  1. 1 2 "Gospel History Timeline". University of Southern California. Retrieved January 31, 2012.
  2. 1 2 Jackson, Joyce Marie. "The changing nature of gospel music: A southern case study." African American Review 29.2 (1995): 185. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. October 5, 2010.
  3. 1 2 3 Malone (1984) , p. 520
  4. 1 2 3 4 Malone (1984) , p. 523
  5. Collins (2013) , p. 124
  6. Christ-Janer, Hughes & Smith (1980) , p. 365
  7. Patrick (1962) , pp. 171–172
  8. 1 2 Gold, Charles E. "The Gospel Song: Contemporary Opinion," The Hymn. v. 9, no. 3 (July 1958), p. 70.
  9. "From Charles Mackintosh's waterproof to Dolly the sheep: 43 innovations Scotland has given the world". The independent. January 3, 2016.
  10. Christ-Janer, Hughes & Smith (1980) , p. 364
  11. Benson, Louis F. The English Hymn: Its Development and Use in Worship. New York: George H. Doran Co., 1915, p. 486. Several sources cite the Bliss and Sankey 1875 publication as the first to use the word "gospel" in this sense. For example, Malone (1984) , p. 520.
  12. Hall, Jacob Henry. Biography of Gospel Song and Hymn Writers. New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1914, provides contemporary information about songwriters, composers and publishers.
  13. "Godmother of Rock and Roll: Sister Rosetta Tharpe" . Retrieved August 8, 2015.
  14. 1 2 Malone (1984) , p. 521
  15. See also Charles Davis Tillman.
  16. "COGIC Women in Gospel Music on Patheos". Patheos. June 10, 2009. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
  17. Malone (1984) , p. 522
  18. "Thomas A. Dorsey". "Southern Music Network". Southern Music in the 20th century. eb. October 14, 2010.
  19. Southern (1997) , p. 484
  20. "The Gospel Music Association's Dove Awards Nominations for the Gospel Song of 1972," Canaan Records (Waco, TX) CAS-9732-LP Stereo.
  21. Southern (1997) , p. 485
  22. Malone (1984) , p. 524
  23. "Larry Gatlin nominated for Christian Country Album of the Year".
  24. "Barbara Mandrell inducted into the Country Gospel Music Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on February 25, 2015.
  25. "Gospel Music". BBC. July 11, 2011.
  26. Smith, Steve Alexander (2009). British Black Gospel: Foundations of this vibrant UK sound. Monarch Books. ISBN   9781854248961.
  27. Mackay, Maria (November 4, 2005). "Freddie Kofi Wins Best Male at GEM Awards". Christian Today.
  28. N.A. (October 20, 2010). "Mobo Awards 2010: The Winners". The Daily Telegraph.
  29. "Gospel's Lurine Cato is triumphant at the MOBOs". The Voice Online. October 21, 2013.
  30. "Urban Music Awards – UMA- The World's No.1 awards show for HipHop, R&B, Soul, Jazz, Grime and Dance music". www.urbanmusicawards.net.
  31. "UKs first Official Christian & Gospel Albums Chart to launch next week". Record of the Day. March 14, 2013.
  32. Patrick (1962) , p. 171
  33. Patrick (1962) , p. 172
  34. Stevenson, Robert. Religion in Life, Winter, 1950–51[ page needed ]
  35. Hickman, Hoyt L., ed. "Introduction," The Faith We Sing (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2000).[ page needed ]

Further reading

Bibliography

  • Christ-Janer, Albert; Hughes, Charles W.; Smith, Carleton Sprague (1980). American Hymns Old and New. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
  • Collins, Irma H. (2013). Dictionaryof Music Education. Maryland: Scarecrow Press.
  • Malone, Bill C. (1984). "Music, religious, of the Protestant South". In Samuel S. Hill (ed.). Encyclopedia of Religion in the South. Mercer University Press.
  • Patrick, Millar (1962). The Story of the Church's Song. Revised by James Rawlings Sydnor. Richmond, VA: John Knox Press.
  • Southern, Eileen (1997). The Music of Black Americans: a History (3rd ed.). New York, NY: W. W. Norton.

Commons-logo.svg Media related to Gospel music at Wikimedia Commons

Professional organizations

Gospel Music Association – Acknowledges all forms of gospel/Christian music
Gospel Viu – Gospel Without Borders
Gospel Wire – Primarily urban contemporary gospel
Pacific Gospel Music Association – Known for Southern gospel
Southern Gospel Music Association
Gospel Music Information
Festival Lumen – the biggest gospel music festival in central Europe

Media outlets

Black Family Channel
Bobby Jones Gospel
Gospel Music Channel
The Inspirational Network
Christian Broadcasting Network
Daystar Television Network
Trinity Broadcasting Network