GMA In The Rockies, one of the Gospel Music Association’s premiere events for aspiring songwriters, worship leaders and Christian music artists, has moved to Nashville and changed its name to IMMERSE.IMMERSE is scheduled for July 29 to August 2 on the campus of Belmont University, and will feature training, professional and personal feedback, one-of-a-kind concerts and a sense of community designed to uniquely equip creative Christians to impact culture through music both in and out of the church.Professionals scheduled to participate include Mitchell Solarek (manager/Natalie Grant); Laurie Anderson (manager/TobyMac); Brad O’Donnell (A&R, EMI CMG); Chris Blaney (booking agent, Third Coast Artists Agency); Leigh Holt (VP of Branding & Merchandising, Word Records) and author David Nasser. Artists scheduled to perform and/or teach include Michael W. Smith, Natalie Grant, Aaron Shust, Melinda Doolittle, Phil Stacey, Martha Munizzi and Travis Cottrell. Seminar topics will cover marketing, promotion, radio, A&R, management, publishing, PR, legal and more. The classes will also focus on the roles of an artist/songwriter’s team for those who are interested in management, booking, promotion and more. Aspiring songwriters and artists can also have their song or demo tapes professionally critiqued.Another important feature of GMA’s IMMERSE is the talent competitions. The IMMERSE Artist of 2009 National Competition is the Christian music industry’s official talent competition for unsigned acts. At the National Competition which is inclusive of all musical styles and genres of Christian music, IMMERSE contestants compete for the grand prize titles for Solo 2009, Group 2009 and Band 2009. The IMMERSE Song of 2009 National Competition awards grand prize titles, including Song of 2009, and the ABS Scripture Song of 2009. Songs of all musical styles and genres with Christian lyrical content are accepted in the competition and are judged based upon the excellence of songwriting skills within the musical style. The overall song categories are divided by class based upon level of songwriting experience and are given for Amateur, Semi-Pro and Professional Non-Artist classes. The deadline to compete in either the Song or Artist competitions is June 30.For more than 30 years, the event was held in Estes Park, Colorado. Many successful artists and songwriters have been discovered or launched their careers through GMA’s talent competitions, including Chris Tomlin, Casting Crowns, Matthew West, Jars of Clay, Nichole Nordeman, Bart Millard (MercyMe), Barlow Girl, Stacie Orrico, Point of Grace, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Chris Sligh and 2007 American Idol winner Jordin Sparks. For more information about IMMERSE, visit the Gospel Music Association website.

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