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Point of Grace, which originated in Arkadelphia (Clark County) in 1990, is a female vocal trio—formerly a quartet—that sings contemporary Christian music.
Three of the singers in Point of Grace—Denise Jones, Heather Floyd, and Terry Lang—were life-long friends from Norman, Oklahoma. They had sung together in their church choir and school musicals. The trio enrolled at Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) in Arkadelphia in 1988. While singing in the “Ouachitones,” an OBU-sponsored group, they met fellow student Shelley Phillips from North Little Rock (Pulaski County), and in 1991, they formed a quartet.
Originally, the four named themselves Sayso from a biblical verse in Psalms: “Let the Redeemed of the Lord say so.” The quartet began singing at local churches, retreats, and other faith-based institutions. From 1991 to 1993, while still enrolled full time at OBU, they went on tour, part time during school and full time during the summer break. They used recorded music and sometimes sang a cappella. They built a large base of fans throughout the South. At the urging of their fans, the young women made a self-produced tape, titled Sayso, which they sold at their concerts.
At the Christian Arts Seminar in Estes Park, Colorado, in 1992, Sayso won the Overall Grand Prize group competition. Record companies, both Christian and non-Christian, offered recording contracts. The group was determined to maintain the religious theme of their music. One stipulation of theirs was that the word “Jesus” be used in every song, rather than vague references to “him,” so as to eliminate doubt that the song was religious. In 1993, Sayso decided to sign with Word Recording, based on the pledge that they would have input in the selection and treatment of the albums. They found there was another group with the same name, so they changed their name to Point of Grace from the C. S. Lewis quotation, “We as Christians live every day at the point of God’s grace.”
Their first album was titled Point of Grace (1993) and went gold. Between 1993 and 2005, Point of Grace produced five gold albums, including The Whole Truth (1995), and two platinum, Life, Love and Other Mysteries (1996) and Steady On (1998). Their number-one singles included “I’ll Be Believing,” “The Great Divide,” “Gather at the River,” and “Circle of Friends.” Gospel Music Association (GMA) in 1994 voted them New Artist of the Year. GMA also awarded the group the Dove Award, its highest award, eight times.
Despite their hectic schedules, all the young women graduated from OBU with degrees in vocal music. Shelley (Phillips) Breen graduated in 1991, Terry Lang and Heather (Floyd) Payne in 1992, and Denise Jones in 2000. Terry Lang married and continued to sing with the group, but after the birth of her third child, she became a full-time wife and mother, leaving the group in November 2003. Her successor was Leigh Cappillino, a singer with Truth and wife of Point of Grace’s guitarist and bandleader, Dana Cappillino. The new foursome made their first album together, I Choose You, in 2004. Heather Payne left the group in 2008 and has not been replaced, changing the quartet into a trio.
Billie Francis TaylorArkadelphia, Arkansas
Last Updated 9/9/2013
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