Point of Grace

Point of Grace

Infobox musical artist
Name = Point of Grace

Img_capt =
Img_size = 200
Landscape =
Background = group_or_band
Origin = Arkadelphia, Arkansas, USA
Genre = Contemporary Christian music, Country music
Years_active = 1991-present
Label = Word Records
Associated_acts =
URL = http://www.pointofgrace.net/
Current_members = Shelley Breen
Denise Jones
Leigh Cappillino
Dana Cappillino (Leigh's husband, guitar)
Michael Passons (keyboard and with older songs)
Past_members = Terry Jones
Heather Payne

Point of Grace is a group of Christian pop music singers and authors. This all-ladies trio consists of Shelley Breen, Denise Jones, and Leigh Cappillino. The group started out as a quartet in 1991, with original members Breen and Jones, as well as Terry Jones and Heather Payne. In November 2003, Terry Jones decided she needed to spend more time with her family after giving birth to her third child, and left the group, with Cappillino joining in March 2004 for their 2004 release "I Choose You". In June 2008, Payne announced her retirement from the group, in order to spend more time with her husband and four children.

In 1998, they added a touring band, with Cappillino's husband, Dana, and Tommy McGee as permanent band members on guitar and on bass, respectively.

In 2006, former Avalon member Michael Passons added his work to the group's live show, and according to Breen in a July 2008 chat, will join the group for older quartet songs.

The group's debut self-titled album was released in 1993; since then, they have been recognized as one of the top Contemporary Christian music bands in the United States. In 2003, they released their ninth album, "24" - a compilation of their 24 consecutive #1 radio singles. To this date, no band in any genre has matched this record. As of 2006 the girls have 27 #1 radio singles.

The group has started a conference for young girls, the Girls of Grace series.


1991 - 1992: Early Years

Point of Grace got its start at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Denise Masters, Terry Lang and Heather Floyd, who knew each other from Norman, Oklahoma, coincidentally found themselves at OBU, and naturally got involved in music. They sang in a vocal group called 'The Ouachitones,' which was made up of 14 girls. Within the group, the girls formed a trio, and after a sound check for a Ouachitones performance, the girls were singing a cappella when they were told by an onlooker that they should do something together. Shelley Phillips had come from Little Rock, Arkansas to OBU with a scholarship in vocal performance. She sang in a group called the Praise Singers, made up of four girls and four guys and they travelled around the country performing concerts. She became friends with Terry and Heather through Denise, who was her roommate and sister in the social club Chi Delta. After Heather, Terry and Denise made plans to form a trio and sing together over the summer, Denise went back to her dorm room and excitedly told Shelley about their summer plans. After Shelley suggested that the trio became a quartet, it seemed to be the perfect fit.

They called themselves Say So, taken after Psalm 107:2 where it says, "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so." It truly was a do-it-yourself project, and group's tasks were delegated amongst themselves according to each one's best ability. Heather took care of publicity and album sales, Terry took care of the money, Shelley was in charge of booking and Denise was in charge of all their music. Before their performances, they were the ones who would haul their equipment onstage and set it up. They developed quite a following that summer, and spent the remainder of the year singing every weekend. After many fan requests, they recorded an independent album, and became favorites in the South and Midwest. Despite not seeing a reason to pursue a major record deal, the girls, encouraged by their family members attended the 1992 Music in the Rockies Christian Artists Seminar in Estes Park, Colorado. They wowed the crowd and the judges when they performed "He's The Best Thing" and wound up winning the Overall Grand Prize in the Group competition.

The girls found that, after their performance, there was major record label interest, and by prayerful decision, the group decided to sign with Word Records. They then moved to Nashville to start work on what would become their self-titled debut album.

1993 - 1995: Point of Grace Begins

On August 23, 1993, led by the #1 single "I'll Be Believing," Point of Grace released their self-titled debut album. It was quickly embraced by fans and critics, who compared the group's tight harmonies to that of pop group Wilson Phillips. The album's next five singles also reached the top of the charts, a feat unmatched to this day. Before Point of Grace, the record was held by Gloria Estefan and Mariah Carey with 4 consecutive #1 singles from their debut albums. The group's undeniably catchy sound, inspiring lyrics and fresh-faced image increased their following, and songs like "I'll Be Believing," and "Jesus Will Still Be There" became fan favorites and regulars on their concert set lists to this day. In 1994 they were named New Artist of the Year at the Dove Awards and embarked on a national tour with Wayne Watson for whom they sang backup after opening each concert. After that tour ended, they began doing concerts on their own, and were gone roughly 22 days out of the month. In 1997, their debut album was certified gold by the RIAA and was the #1-selling Christian catolog album of 1998. They were also a part of the Young Messiah Tour and regulars at Disney's Night of Joy concert series

The girls assembled back in the studio towards the end of 1994 to begin work on the follow-up to "Point of Grace." They met with 35 different songwriters and told them where their hearts were at. The songs that were born out of those writing sessions became part of the girls' lives. They worked hard, and on March 15, 1995, "The Whole Truth" was released. The album's first single, "The Great Divide," shot to #1 and became the girls' seventh consecutive #1 single. Its powerful message of the gospel touched so many lives, and it is to this day a favorite among the members of the group and their listeners. Lyrically, the whole album had an evangelistic feel to it, with its messages about God's love ("Love Like No Other" and "Without The Love Of Jesus"), Christ's sacrifice ("Dying To Reach You" and "The Great Divide") and Christian life ("Gather At The River"), and it spoke into the hearts of many listeners. The album did very well on the charts, charting at #1 and staying there for 13 consecutive weeks. After it left the #1 spot, it remained in the Top 10 for 45 consecutive weeks. It was certified gold by the RIAA in 1997 and the remaining four singles also reached the top of the charts. The girls embarked on a nationwide tour with Phillips, Craig & Dean and special guest Cheri Keaggy, and were also a part of the Young Messiah Farewell Tour, along with artists like Sandi Patty, 4Him and Larnelle Harris. They also contributed songs in several special event albums. They recorded a new rendition of the hymn "Fairest Lord Jesus" for the "Hymns & Voices" album; the song "Hold On To Me" for the "My Utmost for His Highest" project and a new take on "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" for the album "Christmas Carols Of The Young Messiah". The hard work on "The Whole Truth" paid off; they were named the 1996 Group of the Year at the Dove Awards and also won Doves for Pop/Contemporary Recorded Album of the Year ("The Whole Truth"), Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year ("The Great Divide") and Special Event Album of the Year ("My Utmost For His Highest").

1996 - 1997: Growing Up

In July 1995 it was announced that the girls signed a major book deal with Simon and Schuster. They were getting noticed by the media and had been featured in major publications such as the Ladies Home Journal and TIME Magazine. The book was written by the girls along with Davin Seay. In it, each member told her life story, and the other chapters were divided into question-and-answer sections were the girls addressed topics like dating, sex, clothes, family life and friends. The girls hoped that this would offer their fans a greater glimpse into their lives and beliefs. Along with writing the book, the girls also began work on their third album. This project was a growing pain of sorts for them. John Mays, the man who had signed them to Word Records, had left his position there as A&R to join Sparrow Records. The girls were left to make all major decisions, and for the first time, were executive producers of their album. They took their time with the record, and the result was "Life Love & Other Mysteries", released on September 9, 1996. The book was also released that same day, bearing the subtitle "Advice and Inspiration from Christian Music's #1 Pop Group."

The media was paying attention to Point of Grace. On the day of the album released, Word Records chartered the Dallas Mavericks' DC-9 jet and the girls flew to five different cities in one day to promote their album. They made stops in Grand Rapids, MI; Chicago, IL; Minneapolis, MN; Oklahoma City, OK and finally ended back in Nashville, TN. During each stop they performed their current single, "Keep The Candle Burning," which went #1 on the day their album released. It became the girls' twelfth consecutive #1 single. A music video with footage from their whirlwind promo tour was released a few months later. The girls announced that they would be co-headlining an arena tour with 4Him, who had just released their album "The Message". The tour hit major markets and was very successful, leading both groups to add a spring leg, which went into early summer of 1997. In 1996, the girls contributed the song "Follow The Star" to the album "Emmanuel: A Musical Celebration Of The Life Of Christ". They were not able to go on the tour, with Avalon taking their place.

"Life Love & Other Mysteries" has been one of their most successful albums to date. It was certified gold by the RIAA in 1997 and platinum in 1999. The album debuted at #1 and stayed at the top of the charts for 10 weeks. It was one of the Top 5 selling albums throughout 1997 and one of the Top 10 selling albums in 1998. The album was nominated for a Grammy for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album in 1997. The girls were also nominated for the 1997 Group of the Year at the Dove Awards and "Keep The Candle Burning" was nominated for Song of the Year. The girls gave a memorable performance of the song during the live The Nashville Network broadcast from the Sommet Center, with the whole audience swaying little flashlights back and forth. The girls continued touring until September of that year and took some time off, due to Denise's first child arriving in October.

1998 - 2000: Artistic Establishment, Media Attention and a Hiatus

Point of Grace began work on their new album in late 1997/early 1998. Brown Bannister, who had previously worked with Steven Curtis Chapman and Amy Grant was brought on to handle production duties. He brought an exciting twist to the girls' music. They were looking for a more progressive, live band sound for this album, and sure enough, there was less programming than their previous efforts. Chris Eaton was also brought along to handle the vocal production for the album, and the results pleased the girls, as the vocal arrangements were far more intricate than before. It would be interesting to apply these vocal arrangements on a live show setting, and on their one-off concert dates in the spring and summer of 1998, the girls previewed some of the new songs, such as "Jesus Is", "Steady On" and "Better Days." They took a pause in the middle of recording for Terry to give birth to her first child in April.

The remaining members appeared at the 1998 Dove Awards without her, where they were nominated for Artist of the Year, Group of the Year and Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year for "Circle Of Friends", but the group went home empty-handed. During The Nashville Network broadcast of the show, pre-show host Kathy Troccoli informed fans of Cole Devore Jones' birth April 15 (a week before the Doves), calling him jokingly Terry and Chris's "tax return".

In July 1998, the girls released their new single, "Steady On" to radio stations, and to promote the album, also entitled Steady On, they released a CD single to Christian bookstores. The single contained the album version of "Steady On", a pop remix and a dance remix, both produced by Tony McAnany. There was also enhanced content on the CD, such as brief bios from the girls, excepts from a new devotional book, a photo gallery and other anecdotes. The album was released on August 4, 1998, and debuted at #1 on the SoundScan sales chart, and remained in the Top 10 for 7 consecutive weeks. It was certified gold by the RIAA in 1999 and platinum in 2002. The lead single and title track soon reached the top of the charts, becoming Point of Grace's 16th consecutive #1 single. Five more singles followed suit, making it a total of 21 consecutive #1's. In October of 1998 the girls launched their first tour as a headliner. "The Steady On Tour" was also the first time they toured with their own band. Led by Dana Cappillino, the musicians breathed new life into Point of Grace's music. In 1999 they won Dove Awards for Group of the Year and Enhanced CD of the Year for the Steady On CD Single. At the 1999 Grammy Awards, they were nominated for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album for Steady On. Heather also got married in 1999, in the middle of the tour. They contributed the song "The River" for the "Experiencing God" album, the song "Forever On And On" for the "Streams" album project, and "Love Won't Leave You Now" for "The Mercy Project", dedicated to Mercy Ministries of America. After the Steady On tour closed in the Spring of 1999, the girls began work on their first Christmas release. The album was recorded in Nashville, TN; London, England and Montreal, Canada. Brown Bannister once again handled the production, and A&R man Brent Bourgeois and vocal arranger Chris Eaton were also brought back on. The orchestra, arranged by Carl Marsh and Ronn Huff was recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London. The end result was a lush, classic collection of holiday favorites and new originals. The girls were proud of their accomplishment, and on September 27, 1999, "A Christmas Story" was released. The fact that "Life Love & Other Mysteries" had just been certified platinum and "The Song Is Alive" had just become their 21st #1 song caught the media's attention once again, and they appeared in several media outlets such as "Donny & Marie", ABC's "The View" and "The 700 Club", where they plugged A Christmas Story and their participation on Amy Grant's Christmas Tour. All four members started the tour together, but Terry, who was 9 months pregnant with her second child (another son, Luke Marshall), left the tour halfway through, leaving Heather, Shelley and Denise to perform as a trio. After the tour ended, the girls took a year-long hiatus, regrouping occasionally for Women of Faith conferences and one or two one-off dates. To keep their fans happy until the release of their next studio album, Word released "Rarities & Remixes" a collection of remixed hits from their first two releases, four songs from their independent album, two rare tracks and a live version of "Circle Of Friends". They also performed four songs at the Billy Graham Crusade in Nashville, TN.

2001 - 2003: A Fresh (re)Start, Girls of Grace, and 24 Hits

After a well-deserved hiatus, the girls regrouped in early 2001 to begin work on the follow-up to 1998's "Steady On". While the girls approached this recording as if it were the first, their experience led them to call all the shots during the process. They worked with six different producers in this album: Brown Bannister, with whom they had previously worked, David Tyson, Nathan Nockels who played keyboards for them in "the Steady On Tour", Tom Laune, Glenn Garrett and Wayne Tester. Each producer brought a different sound from the girls, which is what they were aiming for when they started work on this project. The lead single, "Blue Skies" was an instant radio hit, and soon went #1 on the charts. The album, entitled "Free To Fly" was released on May 1, 2001, and that same week they opened the Dove Awards telecast, shot at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN. They gave a rousing performance of the cut "Begin With Me," complete with a pyrotechnics display. The girls went on to promote the album during the summer of 2001, performing at the major Christian festivals and doing their own concerts, while preparing for "the Free To Fly Tour". There were rumors going around that the tour might be cancelled due to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, but Heather cleared this up on a newsletter, stating that now, more than ever, people needed to hear the message of hope. And in honor of the ones who lost their lives in the attacks, they closed each show with a rousing a cappella rendition of "America The Beautiful."

In early 2002, Point of Grace began work on a project that is dear to their hearts to this day. After years of receiving letters and getting questions from teenage girls, they felt as if God was calling them to do something to make a difference in those girls' lives. The Girls of Grace project slowly became a reality. They worked with the Tennessee Choral Academy, and several female artists such as Rachael Lampa, Joy Williams, Out of Eden and Jaci Velasquez contributed to the project with their talents. Point of Grace previewed the Girls of Grace devotional book, workbook, journal and album during the 2002 GMA Week and premiered one of their songs from the project, "All I'll Ever Need," on the 2002 Dove Awards telecast. The girls continued performing concerts until the summer of 2002, when they took a few months off. Shelley and Heather gave birth to their first children in September, and in the same month, Terry gave birth to her third child. The Girls of Grace album was released on August 20, 2002, and the first conference took place in October of the same year in Lakeland, FL. It was a two-day event. To start things up on Friday night, the girls would give a high-energy concert. On Saturday, there were many speakers, such as Susie Shellenberger of BRIO Magazine, Nancy Alcorn of Mercy Ministries of America, and each member of Point of Grace as well. They addressed topics such as self-esteem, sex, family issues, friendships and relationships with God. There were also musical guests. On the first series of Girls of Grace conferences, Joy Williams helped provide music. Out of Eden was there for the 2003 and 2004 conferences. The Katinas also played in a few select 2004 conferences while Jaime Jamgochian and M.O.C. provided music and worship in 2005 and 2006.

After the single "He Sends His Love" became Point of Grace's 24th consecutive #1, Word Records decided to look into the record books to see if the girls had broken a record. Sure enough, the band Alabama had 21 consecutive #1's, and since the girls had broken the record, Word decided to release "24", a commemorative album featuring the group's 24 #1 hits as well as a new song, "Day By Day", which eventually went #1 as well. Along with the album, they released their very first DVD, entitled 7, which contained the videos to "Jesus Will Still Be There," "Dying To Reach You," "Gather At The River," "Keep The Candle Burning," "Circle Of Friends," "Steady On," and "Begin With Me". They also wrote a book, Keep The Candle Burning, which contained reflections on each of their hits. The girls spent the remainder of 2003 doing one-off shows, Girls of Grace concerts and appeared on Michael W. Smith's Christmastime Tour.

2004 - 2006: Lineup changes and New Sound

In November 2003, Terry Jones announced she would be retiring from Point of Grace. She was finding it harder and harder to handle a full-time music career and being a full-time wife and mother to her family. After much prayer, she wrote a letter which was posted on the group's official website, along with a letter from Heather, Shelley and Denise. They made it clear that they had no intentions of carrying on as a trio, and called upon band leader Dana Cappillino's wife Leigh, to join her husband on tour. Terry's last tour with the group was the 2003 Christmastime Tour with Michael W. Smith, and her last concert was in Little Rock, AR, on February 28, 2004. Leigh had been officially on board since January 1, 2004, but her first concert was in Atlanta, GA, on March 12, 2004.

Leigh's first album with Point of Grace was "I Choose You", released on October 12, 2004. It displayed a rawer, less glossy sound than before from the group. They also worked with producers with whom they had never worked with such as Mark Hammond, Wayne Kirkpatrick and David Zaffiro. Brent Bourgeois, who produced the song "Forever On And On" from the "Streams" album also produced one track. The album was the most progressive of their career up to that point. They spent the remainder of 2004 doing promotional appearances and participating once again in Michael W. Smith's Christmastime Tour along with The Katinas. In February 2005, they began the I Choose You Tour with Scott Krippayne and special guest Charity Von. The tour took the girls through 30 cities, and the show's set lists featured cuts from "I Choose You" as well as songs from their back catalogue. After the tour wrapped, the girls began work on their second Christmas release, again produced by Brown Bannister. The girls spent the summer of 2005 recording the album, which, like "A Christmas Story", featured holiday classics and new original songs. "Winter Wonderland" was released on October 4, 2005. They launched their first Christmas tour, "the Winter Wonderland Tour" in late November of 2005, playing 16 concerts in varied markets. The show had John David Webster, who was featured on "Winter Wonderland", as a special guests, and local choirs participated in every show.

In 2006, the girls resumed their Girls of Grace activities, and began working with Michael Passons, formerly of Avalon, who began to tour with them. On one-off dates, the girls would have acoustic segments where Dana and Michael would be featured on guitar and piano, respectively, along with vocals from the girls. Heather also gave birth to her third child in 2006. The girls launched the 2006 Winter Wonderland Tour with special guest Scott Krippayne.

2007 - 2008: How You Live

The girls spent the first half of 2007 finishing work on their latest release, entitled "How You Live". During that time, they contributed an a cappella rendition of the hymn "All Hail The Power Of Jesus' Name" to the "WoW Hymns" project, which was released in March 2007. The girls promoted the first two singles, "All The World" and "You Are Good" during GMA Week in April, and have been singing a few album cuts during their recent concerts. The album, produced by Brown Bannister finds the girls returning to their musical roots, with the harmonies they are known for, and an earthy sound not yet explored by the girls. They shot a video to the single "How You Live (Turn Up The Music)", in mid-June in Birmingham, AL, and premiered it on their official website in early July. Led by the single "All The World," they released the album "How You Live" in late August. "All The World" was reasonably popular and found its way into the Top 40 in the Mediabase charts. The follow-up single, "How You Live (Turn Up The Music)" did far better, peaking at number five on the Billboard Hot Christian Adult Contemporary Chart. [ [http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/esearch/chart_display.jsp?cfi=354&cfgn=Singles&cfn=Hot+Christian+Adult+Contemporary&ci=3091932&cdi=9681037&cid=03%2F01%2F2008 Top Music Charts - Hot 100 - Billboard 200 - Music Genre Sales ] ] The album peaked at number fifty-six on the Billboard 200 and at number four on the Top Christian & Gospel Album Charts. The unexpected success of the album and single earned the group five Dove Award nominations, including Song of the Year for "How You Live (Turn Up The Music)," Group of the Year and Artist of the Year. "How You Live" was released to country radio in April 2008, entering the country charts at #56.

In February 2008, the girls embarked on the All The World Tour with special guests Selah and Michael Passons, who has become the group's standard keyboard player.

In February 2008, Point Of Grace was nominated for five Dove Awards, including Group of the Year and Artist of The Year. The girls performed their single "How You Live (Turn Up The Music)" with Cindy Morgan, the song's writer. They were backed by ballerinas and group member Denise Jones displayed her guitar skills for the first time on the telecast. They picked up the award for Country Recorded Song of the Year and Cindy Morgan took home the award for Songwriter of the Year, for "How You Live (Turn Up The Music)." On the same week of the Doves telecast, they made their debut on the Grand Ole Opry stage, solidifying their growing acceptance in the country music market.

In April 2008, the group announced a summer tour entitled the Turn Up The Music Tour with special guest Warren Barfield.

In June 2008, after much speculation, Heather Payne announced that she was retiring from Point Of Grace in order to spend time with her four children and to support her husband in his ministry. Shelley Breen, Leigh Cappillino and Denise Jones announced they will continue on as a trio, and are recording new music for the re-release of their album "How You Live", due out in September 2008. In a recent chat session, Shelley Breen noted the group's recurring keyboard player Michael Passons, who is a solo artist and former Avalon member, has also begun singing selections of the group's older four-part harmonies.



Chart singles

*AReleased to country radio in early 2008.


* "Life Love & Other Mysteries", 1996
* "Steady On . . . Secured by Love", 1998
* "Circle of Friends", 1999
* "When Love Came Down at Christmas", 2000
* "Girls of Grace", 2002
* "Keep the Candle Burning: Reflections from Our Favorite Songs", 2003
* "Girls of Grace: Q&A with Point of Grace", 2004
* "Girls of Grace: Make It Real", 2005
* "How You Live", 2008


* "The Whole Truth Tour" with Phillips, Craig & Dean and Cheri Keaggy (1995)
* "The Life Love & Other Mysteries Tour" with 4Him (1996-97)
* "The Steady On Tour" with special guests Watermark (1998-99)
* "An Amy Grant Christmas Tour" (with Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith and The Katinas) (1999)
* "The Free To Fly Tour" with special guests FFH (2001-02)
* "The Christmastime Tour" with Michael W. Smith and The Katinas (2002, 2003, 2004)
* "The I Choose You Tour" with Scott Krippayne and special guest Charity Von (2004)
* "The Winter Wonderland Tour" with special guest John David Webster (2005)
* "The Winter Wonderland Tour" with special guest Scott Krippayne (2006, 2007)
* "The All The World Tour" with special guests Selah and Michael Passons (2008)
* "The Turn Up The Music Tour" with Warren Barfield (2008)

Other Activities

Mercy Ministries

Since the beginning of their career, the members of Point of Grace have had their hearts drawn to reaching out to young women. Early on, they began showing support of Mercy Ministries of America, a non-profit organization that helps young women who face life-controlling issues such as abuse, depression, unplanned pregnancies and eating disorders. The group frequently plugged Mercy Ministries at their concerts, and Nancy Alcorn, the founder, would normally go on the road with them or send a graduate from the Mercy Program to share her testimony about the work of Mercy Ministries. Alcorn is a regular featured speaker at the Girls of Grace conferences.

Compassion International

In 2006, the girls began showing support of Compassion International, a Christian child-sponsorship organization dedicated to the long-term development of children living in poverty all over the world. In March 2006, Heather Payne and her husband Brian took a trip to El Salvador to meet their sponsored child, and in April 2006, Shelley Breen, Denise Jones and Leigh Cappillino travelled to Ecuador to meet their sponsored children. According to the members, their trips were a life-changing experience, and have partnered with Compassion to create awareness for poverty and to urge their listeners to sponsor children as well.


External links

* [http://www.pointofgrace.net/ Official site]
* [http://www.girlsofgrace.com/ Girls of Grace Conferences]
* [http://www.newreleasetuesday.com/article.php?article_id=100 NewReleaseTuesday.com Exclusive Interview with Denise Jones]

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