By Michael Williams
After 2,854 shows in Pigeon Forge, the Blackwoods are preparing to take their final bow on December 31. R.W. Blackwood and his wife Donna host the morning show at the Smoky Mountain Opry where they perform with several other entertainers. After a successful 15-year run in Pigeon Forge, the Blackwoods are moving their show to the Starlite Theatre in Branson to be near their two children and 11 grandchildren.
Award-winning ventriloquists Bob and Marty Hamill have rejoined the Blackwoods for their farewell show. The Hamills were presented with the highest honor a ventriloquist can receive at the 34th International VentHaven Ventriloquist Convention in 2010: The W. S. Berger Distinguished Service Award.
The Blackwoods are one of the most highly acclaimed gospel groups of all time. Through the years, R. W. and Donna and members of the Blackwood family have recorded more than 200 albums. They have won eight Grammy awards (including one with Barbara Mandrell and three with Porter Wagner), 27 Dove Awards, five All-American Music Awards, the Publisher’s Choice Diamond Award, and have sold more than 60 million records.
The Blackwoods have been seen on every major television and radio network. They have been inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, Grammy Hall of Fame, The Gospel Music Association (GMA) Hall of Fame, the Southern Gospel Music Association (SGMA) Museum and Hall of Fame and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
The Blackwoods are considered a dynasty of gospel music. Seven generations have been performing gospel music since 1899.