Five Lee Alumni Win Dove Awards

Cleveland, TN–Five Lee University alumni were recently named 2020 Dove Award winners.

“We are thrilled to see our Lee music alumni recognized in such an exciting way,” said Dr. William Green, dean of Lee’s School of Music. “We are so proud of the work of these fine musicians.”

Alumni winners include Cliff Duren, Bradley Knight, Russell Mauldin, Phil Nitz, and Christopher Phillips.

Duren, Knight, and Mauldin won Choral Collection of the Year as arrangers of “Top Anthem Collection,” along with other collaborators.

Duren, Nitz, and Phillips won Musical of the Year for their work on “Messiah Overcame, An Easter Musical” as arrangers and orchestrators, along with other collaborators.

Duren received a master’s degree in church music from Lee in 2004. He currently serves as the worship pastor at First Baptist Woodstock, in Woodstock, Georgia. In 2017 he wrote his first film score for the faith-based film “Champion” and orchestrated on the Michael English and Larnelle Harris 2017 album releases.

Knight is a 1999 Lee graduate and has been president at Minister of Funk Music LLC since 2011. He is also the staff arranger at Brooklyn Tabernacle Church and an in-demand arranger by church music publishing companies across the country. He has contributed to the sound of many artists, including Bill Gaither’s “Homecoming Series,” The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, Lee Greenwood, LeAnn Rimes, and many more. He also wrote orchestrations for the Sherwood Pictures film, “Courageous,” and penned all the arrangements for the Lee University Voices of Lee as they competed on NBC’s The Sing Off in 2009.

Mauldin graduated from Lee in 2018 with a master’s degree in religion. He is currently the associate pastor at Seeds Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and a partner at Maestro Productions in Brentwood, Tennessee. Mauldin is an arranger, orchestrator, conductor, vocalist, composer and producer.

Nitz is a freelance arranger, orchestrator, and vocalist. He graduated from Lee in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in music business, then returned to Lee to earn a master’s degree in church music. He is currently the staff arranger and worship leader at Christ Church Nashville. Nitz, also a Voices of Lee alum, recently contributed arrangements for the Voices’ Christmas record.

“My time at Lee most definitely influenced any success I’ve had,” said Nitz.

Phillips is the director of worship and arts at Christ Church Nashville. He is an artist, producer, and arranger and has won over 10 Dove Awards. Phillips graduated from Lee in 2003 with a degree in piano performance and was also a member of Voices of Lee.

“Lee University alumni have made and continue to make a significant positive impact in the Christian music industry,” Dr. Randy Sheeks, associate professor of music at Lee. “Our alumni are leaders in the field, and we at Lee, particularly the School of Music, are very proud of them.”

Since 1970, the GMA Dove Awards has celebrated rich musical diversity and honored excellence in Christian music. Awards are presented to individuals representing genres spanning styles of modern rock to contemporary pop to southern gospel.

To learn more about these awards, visit

(Source: Lee University)

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