Beverly Still never met most of the country music artists who helped honour both her and her granddaughter, Karen Lee Batten, last night.
But that didn’t quell the applause from almost 800 guests as it echoed through the Molson Canadian Theatre (formerly the Red Robinson Theatre) at the Hard Rock Casino Sunday night.
The roar was almost as much for Still – who died Thursday doing what she loved, listening to music – as it was for Batten, who was unexpectedly called up on stage to be receive the B.C. Country Music Association‘s president’s citation.
Dumbfounded and almost speechless receiving the award, the Langley singer could only think to celebrate its receipt with her grandma, who had always been such an inspiration and support to her.
“She was one of the most beautiful, extraordinary people in the world who just loved everyone,” said Batten, who was also co-hosted the evening’s awards ceremony with Wendell Ferguson.
This award was presented by BCCMA president Linda Corscadden, who before divulging the winner’s name listed off a number of her traits.
“Beautiful soul, inside and out… The first person to always step up to the plate, ask what I need, offers to help, and jumps on board with every event… Not only a multi-award winner and amazing talented artist, but a great sounding board as well,” Corscadden said.
Not having eaten anything all day – in part due to being busy, and part due to nerves of taking on the co-host job at the awards for the first time – Batten admitted she was downstairs in her green room nibbling on some cheese and crackers when she was suddenly and unexpectedly ordered back up to the stage immediately.
She panicked, fearing she’s forgotten something important in the itinerary, and almost ran back up to the main floor event, only to be standing stage right when Corscadden announced the special award’s winner.
“I don’t know what to say… Thank you so, so much,” Batten said, choking back tears and quickly admiring her glass award. “This really means a lot to me.”
She first joined the industry in 2003, after winning the Talent on Tape competition, was a contender in inaugural Canadian Idol in 2004, released her first CD in 2005, and hasn’t looked back.
“This organization means the world to me,” Batten said. “I’ll forever hold you guys near and dear to my heart.”
In addition to the president’s citation, Batten was also recipient of the female vocalist of the year award – again.
Admittedly, Batten didn’t expect either award. In fact, minutes before her name was called to accept the female vocalist honour, she leaned over to a friend and country music colleague, Becca Hess, and whispered: “I totally think you’ve got this one.”
Well, Batten was wrong.
This was the sixth time that Batten received this award, previously honoured in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2014, 2015 (when she tied with Madeline Merlo).
Batten is preparing to press her third career album on Tuesday, and release the 11-song album – recorded entirely in Alabama – to the public early in the new year. It’s called Under the Covers in Muscle Shoals.
Other Langley names
There were also a few other Langley names on the awards list for the 41st annual BCCMA awards.
Former Langleyite Aaron Pritchett won male vocalist and video of the year of the year, while BCCMA president and another former Langleyite, Corscadden, received the Don Adam’s country music person of the year.
The big winner at this year’s awards was Washboard Union. Langley’s Dallas Smith stepped back from the awards this year, asking to be excluded because of his successes in the past year.
• Stay tuned to the Langley Advance for more about Batten’s new album