It's the time of the year when those in the music industry are on the edge of their seats, counting each second leading up to the most prestigious awards ceremony in the history of rock and roll. The Grammy Awards give fans the chance to see all of their favorite stars, looking their best while they strut their stuff. But for those artists up for the top trophies, it can be downright nerve-racking—the nomination outcome can make or break their career.

Every year there are a few surprises, and this year's no exception. One of the biggest surprises is in the "Best Rock Gospel Album" category. Believe it or not, The Choir is up for the top honor in the Christian category thanks to their acclaimed Flap Your Wings disc, despite the fact it received no radio airplay or major label distribution. Although group members Steve Hindalong, Derri Daugherty, Dan Michaels, and Tim Chandler are gearing up for the gigantic telecast and subsequent private functions, even they are completely shocked with the announcement. "I'm still at the stage where I think it's very funny," quips Daugherty between spurts of laughter. "I don't have a clue how the record got nominated. We just put it out because we wanted to do it. There was no agenda and no push to get the record into the hands of anyone but our immediate fan base."

Not only was the disc recorded just for fun, but it was released independently on a shoestring budget. "It was the lowest-budget record that we spent the least amount of time making during our entire career," chuckles Hindalong. "But after all we've done as a band to build up this history, it's given us a great way to look at our career and feel very satisfied."

In spite of the satisfaction that's come with the possibility of taking home that Grammy, the group also recalls the times they yearned for such attention outside of their loyal followers. The Choir was a purveyor of alternative sounds to Christian circles, but their introspective and at times abstract lyrics, as well as experimental instrumentation, didn't fall within the parameters of the CCM mold throughout the '80s. "We've always been pleased that we could release as many records as we did, but at the same time, each time we put something out, it was commercially unsuccessful," recalls Michaels. "We have worked for labels that were willing to give us a lot of freedom, but they also put on a lot of deadline pressure. When you're rushed, the creative process is always stymied, but we always seemed to break those deadlines, appearing to go against the flow even more."

However, The Choir did earn top nods on various CCM Magazine and Campus Life reader's polls in the late '80s and early '90s. The press placements may not have made them a household name, but they kept plugging along. "We always hoped we would 'make it big,' but we knew we were fortunate to just play the next show on our schedule and record the next record in our catalogue," insists Michaels. "I really wish we could have had a bigger role, but I certainly don't wish that any of the bands in the spotlight over us would have had a lesser role."

Ironically, some group members' current roles in the music industry are right in the heart of the same industry associated with overlooking The Choir. Hindalong is the most visible through his production work with Common Children and, most recently, the City on a Hill worship collection. City on a Hill is known for bringing together a diverse group of today's alternative and more mainstream artists to pour out their hearts in praise to God. In a sense, The Choir was doing that long before it was commonplace in Christian music, most notably on their At the Foot of the Cross series.

Fans have often wondered if the band will continue with the series, but according to Michaels, chances are "doubtful, because City on a Hill is really a follow-up to those records. If you look at the worshipful elements The Choir tried to convey with the first two At the Foot of the Cross discs, City on a Hill seems to pick up on that tradition."

Fans also wonder if they'll see any other new material from the band, aside from Flap Your Wings. "I don't know if there will be another new album, but I can tell you that we've said our last six records or so would be our last," shares Hindalong. Daugherty verifies that they've tried to call it quits before, but for him the desire is still there. "I'd love to do another record and be in a position to have a record company behind it," he proclaims. "I love working with a guy like Steve in the studio and would always be open to working on projects with someone who is so extremely talented."

The chance for seeing new music is clearly much better than the possibility of The Choir launching a full-blown tour. "We each have too much going on to get on a bus and go tour," confirms Daugherty. "I certainly miss playing for the people we've become friends with over the years, but I don't miss traveling through the night to get to the next gig and spending so much time away from my family."

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Plus, Hindalong would rather use the experiences from the road and in the studio to help other artists. "Now I get my whole rush from working behind the scenes," he gushes. "I didn't find a whole lot of personal joy from the stage route, whereas I truly love producing and helping other artists realize their vision."

Whether or not the group records another project, or goes on the road to support it, the fingerprints of spiritual and musical growth will always be there. If anything, the Grammy nomination has reaffirmed the group's legacy, which will undoubtedly last past their lifetimes. "We don't have any major regrets about anything we've ever done together," affirms Hindalong. "We've collectively and individually come a long way since we formed The Choir, and that's what we're most proud of. If we get a Grammy to add to that list, it'd simply be icing on the cake."

Listen to song clips from The Choir's Grammy nominated album, Flap Your Wings, at