Special to Frost Illustrated
FORT WAYNE—The world champion gold medal winning Voices of Unity Youth Choir are preparing for an eventful 2014 starting the year off with their annual Praise Celebration Concert, featuring special guests from churches throughout the city and region.
Praise Celebration is a unique concert series in Fort Wayne that is “bringing mainstream church music to the arts community!” The purpose of this concert series is to create a community arts platform for mainstream church music to be showcased in a public setting outside of the church. This concert features local and national worship leaders as featured guests who will perform with our premier World Champion Voices of Unity Youth Choir, under the direction of Marshall White.
Local worship leaders performing in this year’s concert include: Pastor Mozell Davis of Tree of Life Baptist Church, Peggy Lattimore-Rivera and Wayne Starks of Summit Church, GorDon Martin of Imani Baptist Temple, June McCullough of The Bridge Community Church, Craig Eakright of Grace Gathering, Pastor Gary Bush, Sr. of Abundant Love Church, Karri Neidhardt of First Assembly of God, Karmen Wilson of Emmanuel Baptist Church and Chris Ford of Abundant Life Church.
Organizers say this new concept has been well received by the “City of Churches,” boasting record audience participation over the past two years, when this second series (Praise Celebration) began. Marshall White, founder and CEO of UNITY, and the director and life coach for Voices of Unity Youth Choir has conducted January concerts for the past 12 years. The first 10-year series was dubbed “Soulful Holiday Celebration,” mixing spiritual and holiday sounds into an energized musical production. White features renowned musicians such as Lance Tolbert (Los Angeles), Dr. Tyron Cooper (Bloomington, Ind.), and Derek Reeves (Fort Wayne)..
This year’s concert spearheads a year planned with incredible opportunities for the youth involved with this organization. In April, they are scheduled to headline a concert at Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio; in June they will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in the American Music Performance Nationals for High School & Youth Choirs; in July they will defend their gold in Popular and Gospel music categories in Riga, Latvia at the Eighth World Choir Games.
To say the experience of being a member of this organization is invigorating and life changing would be an understatement.
“Some of these children will never leave the city, if not given these opportunities”, said White. “We are providing tangible life lessons by exposing children to real life in the real world.”
He said that their motto is “Excellence and nothing less…Our children are excellent ambassadors for the city.”
The concert is scheduled for Jan. 12, at IPFW Rhinehart Music Center. Ticket prices are: $16 for adults, $11 for senior citizens and students, and $6 for all children 12 years or younger. UPAF will collecting canned goods during this concert. Children bringing canned goods to the concert will be admitted free. Tickets may be purchased online at: www.ipfw.edu/tickets.