Voices of Unity thanks city for support with free concert

| December 7, 2016
Marshall White directs the world champion Voices of Unity during a recent thank you concert in Fort  Wayne.

Marshall White directs the world champion Voices of Unity during a recent thank you concert in Fort Wayne.

By K.A. Davis

Special to Frost Illustrated

FORT WAYEN—The Voices of Unity choir expressed their appreciation, in the form of song, to a crowd of sponsors, donors, family and friends who helped to make their three-country, nine-city European tour possible. The free  Journey to the Vatican Thank You Celebration took place on Oct. 6 at New Covenant Worship Center, 3420 E. Paulding Road.

The Voices of Unity, which was founded and is directed by Marshall White, embarked on an historic European tour that included nine performances and the opportunity to sing during an entire Mass at the Vatican. The trip, which ran from June 29 to July 13, had the choir touring throughout Italy and had them participate in competitions in Vienna, Austria and Budapest, Hungary.

The trip would not have been possible without the support of Fort Wayne donors and the entire community, White said.

“I am so grateful to God for being able to raise the bar, in the life of my students,” said White, director and life coach. “Fort Wayne, I truly thank you!”

The Voice of Unity have thrilled audience abroad and here at home in Fort Wayne.

The Voice of Unity have thrilled audience abroad and here at home in Fort Wayne.

The celebration included an opening prayer by Pastor Luther Whitfield, leader of the host church, and remarks by Star 88.3 radio personality Melissa Montana, who served as MC for the event.

Songstress Mikki Curry led the choir on a lively rendition of “Celebration,” the popular Kool & The Gang hit song.

A European Tour highlight video was played for the audience. The video featured clips from performances, interviews with Italian tour guides, expressions of gratitude to large donors and an interview with Dr. Henry Leck, founder and artistic director of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir. Leck has worked with Unity before and conducted the performance in Budapest.

Choir member Donta Dozier told the audience that, as one of the students who went on tour, he really enjoyed the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica, because it was so big and features such unique and creative architecture.

The tour included about 85 travelers, including 47 current choir members and alumni, five band members and tour personnel and chaperones.

Parent chaperone Paula Bridges praised Voices of Unity for providing students the opportunity to broaden their horizons and travel to places they might not otherwise be able to see. At the same time, the choir serves to teach music, promote values and build character. Above all, White teaches Unity members to strive for “excellence—and nothing less,” in all areas of their lives.

Voices of Unity gained international acclaim in 2010 when it earned the Grand Champion title at the World Choir Games in China. Since then, the choir has “brought home the gold” at the 2012 World Choir Games in Cincinnati and the 2014 World Choir Games in Riga, Latvia, and performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

White gave special recognition to Campaign Chairs Chuck and Lisa Surack, of Sweetwater Sound, and Tim and Libby Ash, of the Ash Foundation, for their continued support and for helping Voices of Unity realize their vision of being recognized, nationally and internationally.

Noting the positive feedback Unity received from others in Europe, White also gave thanks to fans and friends outside of Fort Wayne for their support.  “What this tour did for our students will impact their lives forever, and what our students did for the people of Europe will impact their lives forever.”

Awards were also given to Jordan Applegate, who served as tour manager, and Niyoki Chapman, who served as campaign manager. Chapman later presented White with a plaque for his hard work and dedication to carrying out his vision to have Unity spread its message of hope throughout the world.

The choir sang “Total Praise,” in English and Italian and “Oh, Happy Day.”

The evening ended with light refreshments of cake, cookies and punch.

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Category: Arts, Community, Education, International, Local, National

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Frost Illustrated is Fort Wayne's oldest weekly newspaper. Your Independent Voice in the Community, featuring news & views of African Americans since 1968.

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