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By Gerianne Wright
The daughter of the late, great Ray Charles, Sheila Raye, will join SUNY Plattsburgh’s Gospel Choir for its silver anniversary celebration at this year’s GospelFest on Saturday, April 30 at 7 p.m. in E. Glenn Giltz Auditorium.
The concert is part of a three-day event that marks the choir’s 25th anniversary and, according to its artistic director, Dr. Dexter Criss, promises “to be special as past members and friends join to celebrate their love for the choir, college and gospel music.”
The weekend kicks off with an endowment dinner and dance Friday, April 29 beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Warren Ballrooms, Angell College Center. Hosted by Gospel Choir alumna Jodi Powell with entertainment by the local improv troupe, “Completely Stranded,” proceeds will benefit the Plattsburgh Gospel Choir Endowment administered through the Plattsburgh College Foundation. Tickets to this event are $50 general admission; $35 for children 4-12; and free under 3.
On Saturday, Sheila Raye Charles will take the stage with the choir during its annual GospelFest concert.
“(Charles’) life has been a bumpy ride,” Criss said. “But she is now traveling the globe sharing her unique story and singing her and her father’s songs.”
In addition to Charles’ performance, the choir, the Step Team, Praise Dance Team and Silver Anniversary Alumni Choir will perform as well, with many coming from the 25-year repertoire, including “We Have Come into This House,” “Order My Steps,” “Solid Rock,” “You Should Be a Witness,” and “The Blessing of Abraham,” among others.
The choir fuses traditional gospel, urban gospel, contemporary Christian music, European harmonies, Caribbean and Afrocentric rhythms and overtones, Criss said.
The choir has traveled around the country and internationally to Japan, Toronto, Montreal and the Caribbean island of St. Martin/St. Maarten. Tickets to GospelFest are $18 in advance and $20 at the door for general admission, $8 advance and $10 at the door for children 4-12; and free under 3.
A farewell fellowship breakfast with guest speaker Dr. Melvin Jenkins and the Victory Christian Assembly Praise Team will be held Sunday, May 1 at 9 a.m. in Plattsburgh City Hall Auditorium. Jenkins is founder and pastor of Victory Christian Assembly in Indiana, Pa. Tickets for the breakfast are $15 general admission; $10 students; and free under 3.
Tickets for all events can be purchased at the Angell College Center desk; Christian Supply Center, 164 Prospect Ave., Plattsburgh; the Gospel Choir office in 133 Hawkins Hall; and Advance Music in Burlington, Vt. and at http://plattsburgh.universitytickets.com
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