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Event to spotlight gospel performers


Published: Wed, March 22, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.


The program will recognize artists who 'may not be a household name.'
VINDICATOR STAFF REPORT
LIBERTY -- Local gospel music program host Michelle Stevenson will present a showcase of independent gospel artists at the Holiday Inn MetroPlex at 5 p.m. Saturday.
"What we're doing is a national music awards," Stevenson said. "There will be a lot of performances, there will be a little bit of fashion, and we'll be having a dinner."
Though Stevenson previously held similar showcases in 2002 and 2004, those events featured only local artists, while this year's showcase will feature performers from across the country.
"We've got people coming from California, we've got people coming from New York," she said. "We have close to 20 people being recognized, and that's local and out of state."
Artists featured at previous showcases included Kenny Aldridge, The Robinson Brothers and David Croyal.
Stevenson, who hosts "The Power of Gospel Music" on the Trumbull and Mahoning County community access channels, said she got the idea for such a showcase when she hosted a Sunday night Christian radio show on WANR in Warren, on which she interviewed independent artists.
"Their writing ability is very good, their music production is excellent, and many of them have shared excellent testimonies [on] how God has changed their lives, and many of their lyrics reflect many of their experiences," Stevenson said.
TV stations sent names
For this year's showcase, Stevenson received names from gospel music television stations all over the country, which include Gospel Search TV in Oakland, Calif.; Gospel News TV media in Tuskegee, Ala.; and Family Life TV in Kittanning, Pa.
"They do Christian programming where they have artists coming in all the time," Stevenson said.
Stevenson said guests at the showcase will have the chance to experience a variety of styles.
"It's an awesome group of artists with all different styles in gospel music," she said. "Southern gospel, contemporary and traditional gospel."
Stevenson stressed that the performers at the event are not amateurs but experienced artists who have already invested time and money in their careers.
"A lot of these people have been singing and ministering all their lives and they may not be a household name," she said. "But that does not mean they are not recognized in the communities they live in and in different parts of the country."
But unlike "American Idol," this showcase is a recognition awards show that will not award a monetary prize to participants.
"They're just coming to network and be part of what we're doing," Stevenson said. "We are recognizing people for their music, their CDs and their careers."
Proceeds aid camp
Proceeds from the showcase will go toward a summer program for children with disabilities called Summer Therapy Center.
Stevenson said this was the goal of the previous showcases; however, the events failed to generate enough profit to get the program off the ground. To cut costs, she decided to move from a two-day celebration to a one-day event.
"We're hoping to be able to run our first class [this summer]," Stevenson said.
With the showcase, Stevenson said she hopes to provide support for musicians in the world of gospel.
"We really just wanted to be a blessing and encourage these artists to continue doing what they do," she said.
Guests can buy dinner tickets for $40 in advance or $50 at the door. For tickets and more information call Stevenson in Warren at (330) 395-6755 or Natalie Scott in Youngstown at (330) 270-0483.


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