The inaugural gospel benefit concert presented by the Washington Street Community Center is set for 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Porter Memorial Auditorium at Newton High School, 140 Ram Drive.
Headlining the benefit concert is the legendary Swanee Quintet. The original members and group began back in 1940 singing old-fashioned traditional songs. The Swanee Quintet has performed in almost every state and has performed at Carnegie Hall in NYC, Madison Square Garden, the Apollo Theater and the House of Blues.
Event chairperson Emma Forte said she remembers listening to the Swanee Quintet growing up and anticipates that the event will sell out of the 850 tickets available.
"This is the first time that we have actually sponsored a concert," said Forte. "We decided to start with gospel because there are many, many churches in the area. We partnered with a radio station out of Jackson, the Reverend Sonny Weaver Praise Show, and they in turn were able to contact the Swanee Quintet based out of California to come."
Reverend Robert Bradley will emcee the event with performances from other local groups and members of the community including: Bethlehem Male Chorus, Macedonia Male Chorus, Peeks Chapel Male Chorus, Daniel "Fireball" Petty, Billy Middleton and The Boys of Summer Hill.
"We want to put on a program that is going to encompass our seniors," said Forte. "We felt like if we did this concert, it would give the community an opportunity to come out, dressed and have an evening out and listen to some really great gospel music. Probably it's going to bring back a lot of memories, and hopefully they will come and enjoy."
Proceeds of the gospel benefit concert will support programs and activities of Washington Street Center, an after-school tutorial center for grades K-5. Tutorial is Mondays - Thursdays, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Fridays are Fun and Fitness days where the students have the opportunity to go on field trips and participate in enrichment activities outside the center.
"We have students from Oxford of Emory as well as GPC students on staff to help facilitate with the tutoring," said Forte. "Right now, the enrollment is low (at 24 children), so basically, it's one-on-one because we have so many tutors coming in."
Forte said that they are already making plans for the second annual gospel concert next year.
Tickets are available now $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Tickets will also be available tomorrow, Oct. 13 at the Change the World Day 2012 event hosted by the Covington First United Methodist Church, 1113 Conyers Street. Stop by the Washington Street table to purchase your tickets.
For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Emma Forte at (770) 786-4002 or visit washingtonstreetcommunitycenter.org.