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Gospel Star Leads Choir at Unity Fest

One of Gospel’s hottest artists, Dr. Norman Hutchins, will lead the Unity Festival 2003 Choir in a 6 p.m. Thursday workshop in preparation for its performance Sept. 6 at Unity Festival on Seneca Lake in Geneva. The choir is open to the public and provides a rare opportunity for Finger Lakes residents to perform with a national Gospel star. The choir’s first workshop begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4, at Mount Calvary Church of God in Christ, 21 Milton St., Geneva. The church will also host the choir’s Friday rehearsal. The public is invited to pre-register for the choir by calling Community Unified Today, Inc., sponsor of Unity Festival and Hutchins’ visit to Geneva. CUT’s number is 1-877-819-0534. Choir members can also register at the Thursday workshop. Unity Festival, celebrating diversity, will begins at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5, and continues through 11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, at Lakeshore Park in Geneva. Admission is free and parking is $3. Performers include: Prime Time Funk, Agonal Rhythm, Pangaia Steel Band, Orchesta Antonetti, Michael Hashim Jazz, Gym Class Heroes, The Dinner Dogs, Youth Talent Show, Let’s Make Music!, GospelFest with Marlowe Smith and Hasan “DJ Maestro” Stephens of Power 106.9. Fireworks will begin after dark on Saturday and family activities include a scrap art project from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, puppet-making, clowns, mimes, a juggler and a tango-dancing class. Learn history through the Buffalo Soldiers and a Frederick Douglass re-enactor. A punt-pass-kick contest begins at 10 a.m. Sept. 6. Free Vitagrant health screenings will be held throughout the festival. The theme of the Unity Festival Choir workshop is “7 Levels of Praise.” Friday’s rehearsal , also at Mount Calvary Church, will be from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Hutchins and the choir will perform at Unity Festival at 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6. Hutchins has been on the Billboard Charts’ Top 10 with “Nobody But You” and “Battlefield.“ Unity Fest Choir registration fee is $15 per person, with a family rate available. The registration fee includes one free Unity Fest 2003 parking pass, light buffet meal, workshop materials and two training sessions with Hutchins. The workshop and choir are open to the public. Churches from around the Finger Lakes (including Geneva, Elmira, Rochester, etc) will participate. At least 100 people are expected to join the choir. No choir experience is necessary. Information on Unity Fest is available at www.cutinc.org. Admission to Unity Festival is free. Parking is $3 per car.

Norman Hutchins Bio A Grammy and Stellar Award nominee, Norman Hutchins grew up in Delaware and began preaching at age 8. He continued preaching through high school and received a masters degree in biblical counseling and a doctorate in church administration. By the early 1990s, Hutchins was focusing on his music ministry, in addition to preaching. A highlight of his musical career was conducting a 1,000-voice multi-cultural choir singing one of his arrangements at the Olympic Festival at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Hutchins has appeared as a guest on TBN, BET and The Word Channel. He served as executive minister of music for the West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles. He also served as the church’s director of social services, ministering to more than 18,000 members. Well known for “Emmanuel,” released in 2001 on the “JDI Christmas” CD, Hutchins returned to Delaware in 2001. He and his wife Karen live in Dover, Del., where Hutchins is chief executive officer of “Frontline Ministries, Inc.” and TGM Records (The Home of Traditional Gospel Music). He is also president and founder of the Eastern Shore Mass Choir. More information about Hutchins is available on-line at www.jdirecords.com.

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