Grammy, Dove and Stellar award winning singer, musician, songwriter and producer Fred Hammond is bringing “God, Love and Romance” to the West Side Theatre Saturday night.

The multi-platinum performer whose career began as a bass guitarist for gospel family greats the Winans, then escalated as a founding member of the group Commissioned and Radical for Christ is gracing West Side’s stage for the first time. “He’s performed in Gary many times in the past, but this is an honor and a life-long goal to have him come to West Side,” West Side Theare Guild artistic director Mark Spencer said.

“Mr. Hammond is one of those artists we’ve worked at getting to perform here, I would say for the last 10 years we’ve battled over schedule conflicts. He fits the guild’s mission of entertaining and educating the community from ages 8 to 80. He is popular enough for mainstream but delivers a positive message,” Spencer said.

Hammond is a solo artist under Verity Records.

The opening act for Hammond is Merrillville resident Heather Reneé Cooper, winner of the West Side Theatre Guild’s “Open 4 Fred in Gary” singing competition.

Area soloists and duos uploaded videos of them singing a gospel song onto a Facebook fan page for the contest and fans voted for their favorite performer. Cooper won for her performance of “Desperation.”

“Excitement isn’t even the word to describe opening for Fred Hammond! I grew up listening to his music; my father and I are huge fans,” she said.

Cooper is a member of and works at The Rock Church, 5400 W. 29th Ave., Gary, where her uncle Phil Endris is the pastor.

Spencer said he is happy for Cooper, adding that she has a great voice.