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Fred Hammond

Fred Hammond

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Updated: January 16, 2013 1:48PM



The 44th ecumenical service honoring the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. starts at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21, inside the West Side Theatre Guild auditorium at West Side Leadership Academy, 900 Gerry St.

The Ecumenical Committee of Northwest Indiana’s board secretary, the Rev. Dwight Gardner of Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, is overseeing the service.

“Our president, the Rev. Pharis Evans Sr. of Clark Road Missionary Baptist Church, called me to his office and asked that I take over the coordination of the program,” Gardner said, adding that he’s served on the board for six years.

He added that this year’s program will be different as there will not be a live speaker. Instead, the public is invited to attend and view the presidential inauguration and address from re-elected President Barack Obama.

“We will have large screens streaming the ceremonial broadcast from Washington, D.C. We feel this is a perfect way to honor King. Plus, this is our 44th year for the ecumenical service, Obama is our 44th president and Jan. 21 is also the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation,” Gardner said.

Other parts of the program include the committee’s tribute to Gary Teachers Union President Sandra Irons, the Rev. L. Dolton Hall Jr. of Gethsemane Baptist Church and the Rev. Raymond McDonald II, who was board president last year.

Gardner said all three were devoted volunteers to the committee. The ecumenical service is free.

I am saddened by the passing of Tuskegee Airman, retired teacher, principal and Gary native Quentin P. Smith, who died Jan. 15 at age 94.

I am honored to have known this giant of a gentleman with the profound presence and a booming voice with a great smile. Smith was a walking history lesson and those who had the honor of listening to his stories are better for it.

Grammy and Stellar Gospel Award-winning gospel singer, musician, songwriter and producer Fred Hammond is coming to the West Side Theatre Guild Feb. 16.

As part of the event, a competition, “Open 4 Fred in Gary,” is under way. If you perform a solo or a duet, this is the contest for you.

The rules are: upload a video of you singing your favorite gospel song to YouTube, then “share” the video on the Open 4 Fred in Gary Facebook page and tell all of your friends to “Like” your video.

The winner will open for Fred Hammond at West Side Feb. 16. Deadline for the contest is Feb. 2.



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