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Classic’s gospel

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This year’s Circle City Classic activities are around the corner and a fitting option is available for anyone looking to have a fun and inspirational time.

The Classic Gospel Music Explosion will take place Friday, Oct. 5 at 7:30 at the Madame Walker Theatre, 617 Indiana Ave.

Featured guests will include singer Shirley Murdock, comedian T.P. Hearn, the Winston-Salem State University Burke Singers, the Y-Zone Youth Choir, popular vocal quintet Joshua and 8-year-old saxophonist Bryan Thompson.

Reginald Barney, whose Joyful Sounds Productions company presents the Gospel Music Explosion, said this year’s event will be unforgettable.

“It’s going to be a life changing experience. Even if you haven’t been going in the direction of a spiritual lifestyle,” Barney said. “We’ll have an awesome lineup that will have you doing everything from praising on your feet to laughing.”

Barney, who also serves as pastor of It Is Well Ministries with his wife Beverly, noted that everyone, regardless of denomination or style of worship, can look forward to feeling comfortable during the affair.

“It will give you a great opportunity to fellowship and enjoy positive music without being in an environment where you’re confined by labels,” Barney added.

Joyful Sounds Productions was approached by Indiana Black Expo Inc, a co-sponsor of Circle City Classic, 15 years ago to offer the first Gospel Music Explosion.

Since that time the Barneys, who also have a radio program that airs on WTLC-AM (1310), have brought other artists such as Shirley Caesar, Yolanda Adams, Deitrick Haddon, the Chicago Mass Choir, the Williams brothers and other gospel legends.

Barney is excited about bringing Murdock, who is headlining the event. She first gained fame during the 1980s singing Top Ten R&B songs such as “As We Lay,” “Husband” and “Go on Without You.”

“As We Lay,” which highlighted a rendezvous between two married individuals, generated sharp criticism in the Christian community, where Murdock was raised.

“A lot of people want to hold me hostage because of that song, although it never glorified infidelity,” Murdock said recently. “The fact that it was infidelity got your attention, but the meat of the song was about consequences, and hindsight being 20/20.”

In the late ‘90s, following the deaths of her mother and R&B musician Roger Troutman, a friend and musical mentor, Murdock returned to her gospel roots, and was featured on the 2000 T.D. Jakes compilation “Sacred Love Songs.”

Her first full gospel album, 2002’s “Home” was very well received and reached Billboard’s Top Ten. Her current release, “Soul Food” was released this year on the Indianapolis Tyscot label.

“I wanted this CD to reflect total ministry because we’re body, soul and spirit,” Murdock said. “A lot of times, in the body of Christ, we aren’t balanced. We know how to do church, but do we know how to be a good wife or husband and develop relationships? So, I wanted this CD to speak to every part of who we are.”

Hearn, who has connections to Indianapolis, is a nationally known comedian who has appeared on programs such as BET’s Comic View and Def Comedy Jam.

He recently switched his material to an inspirational, faith-based theme.

For more information about the Circle City Classic Gospel Music Explosion call (317) 319-0494. Tickets are $12.50 in advance, $15 day of show and $10 per person in groups of 10 or more. Tickets can be purchased at Berean Bookstore, 5062 W. Pike Plaza Road, or at Turning Point Bookstore, 4554 N. Post Road.

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