By Maria-Jose Subiria
Gospel artists, Norman Hutchins and Fred Hammond, will not be in attendance, but their music will be featured in the performances of a host of soloists at the first "Concert On the Hill" at the Macedonia African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Rex, on Jan. 8.
"This is the first time we've done a concert," said the Rev. Eschol Harrell, of the Macedonia AME Church. When he is not serving the flock at Macedonia, Harrell is a commercial printing specialist for the Clayton News Daily, in Jonesboro.
Rev. Harrell, along with Brother Kelvin Thomas, and Rev. Jimmy Moss, of Macedonia, will render solo selections. Other solo performers include Brandon Ross, Jessica Richardson and Khadija Gadis.
The concert will start at 5 p.m., at the main sanctuary of the church, at 6235 Stagecoach Road, in Rex, near the border for Clayton and Henry counties.
The two-hour concert is free, but the church is seeking donations of at least $5, to help it meet its goal of raising $25,000, to assist in paying off certain church debts, Harrell acknowledged.
In past years, Harrell said, the church has hosted gospel showcases, in which local talent from metro Atlanta performed, but the upcoming concert marks the first time church faculty and members are performing.
When asked if his nerves will be a bit on edge before his performance, Harrell said, "I've done it enough to know how to entertain."
Performers will sing gospel music that will deliver messages of praise and worship to patrons attending the concert, he said.
"The concert will not only bless them [audience] through song, but also through worship," said Wayne Collins, a member of the Board of Officers for the Macedonia AME Church.
Harrell explained that the concert is a fund-raiser that will lead into the annual "Men's Day Event." It is the second fund-raiser the church will conduct to assist in introducing the later, annual event.
The free "Men's Day Event," will be held on Feb. 27, at 10:45 a.m., and 3 p.m., at the main sanctuary of the church. The event encourages men -- young and old -- to come together, discuss issues and better their spiritual lives.
Harrell added that there is a similar event for women, entitled the "Women's Day Event," which will occur on the fourth Sunday of September 2011.
He said the church brainstormed to see if there could be a different fund-raising event, and the concert developed through planning.
"People like gospel music, and we thought it would be a good idea for people to come out," he said. "Something different."