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Tenor Claude McKnight, founder of the a cappella sextet Take 6 is just one of the stars participating in the Festival of Praise Tour, a 48-city tour now in its 4th year.  He and his fellow Take 6 members, comprised of arranger and tenor Mark Kibble; Alvin Chea, bass, Joey Kibble, tenor; baritone Khristian Dentley and David Thomas, tenor, join  Fred Hammond, Donnie McClurkin, James Fortune and Pastor Charles Jenkins at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts in the Bronx, NY, on Sunday, April 29th at 6:00 p.m., for the show titled Texture of a Man, which promises to be an evening of soul-stirring music.

“I started a quartet known as Alliance when I was a freshman at Oakwood University, a 7th Day Adventist school in Huntsville, Ala,” McKnight, who is Brian McKnight’s brother, says. “It became a quintet when Mark Kibble joined and then we added an additional person making it a sextet. We eventually became “Take 6.”  So essentially the group consists of 4 tenors, a baritone and a bass.  All of us play instruments: keyboard, guitar, trombone, etc.  But we decided we wanted our group to be primarily a cappella.

The voice, after all, is the most perfect instrument there is, so that is what we wanted our group to represent.  We have one of the best vocal arrangers on the planet in Mark Kibble.  He uses all the elements of music in an a cappella setting and he is able to get all the arrangements done in a way that hopefully audiences don’t miss the instruments they are used to hearing.”

Take 6 has won multiple GRAMMY, Dove, Soul Train, and NAACP Image Awards and was named the Best Jazz Vocal Group in Downbeat’s prestigious Readers and Critics Poll. Their 2016 release Believe, reached the top ten for both the gospel and jazz charts. The top songs included “Reset” and “You Make Me Happy”, as well as their inspirational song “When Angels Cry.”

“Our latest release Iconic is due out April 27, 2018.  We will be featuring songs like Debarge’s “All This Love” on the new album.  Also, the single from it is an Eric Clapton tune  -“Change the World.”  Jeffrey Osborne’s “Back in Love,” is featured, and the Earth, Wind & Fire version of the Beatles, “I Got to Get You Into My Life,” are all iconic songs that will be on our latest release,” McKnight said.

Grammy, Stellar and Dove Award-winning gospel singer, songwriter, filmmaker, multi-gold and platinum winner and producer Fred Hammond has sold over 15 million albums worldwide which includes 12 #1 hits.  His best-known songs include “Are You Ready” “One More Try,” “Just to be Close to You” and “No Weapons.”  Born in San Antonio, Tx, Hammond spent most of his growing up and adult years in Detroit, Michigan but has spent the last 12 years in Dallas, TX. He joins McKnight and Take Six on the Festival of Praise tour.

“I sang, but primarily mimicked people,” Hammond says. ‘My mother convinced me if I really sang I could sound like Michael Jackson.  I was shy and didn’t want to be a singer, but listened to all the great Motown stars. I only wanted to play a bass or be a drummer. But one day, around 12 or 13 years old, I felt the calling to witness.  Later, an opening came up with the Winans.  They were putting a band together.  I worked with them for 3 years and then started my own group Commissioned and just kept on evolving.”

Fred Hammond co-wrote and directed the smash hit musical drama Been There, Done That with Judge Greg Mathis. He worked on the hit plays Only the Strong and the 2013 Broadway smash Cain and Abel with JD Lawrence.  His edgy independent film, The Choir depicts real-life events. Hammond’s last album was Worship Journal Live but he is about to put out a new CD entitled Uncle Fred

“The Texture of a Man,” Festival of Praise show is really a musical, explained the producer. “It’s a gospel, worship and Praise show.   We are doing everything on the show but dancing. It’s several components of praise, worship, gospel, theater, drama, and film.  It is a story about relationships. I think people will really enjoy it,” said Hammond about the production.

For Festival Of Praise tour dates, click HERE. 

Deardra Shuler is the Entertainment Editor of The Black Star News. As a freelance writer, she writes for several New York City newspapers; including the Examiner, Amsterdam News, and Eurweb.

Deardra freelances for Afrocentricnews in California. She is the former PR chairman for the FESPACO film festival in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Africa, and is presently program manager for BlakeRadio.com, where she also hosts her own show “Topically Yours.”

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Festival Of Praise Tour Hits The Road was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

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