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Thursday, July 15, 2010

WHO’S WHO IN GOSPEL MUSIC TO CELEBRATE LIFE OF GRAMMY WINNER BISHOP WALTER HAWKINS

WITH A-LIST CONCERT AT THE PARAMOUNT THEATERTuesday, July 20, 2010 @ 7:00 PM PST (Free Admission)Musical Celebration Features Yolanda Adams, Mary Mary and Bebe Winans Funeral: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 @ 11:00 AM PST At The Paramount Theater  

Oakland, CA:  A who’s who of the gospel world is gathering to pay final respects to Grammy Award winning gospel legend, Bishop Walter Hawkins, who passed away July 11th after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer.  On Tuesday, July 20th, some of the biggest names in gospel music will congregate at The Paramount Theater for a musical salute to Walter Hawkins who is known for his classic gospel songs such as “Goin’ Up Yonder,” “Marvelous,” and  “What is This?” The musical celebration is titled, The Man, the Music, The Ministry: A Musical Salute to Bishop Walter Hawkins.”  Among the stars confirmed to sing Hawkins’ evergreen compositions are platinum artists such as Yolanda Adams, Mary Mary, and Donnie McClurkin. Also performing is Hawkins’ sister, Lynnette Hawkins, R&B artist Ledisi, Karen Clark Sheard, Daryl Coley, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Byron Cage, Melvin & Doug Williams of The Williams Brothers, guitarist Jonathan DuBose Jr., D.J. Rogers, and The Love Center Choir.  Making a special appearance will be Hawkins’ longtime vocal muse and former wife, Lady Tramaine Hawkins, whose dramatic vocals were featured on Walter Hawkins masterpieces such as “Changed,” “Goin’ Up Yonder,” and “He’s That Kind of Friend.”  The music directors for the evening will include Hawkin’'s brother, Edwin Hawkins, Donald Lawrence, Kurt Carr, Richard Smallwood, and Hawkins’ longtime music director, Rusty Watson. The masters of ceremonies duties will be shared by Bebe Winans, Marvin Winans, and Black Entertainment Television (BET) personality, Dr. Bobby Jones.  The concert takes place Tuesday, July 20, 2010 @ 7:00 pm at the Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612-2303. Tickets are free and available on a first come, first serve basis. Contact Paramount Theater at: (510) 465-6400  The funeral will take place the following morning, Wednesday, July 21, 2010 @ 11:00 am at the Paramount Theater. Bishop Kenneth Moales (of Prayer Tabernacle Church of Love, Inc. in Bridgeport, CT) will officiate at the ceremony.  Instead of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to The Walter Hawkins Memorial Foundation. Cards, letters and donations may be mailed to: Love Center Ministries, 10440 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94603.  MEDIA CONTACT:Bill Carpenter at (202) 441-9870 or carpenterbill@me.com
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Sunday, July 11, 2010

BISHOP WALTER HAWKINS SUCCOMBS AT AGE 61

(Bishop Walter Hawkins performs at the White House during Black Music Month in June 2007)

Gospel music icon Bishop Walter Hawkins passed away at his home in  Ripon, CA today.  A  singer, songwriter, producer and musician, Hawkins had a 2-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

Hawkins was a contemporary gospel forerunner who rose to prominence as a member of the Edwin Hawkins Singers in the early seventies. The influence the Grammy Award winning Hawkins  has had on gospel music history is worthy of volumes.  His "Love Alive" album series, consisting of songs recorded from the 70's to the 90's, yielded numerous cuts that will never get old including "Marvelous," "Going Up Yonder", "Changed," "Be Grateful," and "Thank You." Artists from various genres did re-makes of his songs from the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin and American Idol Champ Ruben Studdard to Vicki Winans.

His sleek tenor voice possessed authority and a classical tonal quality second to none as demonstrated on the duet he shared as a featured artist with Donald Lawrence on the popular 2002 Tri-Cities Singers recording of  "Seasons" from the "Go Get your Life Back" CD.

The Christian Music Hall of Fame inductee was also the former husband of gospel legend Tramaine Hawkins, with whom he fathered two children Walter "Jamie" Hawkins and Trystan Hawkins.

As the founder and pastor of Love Center Ministries in Oakland  Hawkins, who was reared in the Church of God in Christ denomination, also was enamored with ministry. "Early on I thought my ministry and my music were apart from each other. But now I see they work hand-in-hand," he once said according to a press release. "I can go a lot of places with my music that I can’t go as a pastor and vice versa. The purpose of both is getting the message out to people. I’ve had some material blessings and it’s okay to have them, but to be blessed with peace of mind and joy in your life, that’s when you will be truly fulfilled."  He was ordained a Bishop in 1992.

His body of work that spans nearly 4 decades, earning him a place among gospel giants. 

This past May Hawkins was saluted at his sixty-first birthday celebration.

After surgery for pancreatic cancer in late 2008, the Hawkins Family (Walter, Edwin, Tramaine, and sister, Lynette) staged a successful, multi-city Hawkins Family reunion concert tour. At the time of his death, Hawkins was planning a new “Love Alive” CD concert recording for this fall.

Details about funeral arrangements are forthcoming.
(Pictured above: Bishop Walter Hawkins speaks to the audience before performing at the Grammy Salute to Gospel in Washington, D.C. in 2007. Photos by Mona Austin)

VIDEO
Click here to view a clip of  Bishop Walter Hawkins singing "Marvelous."
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