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Gospel community is cheering on Amy Rushes

Award-winning gospel music sensation Ami Rushes is busier than ever! On the heels of her "Testify" tour, Rushes continues to support gospel classics, and her adoration of traditional gospel music by sharing her testimony throughout the U.S.

She recently expanded her talent and authored her first book, Monday Manna: Spiritual Nuggets to Start Your Week, distributed through Westbow Press, with foreword by Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

In February 2013 Ami performed at the 2nd Annual Gospel Goes to Hollywood Awards Luncheon, honoring Wendy Raquel Robinson, DeVon Franklin, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Marla Gibbs, and Terry & Rebecca Crews, and did so well that Erica Campbell of Mary Mary, was compelled to tweet, "Ami Rushes singing God's Been Good to Me," with a photo of Ami's performance attached.

Last week, she attended BET's Celebration of Gospel Prayer Breakfast where Sony executive DeVon Franklin, Fonzworth Bentley, Dorinda Clark-Cole, Livre and Deon Kipping were featured guests.

Simultaneously, she's been in the studio with long-time friend, and award-winning producer Kurt Carr, as she works on her fifth studio effort, to be released Summer of 2013. Her new album.

Ami is crystal clear on how she got to this point in life. She says;

God can give you back the years you have lost due to sin, apathy, sickness and the list goes on and on. But how can you get the years back you might be asking. Here is the answer in Joel 2:25 (KJV) "and I will restore to you the years the locusts have eaten." You see locusts destroy everything in their path. Its a good word to describe what the enemy try's to do in the life of a believer. But our God is a restorer of broken wasted lives. In Job 42:12 (KJV) it tells us "So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning." Your beginning may have been a mess but your future can be glorious.

You see I speak from experience on "wasted years". I was in bondage with a life threatening eating disorder for twenty years. One day in a church parking lot when I least expected it, God completely delivered me and I knew that I knew I was free. The enemy may have stolen the first half of my life but now on the second half, God has restored the years the locust have eaten. Out of that horrible pit, the Lord has birthed a national ministry, has blessed me to be able to record five CDs, many videos and write a devotional book. Not only that, the Lord has caused me to be healthier and stronger than I have ever been. While the devil was trying to kill me God was planning a way of escape and now people are being blessed by this beautiful ministry all across the country. Make no mistake Beloved, I am not bragging on myself I am bragging on my God! What He has done for me He can surely do for you.

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Kurt Carr- the maestro behind the music

He was just recently honored as a BMI Trailblazer and took home the 2013 James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Honor during the Stellar Awards. Now, he's back with another smash CD entitled "Bless This House" which debuted at the top of Billboard's chart. Hailing from Hartford, Connecticut, Kurt Carr has spent more than 20 years in the music industry and developed into one of the most celebrated singers, songwriters and producers in Gospel music. Not only has he dominated the charts with his own performances, but he is the mastermind behind some of the most well-known Gospel hits for numerous artists.

Starting out, he served as Andrae Crouch's accompanist and went on to play for the late Rev. James Cleveland, then became director for the West Los Angeles Church of God In Christ Choir. He eventually formed his own group known today as the Kurt Carr Singers and he continues to pen chart-topping tunes. His hits include "I Never Lost My Praise" by Tramaine Hawkins, "I'm Still Standing" by Bishop Paul Morton, and his latest contributions are found on Pastor Shirley Caesar's newest CD entitled "Good God".

Kurt took time from his busy schedule to give Frequency Inspirational a glimpse into the man behind the music as he shares how he evolved into the Maestro he is today.

YOUR BIG BREAK WAS WITH REV. JAMES CLEVELAND. HOW DID YOU MEET HIM?

I was with my friend, Richard "Mr. Clean" White and we were at a restaurant across the street from where the GMWA was going on. In walks Rev. Cleveland. He literally came and sat at our table and I was like, "Oh, my Lord." Mr. White said to Rev. Cleveland, '"This boy can really play. This boy's awesome." So, we finished lunch and went back over to the convention and Rev. Cleveland said, "Let me hear you play something – if your feet can reach the organ pedal [laughs]." That's when I knew he had a great sense of humor. Little did I know, his music director had just resigned, so Rev. Cleveland was looking for a keyboard player. That was in August and by January I had relocated to California and Rev. Cleveland hired me.

WHAT'S THE GREATEST THING YOU LEARNED FROM REV. CLEVELAND?

He was totally spirit led in terms of what he sang in his concerts. He was also very professional in terms of being prompt and being honest about doing the job you are paid to do. I see so many of my peers don't have that kind of ethic. The other thing I learned was that the same passion should be exuded for a show of 100 attendees as if it were 30,000 people there.

I UNDERSTAND RICHARD SMALLWOOD WAS ALSO AN INFLUENCE?

His influence was different in that we had a lot more similarities because I had studied classical music and Richard had studied classical music. The sound of his music really inspired me from a technical element. Really that's what I've done is taken the traditional flavor of James Cleveland and mixed it with the excellence of a Richard Smallwood along with the songwriting of persons like Andrae Crouch and Walter Hawkins. I'm like a big musical gumbo of a lot of different things.

HOW DID YOU GET YOUR FIRST RECORD DEAL?

Charlie Larry, who was married to one of the ladies that used to sing with me, came into some money and gave us a couple of thousand dollars. We recorded a single of the hymn "Holy Holy Holy" and it just blew everyone away because it was so intricate. That was my first thing on wax. It garnered so much attention that one day I was at home and I got a call from Ralph Carmichael who founded Light Records. I went out there and he said, "that chair you're sitting in – Walter Hawkins signed his first deal in that chair. Andrae Crouch signed a deal in that chair, Tramaine Hawkins, Marvin Winans signed deals in that chair and he went down the list and said, "I believe you're destined to be on the level with these great Gospel artists." That's how it started....I signed my first deal with them.

ARE THERE ANY SONGS YOU GET TIRED OF PERFORMING?

It's funny you asked that because I remember the day and where I was when I wrote "In the Sanctuary." I finished the song and thought it needed something for me to say in the opening. So I wrote, "Oh, God. Once again, we come into your presence." Now, every time I sing it, I say: "Oh, God! Once again." [He laughs with a voice of dread]. It's like a joke with my group because we've sung it a million times. I change it around a little to keep it fresh but I think it's unfair to say I get tired of it because every time I sing it people get ecstatic. There's something that God put on that song that gives people joy so it never gets tiring to see people blessed.

HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR TIME WHEN YOU ARE NOT ON STAGE?

I sleep [laughs]. I'm a very introverted person – ever since I was a child. I love to play tennis. I have a tennis coach and I've lost about 40 lbs over the last year and a half. I've done it slowly. I have a trainer. I don't listen to a lot of music because I do music all the time. I love movies. I could be a movie critic because I've seen every movie known to man.

HOW HAS THE MUSIC INDUSTRY CHANGED SINCE YOU STARTED?

It's gotten a lot more commercial which can be good and bad. It's good in the sense that more secular homes are aware of Gospel music because of people like Kirk Franklin who have broken down so many barriers. I think change is a good thing. One thing about James Cleveland, getting back to him, people ask me all the time "What do you think he'd think of music today?" I say he'd be somewhere trying to figure out how to make it work for him. He always kept fresh new young people around him like myself to keep him current.

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Steve Harvey hosts BET's 'Celebration of Gospel'

BET's Celebration of Gospel hosted by Steve Harvey took place this past weekend and Reality AV recaps some of the awesome performances and superstar appearances from our very own Yolanda Adams to new R&B sensation Tamar Braxton! Listen to the audio below for more on the Celebration Of Gospel and more entertainment news!

Read more at http://praise1027detroit.com/50503/steve-harvey-hosts-bets-celebration-of-gospel-exclusive-audio/

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The most 'Celebration of Gospel' pictures you'll ever see

This year's Gospel celebration highlighted the best in gospel music.

Read more at http://elev8.com/playlist/the-most-celebration-of-gospel-photos-youll-see-anywhere/1/

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Preacher preaches himself into a heart attack

We know ministers who give services on Sunday morning give their all. It doesn't matter what denomination they are. It is a stressful job! This past week it was even more stressful!

Archbishop Alfred A. Owens, Jr. preached his last and had a heart attack!

The Congregation posted the following story to members:

It is with immense joy that we provide you, the people of God, with the favorable update on the condition of Archbishop Alfred A. Owens, Jr. We are elated to report that his brief hospital stay has concluded and he is in the comfort of his home. He is doing very well and anxious to be in the midst of the praises of the people. All praise, glory and honor be unto God!

On Sunday, February 17, 2013, Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church, Washington, DC celebrated the 65th birthday of its matriarch, Co-Pastor Susie C. Owens, at both the 8:00 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. services. In times past, surprise guests, including preachers and gospel artists have been flown in to aid in making the service special and rich in honor of Co-Pastor Susie. On this year, without a guest speaker, or a gospel artist to bless the house, Calvary's own, Susie C. Owens Chorale, rightfully named after Co-Pastor Susie, blessed the congregants with soul-wrenching renditions of traditional and choral pieces. Not only was this service Co-Pastor Susie's 65th birthday celebration, but also, the 10th anniversary of the choir named after her.

As Bishop Owens stood to deliver a word of encouragement for the congregation, he also presented a spoken tribute to Co-Pastor Susie. His message was laced with words of adoration for Co-Pastor, as he described the meaning of her name and expressed what she has meant to people all over the world. He even belted out the vocals of, "When I First Saw You," as recorded by Jamie Foxx in the hit movie, Dreamgirls. As the sermon progressed, he paused again to express tributes of love to Co-Pastor with inferences from the likes of Beyonce, "Love on Top," Jennifer Hudson, "A Place Called Heaven," and Alicia Keys, "This Girl is on Fire." The service was inspirational.

Shortly after the 8:00 a.m. service, while sitting in his office Bishop began to feel ill. He was soon taken by paramedics to the Washington Hospital Center. Extensive evaluation and testing concluded on Monday that he had suffered a mild heart attack, likely in his office after the service. For the love of the people and his beloved wife, Bishop "preached his heart out." Now with Co-Pastor at his side and a cadre of family and friends praying for him, Bishop is doing well at home. Co-Pastor says, "Having Bishop alive is the best birthday gift I could have."

Bishop Owens, Co-Pastor Susie and the entire Owens Family wishes to extend their most sincere gratitude for the prayers lifted by the members of the Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church, Mt. Calvary Holy Church of America, Inc. and the body of Christ at large. It is comforting to know that so many of you locally, throughout the country and abroad care for them and that you allowed that care and concern to propel you into a posture of prayer and battle.

We can most assuredly say, yet again, another defeat of the enemy and a victory for the people of God!

Please keep Bishop, Co-Pastor and the family covered in prayer! We ask as you remain prayerful, that you also continue to give time and space for Bishop to rest, relax and recuperate.

Because of Calvary,
Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church, Washington, DC

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