Gospel Queen coming to Pittsburgh

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Pastor Shirley Caesar promises a jubilant performance when she graces the stage of the Carnegie Library in Homestead, Friday, June 29.

“Get ready to hear the Word of God,” said Caesar. “I don’t know what the Lord is going to tell me to say, but I want the people to know, no matter what’s going on, I know a God who can pick you up and put you where he wants you to be. I’ll be singing two or three songs, too.”

Caesar will be in town on July 1 to help celebrate Pastor Keith Edmonds’ fourth anniversary.

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PASTOR SHIRLEY CEASAR

The three-day celebration will start this Wednesday, June 29, with appearances and performances from local gospel artists Trini Massie, 4 the Caz of Christ and Ministree.

Thursday, June 30, will showcase the talents of Edmonds’ twin brother, Overseer Karl Edmonds, from the Reign Church II in North Carolina. All events on Wednesday and Thursday will be held at Edmonds’ church, The Reign Church of Pittsburgh, located at 7202 Kelly St., in Pittsburgh. The weekend will end with Caesar preaching and singing at the Carnegie Library in Homestead. Events are free, but a free will offering will be collected.

Eighteen years ago, the Edmonds brothers created the innovative K& K Mimes, an artistic group that reinterprets the nuances found in gospel music. The brothers powerful mime dances have afforded them the opportunity to perform for Dr. Bobby Jones and has gained backing from gospel heavyweights Donnie McClurkin, Kirk Franklin and Yolanda Adams.

“I got to know Keith through Bobby Jones. He has been bringing in powerful preachers and I am honored to come and share with him and encourage him in his fourth year of ministry,” Caesar said.

Known as the “First Lady of Gospel,” Caesar began singing and performing for her family and friends at the age of 11. Two years later, at the age of 13, she began recording. However, her professional singing career began at the age of 18 when she approached Albertina Walker about joining the legendary Caravans. She stayed with the group from 1958-1966.

“Albertina treated me like a daughter,” Caesar recalled. “She was a very gentle person. She was a blessing to me.”

After singing with the Caravans, Caesar stepped out on faith and started her own solo career. She has released more than 40 albums and has won countless Grammy and Dove Awards for her music. She has performed with some of today’s biggest gospel and secular artists including Patti Labelle, Tye Tribbit, Faith Evans and Dottie Peoples.

“I like the music of yesterday, but this is a new day. We have to do whatever we can to reach the young people. A lot of the young people who are singing gospel know that God is real,” she said.

In addition to her singing career, she pastors Mt. Calvary Word of Faith Church in Raleigh, N.C., that seats 1,500. She also has The Shirley Caesar Outreach Ministry, which distributes toys, clothes and non perishable foods to children in the local North Carolina area.

“I got the spirit of giving from my mother. I enjoy blessing people,” she said.

Currently, Caesar is preparing to start recording her next album this August. The project is being produced by Curt Carr.

When asked what advice she has for up and coming gospel artists she simply states, “Live the life. Don’t record and sing what you don’t live. Live what you sing. Get an education. Not everyone can make a living performing gospel music and not everyone is going to make it to the top. But don’t stop trying.”

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