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Stars of Gospel Music Bring Sweet Sounds to Raleigh

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RALEIGH — Some big names in gospel music brought their inspirational messages to the Triangle Thursday night.

Ten-time Grammy winner and pastor Shirley Caesar hosted the 28th Annual Outreach Ministries Conference in Raleigh. The event culminated with the likes of Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight and Lou Rawls performing live for a new CD called Devine Destiny 2000.

"I believe the Lord has dropped something very wonderful right here in the heart of Carolina," Caesar said.

The Durham resident and minister said it was not hard to get big-name musicians to come to Raleigh. All she had to do was ask.

"Gladys Knight has a religious album out. Patti LaBelle closes all of her shows with two gospel songs," Caesar said. "When I called, they immediately said yes."

Free to the public, gospel lovers flooded the Convention Center hoping to find good seats where the musical Word would wash over them.

"This is something to show how God can show people the way by song or by preaching or teaching," says gospel fan Charles Leslie.

The conference combined music with religious seminars and moving sermons to raise money for needy families in the Triangle.

Last year, the conference was able to raise more than $25,000. With Thursday night's big concert, Caesar says that the sky is the limit on this year's fundraising.

"I believe something really good is going to come out of all of this," she said.

Caesar said Aretha Franklin, Brandi, and Boyz II Men have also all agreed to contribute to the CD. The CD will be released next March.

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Ericka Lewis, Reporter
Brian Shrader, Web Editor

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