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Road Trip

Raise Your Hands for a Gospel Tour of Washington

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

WHERE: The District and Maryland.

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WHY: Gospel and the Grammys, soul-stirring music and a theater reborn.

HOW FAR: About 45 miles.

Gospel will be in its glory Wednesday when the Grammy Salute to Gospel Music takes center stage at Washington's legendary Lincoln Theatre. The show will honor Edwin and Walter Hawkins and the Winans -- artists from two of gospel's leading families -- as well as Christian contemporary songbird Sandi Patty. Richard Smallwood, a Howard University alum and artist-in-residence at Metropolitan Baptist Church in the District, also will perform.

During the World War II era, gospel music associated with black churches was intertwined with blues, early R&B and rock-and-roll. Many R&B singers got their start in church, and the genres traded influences. In pre-desegregation Washington, black singers lit up the U Street area, then known as "Black Broadway." As gospel moved out of churches, the musicians were limited to venues that admitted African Americans. Two of note: Lincoln Theatre and the old Howard Theatre, which welcomed such gospel greats as Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Aretha Franklin and Della Reese.

Gospel is not only for church, but the listening experience is often amplified when heard in a house of worship. Several area churches, including Metropolitan Baptist, invite the public to come feel the soulful energy.

-- Jada Bradley

Grammy Salute to Gospel Music: Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. $25-$50. For tickets, call 310-314-8281 or e-mail ticketing@grammy.com.

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