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Performance will help St. John Baptist raise funds for church
Opera singer and Gainesville native Robert Cantrell to sing
Robert Cantrell, an accomplished opera singer and Gainesville native, rehearses Friday at St. John Baptist Church for the Cultural Arts Celebration event. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Cultural Celebration of Faith

A concert featuring Robert Cantrell and friends

When: 6 p.m. today, 3 p.m. Sunday

Where: St. John Baptist Church, 757 E.E. Butler Parkway, Gainesville

How much: $25 at the door

Contact: 770-532-0511,

This weekend’s Cultural Celebration of Faith at St. John Baptist Church will feature an unusual joyful noise.

The celebration, with a performance at 6 tonight and another at 3 p.m. Sunday, will feature opera singer Robert Cantrell.

"He is one of our own, homegrown talents who has gone on and done great things," said Edd Sullivan, St. John’s minister of music.

"He was born and raised in Gainesville, grew up attending this church with his family and now resides in Baltimore. He’ll be doing a classical-type concert, with a lot of different selections."

Admission to the shows are $25 per person at the door. Performances will be held in the main sanctuary of the church at 757 E.E., Butler Parkway in Gainesville.

"We have an outstanding lineup of refined music planned," Sullivan said.

"The performers are going to tap into a few spirituals, some show tunes and a host of other things."

Cantrell’s bass-barritone has soared in performances with the Metropolitan Opera, the Baltimore Opera Company and the Washington National Opera. He’s taken on the role of Porgy in the "Porgy and Bess Suite" with the Prince George Philharmonic, performed as a soloist at Carnegie Hall and is a voice instructor at the Baltimore School for the Arts.

According to Sullivan, Cantrell has brought along four musical colleagues — Shalanda Hansboro, Duane A. Moody, Troy Kenneth Stuart and Kelli Young — to also perform at St. John.

Although Cantrell returns to Hall County a few times a year to perform, it has been a few years since he’s performed for St. John church.

"We have concerts throughout the year that are lead by our various ministries, but we wanted to do something a little different with this," Sullivan said.

"We wanted to present something different not just to those people who come to our church, but we wanted to also do something that was appealing to the people who may not attend church at all."

The concert will benefit the church’s "Giving with Vision" campaign.

"As a church, we’re nearing the end of our first-quarter giving campaign. This concert allows the community to be a part of that as well," Sullivan said.

For today’s performance, and possibly Sunday’s, the church will hold a free movie screening with snacks and games for children ages 11 and younger.

"We know that the younger children may not be ready to sit still in a recital atmosphere, so this is an opportunity to entertain them while their parents enjoy a great show," Sullivan said.

The children’s events will be held next door to the main sanctuary in the historic St. John church building.

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