Fort Knox gospel concert to kick off national tour

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By Robert Villanueva

An ensemble of gospel and Christian music artists will perform Monday at Fort Knox when the United As One Tour arrives at the Waybur Theater.

“We’re the first tour stop,” said Mark Wicker, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation chief of community recreation division.

Wicker noted the kick-off concert falls on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The concert is open to the public.

United As One features gospel and Christian music singers James Fortune & FIYA, VaShawn Mitchell, Zacardi Cortez and Kierra Sheard.

All the artists, Wicker said, are Stellar Award nominees.

“They’re all nationally recognized artists,” he said.

Stellar Awards honor gospel music artists.

Additionally, the lineup includes Stellar Award winners and Grammy nominees.

James Fortune & FIYA is up for two Grammy nominations this year, and the group is a three-time Stellar Award winner. Mitchell is a Grammy-nominated artist and six-time Stellar Award winner.

Sheard is a Grammy-nominated and Stellar Award-winning and Dove Award-winning artist.

The Dove Award is given by the Gospel Music Association.

The emcee for the event is actor/comedian Cecil Armstrong, who goes by the stage name Shucky Ducky. Armstrong has appeared on “Def Comedy Jam,” Comedy Central and BET’s “Comic View” and has been ringmaster of the UniverSoul Circus.

“He’ll kick it off with some comedy,” Wicker said. “And then bring in each one and probably do a little comedy.”

The lineup previously included Grammy-winning artist Le’Andria Johnson, but she announced last week she would not be joining the tour. Sheard stepped in as a replacement.

The concert should last between two and two and a half hours, Wicker said.

“A recent renovation of the Waybur Theater provides a nice venue for this kind of entertainment,” he said.

The Waybur Theater, which is a converted movie theater, seats about 700, Wicker said.

“It’s a great opportunity to provide this genre to the Fort Knox community,” he said.

The last time a gospel and Christian music concert was presented on post was in 2006, Wicker said.

“We had a good turnout from the community then,” he said.

Brisk ticket sales indicate the United As One concert is going to be successful. Wicker said most tickets already had been sold.

Tickets for the 4 p.m. show cost $18 in advance and $20 the day of the show, if still available. Doors open at 3 p.m.

Wicker said the venue offers plenty of parking, and general concert guidelines apply. No food or beverages will be allowed to be brought in to the theater, but food and beverages will be on sale on the premises. Also, no professional cameras or recording devices are permitted at the concert, he said.

Streamlined access to post makes attending events such as the concert easier, Wicker said. Visitors to Fort Knox need to present only a valid driver’s license at the gate.

Directional signage to the theater from Wilson and Chaffee gates will be in place, Wicker said.

If the community supports the concert, he said, other such opportunities will be considered for the future.

Wicker said the fact that Fort Knox was selected as the kick-off for the tour speaks to the quality of post events.

“We do a lot of concerts here at Fort Knox, and we have a reputation for doing a good show,” he said.

Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743 or rvillanueva@thenewsenterprise.com.

IF YOU GO: The United As One tour, which features gospel and Christian music, kicks off 4 p.m. Monday at Waybur Theater at Fort Knox. Tickets cost $18 in advance or $20 at the door, if available. For tickets or more information, visit the Fort Knox Information, Ticketing and Registration Leisure Travel office at 1053 Spearhead Division Ave., visit www.knoxmwr.com or call (502) 624-5030.