Harlem Week's Gospel And R&B Celebrations

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[Harlem Week 2010]

Harlemites didn't let a little rain stop them from celebrating the sounds of gospel, R&B and Soul at this year's "A Great Day in Harlem" Concert Under the Stars.

This year's musical event was held on Sunday, July 25 at President Ulysses S. Grant's Tomb in Riverside Park. This  year's theme featured a celebration of the sounds of Philadelphia complete with a tribute to Philadelphia native Teddy Pendergrass, who died last January.

On hand were Pendergrass' former group members of Harold Melvin's Bluenotes, singer and Broadway actress Elisabeth ithers who is best known for her role as Shug Avery in the Broadway musical The Color Purple, Ray Chew and The Crew, with a special guest performances from John Legend and Keith Sweat.

Rain unexpectedly delayed the festival's musical celebration for over an hour, but once the guys skies opened up and the
rain cleared, the event kicked off with a fashion show which included designs by a host of local up-and-coming designers, followed by a soulful gospel performance from a group who came all the way from Connecticut, in which they were presented by WLIB radio personality Liz Black.

Shortly after Ray Chew and The Crew gave fans a taste of what to expect later in the evening and got the crowd going with his
renditions of  classics that incorporated the Philadelphia sound such as "Love Train", the O' Jay's Backstabbers, and Ain't No Stopping Us Now".

Next singer Elisabeth Withers made her way to the stage as well as through the audience while performing her song "No Regrets", from her upcoming album. To close out her set Withers brought out Harold Melvin's Bluenotes to the stage and performed a duet with them on their song "If You Don't Know Me By Now". Then after Wither's exit, the Bluenotes performed a string of their classic hits in memory of their former group members Teddy Pendergrass and Harold Melvin, which included songs such as "Where Are All My Friends", "The Love I Lost"," I Miss You" and "Bad Luck".

Before exiting the stage they brought out R&B sensation John Legend to the stage to perform "Wake Up Everybody." He  recently re-recorded the song for his upcoming album. Legend then proceeded to do a solo performance in which he played keyboard on his song "Ordinary People". After Legend's exit the Bluenotes were presented with a plaque to commemorate Teddy Pendergrass' induction into The National Black Sports & Entertainment Hall Of Fame and Museum.

Harlem native, performer Keith Sweat, closed out the evenings show by coming out and performing his hits such
as "I Want Her", Keep It Comin", "Make It Last Forever", "Something Just Ain't Right", "Nobody." He closed with "Twisted."

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