G-Flava Gospel Explosion 2004 Festival

( [email protected] ) Jul 02, 2004 07:50 PM EDT

Gospel music will be flowing on July 2 in Toledo, Ohio, when Tonex, Kim Burrell, Ramiyah, and the Rance Allen Group lead an all-star concert dubbed, the "G-Flava Gospel Explosion 2004."

Tonex (pronounced Toe-Nay, an ordained minister from San Diego, said he is seeking to elevate Gospel music to reach mainstream standards. His latest release, the double-disc Out of the Box, was released in May on Jive Records' Verity Gospel label.

Tonex's new disc, which merges Hip-Hop, Pop, R&B, and Gospel music, debuted No. 1 on the Billboard gospel album chart and was one of the rare CDs to be listed simultaneously on four different Billboard charts.

Ramiyah, a female foursome from Detroit who just released their self-titled hip-hop gospel album under Sony Records, will also perform tonight on July 2.

"It's not common for young people in this day and age to listen to gospel music," says Ramiyah member Stephanie Bonner. "We show them it's cool to stand up for God."

The Rance Allen Group features the Rev. Rance Allen, pastor of Toledo's New Bethel Church of God in Christ, with his brothers Thomas and Steve. The group twice was nominated for Grammy Awards and this year was up for three Stellar Awards.

First Creation, also from Toledo, was formed more than 16 years ago by the Rev. Jerry Boose, a minister and an administrator for the Toledo Fire Department's health and welfare plan, and its current lineup features Terry Thomas, Jesse Coleman, and Ron Hogue.

The vocal quartet was named best local gospel group for several years by popular vote in the Lake Erie West People's Choice Awards.

The concert will be rounded out by performances by Tawann Gaston and Melody Sherman.

The G-Flava Gospel Explosion 2004 begins at 7 tonight in the SeaGate Convention Centre on 401 Jefferson Ave.