UNITY Performing Arts Foundation
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UPAFUnity Performing Arts Foundation - Events

  • Support the Gold for the City Campaign

    Choir of America-AMP on June 19-22, 2014 at Carnegie Hall in NYC, and The 2014 World Choir Games July 13-July 22, 2014 in Riga, Latvia. For information on how your church, business, or organization can support, please contact Peggy Rivera or Justin Sheehan at 481-6719.

  • The Voices of Unity Youth Choir Live Rehearsal

    April 6, 2014, 6:00PM

    New Joshua Full Gospel Temple
    4202 Hessen Cassel Rd
    Fort Wayne, Indiana 46806

  • The Voices of Unity Youth Choir Humanitarian Awards

    May 21, 2014, 11:30 AM

    USF Performing Arts Center, 431 W. Berry Street (Old Scottish Rite building).

  • The Voices Of Unity Youth Choir in Concert

    Saturday, April 26, 2014, 7:30PM

    Niswonger Performing Arts Center ,Vert Wert, OH. Call 419-238-NPAC ( 6722) for tickets

  • The Voices Of Unity Youth Choir in Concert- Ethan Bortnick

    June 7, 2014

    Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne, 300 E Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802. Call (260)-423-4349 for more information.

  • The Voices Of Unity Youth Choir in Choir of America-AMP

    June 19-22, 2014

    New York, Carnegie Halls

  • 2014 World Choir Games

    July 13- July 22, 2014

    Riga, Lavtia

  • Praise Celebration 2014 PHOTOS

    Taken by Tony Frantz

    Click here to check out our highlight photos for Praise Celebration 2014

UNITY Performing Arts Foundation
UNITY Performing Arts Foundation
UNITY Performing Arts Foundation
UNITY Performing Arts Foundation

About UNITY

Unity Performing Arts Foundation (UNITY): Was organized and founded in 2000 under the leadership of Marshall White, a native of Fort Wayne, IN.

UNITY is a multi-faceted performing arts organization with a focus on empowering and developing young people in the areas of character, artistry, and leadership. UNITY also focuses on promoting the soulful art forms through education, training, and performances in the areas of choral music, dance, drama, creative writing, oratory, and instrumental music.

The organization is an official company-in-residence on the Indiana University-Purdue University Campus in Fort Wayne, with office and program space located in the Rhinehart Music Center. In addition to providing UNITY with the facilities necessary to run its programs, the location on the IPFW campus also exposes the children/youth in the program—and their parents—to the university environment, which provides familiarity with, and inspiration for, pursuing higher education.

We are an innovative after-school organization designed to serve as a companion support system for young people to help prepare and equip them to be successful at home, school, church, work, college, and in their community. The model of UNITY combines professional arts programming and relevant training, coupled with character and leadership development to give young people a positive and effective platform to prepare them for success in life. UNITY is an innovative performing arts concept for artistic and youth development programming that is relevant for youth of the twenty-first century.

What is Voices of Unity?

Unity’s youth choral program was started on July 8, 2000, on the campus of Indiana-Purdue University of Fort Wayne, IN, under the leadership of Director/Life Coach, Marshall White. The Voices of Unity Youth Choir (VOUYC) is a unique and exciting soulful choral group comprised of young people ages 7 to 19 from various backgrounds in the Fort Wayne community and beyond. The program’s goal is to equip, educate, and empower youth for the world before them. The program prepares them to be successful leaders who will give back to their society and make a difference in their college life, adult life and in their professional careers. This program is much more than a choir.

We provide an educational platform for students to learn, study, and perform mainstream soulful music, such as blues, jazz, spirituals, gospel, R&B, pop, country, hip-hop, neo-soul, and some rap. Students are inspired to learn the historical significance of mainstream soulful music and taught to perform each style in its authentic form.

In addition to singing, students are also exposed to activities that develop and build character through interaction with adult volunteers, youth leadership opportunities and training. Our curriculum includes peer-to-peer group activities that bolster self-confidence and provides life lessons that engender success in life.

VOUYC’s positive and creative environment fosters discipline, teamwork, and professionalism. Our curriculum sets a standard of “excellence and nothing less” that draws even the most shy or most uncertain child out of his/her shell, instills confidence, and helps to improve every child’s ability to socially adapt to other people, cultures and environments. The empowering environment of the choir is simply a transformational experience for many children, teens, and adults.

Some of their Accomplishments

Endorsed by the Indianapolis Colts and has performed The National Anthem for several NFL Indianapolis Colts’ events, including the opening of Lucas Oil Stadium in 2008.

The choir has had the opportunity to work with artists such as Heather Headley, Roberta Flack, The Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Josh Groban, Livingston Taylor, Kirk Franklin and with R& B sensation Keyshia Cole on the nationally televised NFL 2007 Kick-Off Celebration for the Indianapolis Colts.

They have shared the performance stage with John Mellencamp, Stephen Still, and Kelly Clarkson.

They also were named one of the top 50 arts and humanities-based programs in the country serving youth beyond school hours. The recognition was announced as part of the 2009 Coming Up Taller Awards, bestowed by the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Voices of Unity was invited to represent the United States of America in the 6th World Choir Games in Shaoxing, China in July 2010 to compete at the highest level. VOUYC is the first-ever Indiana choir to be selected to participate in the World Choir Games, which is the largest choir competition in the world and has become known as the “Choir Olympics.” Over 400 choirs from more than 80 countries were represented in this prestigious choral event competing in various categories of choral music. The Voices of Unity won two gold medals, one in the Popular Choral Music category and one in the Gospel and Spiritual category, and were also named Grand World Champions in the Gospel and Spiritual category.

The Voices of Unity Youth Choir attended the 2012 World Choir Games (The Choir Olympics) hosted in the United States for the first time, in Cincinnati, OH, July 3-14, 2012, where they defended their two gold medals in the Popular Choral Music and Gospel Music categories.

Some programs stats and outcomes since 2000

  • Unity has served 625 students since 2000, when the organization was founded.
  • Over 70% of students have been in organization for more than one year.
  • 100% of our current seniors graduate from High School
  • 89% of our students attend college or vocational school
  • We have had over 110 students enroll in 52 colleges in the United States.
  • More than 40 students have graduated from college and are pursuing their careers.
  • 10 college graduates have returned back to Fort Wayne to begin their careers.
  • 18 students graduated from college in May & June 2012
  • 6 students are now pursuing advanced degrees
  • 4 students have studied internationally
  • 8 Alumni students have been on our staff
  • 2 Alumni are currently working on our staff

Who is Marshall White?

Marshall White, is CEO and founder of Unity Performing Arts Foundation and Director/Life Coach for the Voices of Unity Youth Choir. Mr. White has three children Markeyta, Kamia, and Evan White and a stepson Chad Edmonds. He is married to Cynthia White.

Mr. White has been shaping and molding young lives for more than 30 years. He is an accomplished musician, music and vocal coach, and choral director specializing in teaching the soulful choral singing style and inspiring choir members to reach their ultimate potential by striving for excellence.

He served for 22 years as music director at True Love Baptist Church where he worked diligently to develop an attitude and standard of excellence in the church choir arena – inspiring singers of all ages to reach their full potential. He led True Love United Voices to the first gospel concert at the Embassy Theater with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic in 1984. He was instrumental in building an artistic relationship between the Philharmonic and the gospel music community in Fort Wayne.

Mr. White began receiving bits and pieces from 1993 through 1997 in dreams, of what is now a very powerful and effective leadership and artistic development vision. In 1997 he presented the vision that he spent four years writing to a group of colleagues and friends. Those who accepted his invitation to help execute the vision, spent the next three years in planning and research. Unity Performing Arts Foundation was organized and incorporated in July 2000, an unique vision that was born out of a strong desire to provide young people an effective development platform that would expose them to great positive people, train, guide, direct, empower, and equip them for life in the 21st century. On July 9, 2000, he launched the first artistic program of the organization, the Voices of Unity Youth Choir, a soulful choral program that would not only be a powerful artistic platform to showcase the talents of students 7 to 19 but also an effective development platform for building and shaping future leaders and professionals.

His work ethic, focus, consistency, and dedication to the lives of young people display his deepest desire to see them achieve at the highest level of excellence. He has realized his divine purpose on the planet, which is to lead, equip, develop, nurture, and empower these young lives to one day lead our country and make a meaningful difference in the world. His guiding philosophy is that "life is a gift from God given to us to choose what we will do with it; become a positive asset or a negative liability."

He attended Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, where he studied electronic technology. He later took courses at IPFW in vocal and music theory. He also studied at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago under the renowned jazz pianist Willie Pickens. Moreover, he has done extensive personal study in music theory, vocal development, and computer programming and electronic music. In 2005 he received an honorary doctorate in ministry from Fort Wayne Theological Seminary and Bible College of Fort Wayne, IN.

Received the 2003 Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne’s Margaret Ann Keegan Award for Program Development and Excellence.

Received the 2008 Great Men, Great Women Award for his outstanding commitment to diversity from Indiana/Purdue University of Fort Wayne Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.

He lead the Voices of Unity Youth Choir to their first international competition as representatives of the United States of America and won the World Grand Champion title and two gold medals at the 6th World Choir Games in Shaoxing, China in July 2010 and upon returning to the city he was presented the General’s award Award of Fort Wayne by Dan O'Connell, President/CEO Fort Wayne Allen County Convention and Visitors Bureau and Mayor Tom Henry, City of Fort Wayne on July 30, 2010.

He lead the Voices of Unity Youth Choir to the 7th World Choir Games that was held in the USA for the first time in Cincinnati, OH and defended their two gold medals in the Popular Choral Music and Gospel music categories.

He was selected by Governor Mitch Daniels in July 2012 to receive the prestigious Governor’s Award, The Rev, Charles Williams Community Service Excellence Award at the Indiana State House.

What is Expression?

Expression is UNITY’S creative writing program where students study various styles of writing and are given vital literary foundations for effective expression to become powerful creators and presenters of the written word. Students are also encouraged to experiment with and/or create new forms of written expression after learning about other forms of writing that have helped shape the literary landscape.

At the end of the second semester in May, students will present a recital of their works and a booklet of their writings will be produced. Students will also learn how to approach publishers about getting their works published. Some students will also be asked to produce and perform monologues for Voices of Unity Youth Choir concerts. Expression is the second artistic program to be offered by Unity Performing Arts Foundation and is made possible by grants from various foundations in the community.

To combat the steady increase each year of students who have poor reading and writing skills, Unity provides a fun and unique environment to inspire youth to read more and write better. We pose the challenge this way: If you can't read, you can't write. If you can’t write, you can't communicate effectively. If you can't communicate effectively, both in writing and in the oral presentation of writing, your job and life opportunities will be limited. Students will learn about our country’s great writers and the essential ingredients of good writing, then apply those skills to their own writing and oral presentation of writing.

What We Offer Youth

The Opportunity to Learn and Present Powerful Writing - Students in Expression will study various styles of writing (including soulful prose) and be taught vital literary foundations for effective expression to become powerful creators and presenters of the written word. They will also be encouraged to experiment with and/or create new forms of written expression after learning about other forms of writing that have helped shape the literary landscape.

Character Building and LIFE Development - Building good character prepares our youth to be unique and exceptional professionals. We equip youth with the tools to be successful and useful to society by teaching them how to communicate, lead, plan, respect authority, achieve, dream and be good citizens.

Developing Natural Artistic Talents - Virtually anyone who is passionate about written and oral expression can become skilled in written communication, in fact, some can become great at it! The goal of this program is to provide a positive environment where students can freely explore the written and spoken word.

Exposure and Incentives - Students will have an opportunity to write monologues and skits for consideration in UPAF’s choral performances; write query letters to editors seeking publication, and have their writing appear in a booklet produced by UPAF. Expression participants will also benefit from appearances by guest speakers who have had their works published.

What is Arts Academy?

YMCAThe Arts Academy is a community partnership artistic program designed by Unity Performing Arts Foundation to provide professional artistic training for inner city and suburban youth.

The Arts Academy was launched in March 2011 in collaboration with Renaissance Pointe YMCA and Unity Performing Arts Foundation. UNITY is honored to be involved with the YMCA because this will expose more inner-city youth in our community to professional artistic training and character-building coaching.

The YMCA provides youth a Christian environment where physical education exposes them to healthy living and wellness as a primary focus. The YMCA also provides other activities and programs that help young people develop their talents, intellect, and social skills. The former Old Fort YMCA and the Southeast YMCA provided artistic programming for youth that exposed them to music, dance, fine art, and singing.

The new Renaissance Pointe YMCA project plans to offer inter-city youth heightened artistic opportunities by creating a partnership with Unity Performing Arts Foundation, a multi-faceted performing arts organization that provides youth a professional artistic experience in the areas of choral music, dance, drama, creative writing, oratory and instrumental music.

The Renaissance Pointe YMCA provides funding for 30 young members to participate in the Arts Academy, UNITY’S signature Voices of Unity choral program and our creative writing program, Expression. These students are exposed to empowering opportunities that help improve their confidence, character, and leadership skills. They will also receive overall development in the areas of artistic expression that will nurture and cultivate their creativity.

Professionally trained artists that span a variety of disciplines including professional dancers, musicians, professors, and teachers conduct Arts Academy classes.

Instructor

  • Windy Cobb
  • Kenneth Hayes
  • Jim Steele
  • Daniel Stewart
  • Jason Simon
  • Kenneth Hayes
  • Bryan Nellems
  • June McCullough
  • Marshall White
  • Latissha Williams
  • Latissha Williams

Arts Academy Classes

  • Program Director
  • Arts Academy Director
  • Jazz Piano Instructor
  • Gospel Piano Instructor
  • Classical Piano Instructor
  • Special Soloist Piano Instructor
  • Percussion Instructor
  • Voice Instructor
  • Soloist Instructor
  • Modern Dance Instructor
  • Movement & Rhythm Instructor

What are the Youth Development Educational Programs?

One of the unique characteristics of Unity is its ability to use the performing arts as a tool to capture the attention of the youth in the community and bring them into an environment where they develop more than just heightened artistic abilities. Students involved in Unity are given multiple opportunities to engage in life-changing, life-building dialogue with peers, adult coaches, mentors, and volunteers. They also gain insight and information prior to college, adult and work life from our many development programs that educate, empower, condition, and prepare them for the future.

Building Your Character, One Brick At A Time (BC Training Course) – Helping students build and understand the importance of true character.

Communication, Leadership, and Impact (CLI Training) – Training that prepares our students for the real world so they are competitive among their peers in high school, college, the work force and adult life.

Empowerment Weekend Break Out Group Sessions – Students are assembled by age groups to participate in activities and workshops on topics relevant to their ages. This program helps our students to improve their social and communication skills as they participate in group sessions.

Training Institutes - Various short-term classes designed to expose, equip and ignite our students’ interest in areas such as computer technology, database design, digital audio and video, photography and graphic design, sound production and many other exciting disciplines.

Business Round Table Forums – Exposing our students to Business Owners, Corporate CEOs, and Professional Executives, thus inspiring the next generation of business executives.

Shadowing & Internship Opportunities – Exposure is the key to enhancing a youth’s perspective of the future. We believe that to increase hope in the life of a child, you must increase opportunities and possibilities for that child to dream and think big for his or her life. Connecting our high school students to professionals who have achieved their career goals is key to helping them achieve their career goals. This program finds successful professionals from various careers who are willing to make themselves accessible to young dreamers and we unite them together for several shadowing opportunities. UNITY offers our students aged 14 and older the opportunity to work as interns in our office, which also makes it possible for them to seek internships at businesses with whom we have collaborated.

RAP with the Pros (UNITY’S Young Professional Guests Rap Series) – One of the greatest ways to inspire young people to develop their greatness within is to encourage the community of greatness to be accessible to our young people. Young people tend to be influenced by whatever example is accessible to them. If that example happens to be negative, then in most cases they are forced to be inspired by that negative example. Our lecture series brings in great men and women of excellence who can relate to this generation of young minds and be a tangible example of greatness for them by sharing their stories and experiences.