Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston

The PSA for the concert, produced by Doug Ferguson of Neverends Production.
Voice over produced by VOU Student: Sheldon Roberts

Concert Information

Fort Wayne's world champion Voices of Unity Youth Choir will pay tribute to legendary singers Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston in two uplifting performances June 29th.

The 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. "Alive Again" concerts will be presented at the Arts United Center, 303 E. Main St.

They will feature some of the region's top guest singers, dancers, and musicians and a choir of young contemporary singers who won gold medals at the world championship in China in 2010 and were honored again at the 2012 World Choir Games in Cincinnati.

Full Press Release

Michael Jackson Portrait Michael Jackson Portrait

Michael Joseph Jackson

American superstar Michael Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana, on August 29, 1958, and entertained audiences nearly his entire life. His father, Joe Jackson, had been a guitarist but was forced to give up his musical ambitions following his marriage to Katherine (Scruse). Together they prodded their growing family's musical interests at home.

By the early 1960s, the older boys Jackie, Tito and Jermaine had begun performing around the city; by 1964, Michael and Marlon had joined in. A musical prodigy, Michael's singing and dancing talents were amazingly mature, and he soon became the dominant voice and focus of The Jackson 5. An opening act for such soul groups as the O-Jays and James Brown, it was Gladys Knight (not Diana Ross) who officially brought the group to Berry Gordy's attention, and by 1969, the boys were producing back-to-back chart-busting hits as Motown artists ("I Want You Back," "ABC," "Never Can Say Goodbye," "Got to Be There," etc.).

As a product of the 1970s, the boys emerged as one of the most accomplished black pop/soul vocal groups in music history, successfully evolving from a group like The Temptations to a disco phenomenon. Solo success for Michael was inevitable, and by the 1980s, he had become infinitely more popular than his brotherly group. Record sales consistently orbited, culminating in the biggest-selling album of all time, "Thriller" in 1982. A TV natural, he ventured rather uneasily into films, such as playing the Scarecrow in The Wiz (1978), but had much better luck with elaborate music videos.

In the 1990s, the downside as an 1980s pop phenomenon began to rear itself. Michael grew terribly child-like and introverted by his peerless celebrity. A rather timorous, androgynous figure to begin with, his physical appearance began to change drastically, and his behavior grew alarmingly bizarre, making him a consistent target for scandal-making, despite his numerous charitable acts. Two brief marriages -- one to Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley -- were forged and two children produced by his second wife during that time, but the purposes behind them appeared image-oriented. Despite it all, Michael Jackson's passion and artistry as a singer, dancer, writer and businessman are unparalleled, and it is these prodigious talents that will ultimately prevail over the extremely negative aspects of his seriously troubled adult life.

For it all to end on June 25, 2009, with his sudden death at age 50 of a drug-induced cardiac arrest, just as he was coming out of a four-year reclusive period and rehearsing for a sold-out London concert "comeback" in July, seems uncommonly cruel and tragic. Millions upon millions of dedicated fans will remember where they were "the day Michael died".

Whitney Houston Portrait Whitney Houston Portrait

Whitney Elizabeth Houston

Whitney Elizabeth Houston was born into a musical family on 9 August 1963, in Newark, New Jersey, the daughter of gospel star Cissy Houston, cousin of singing star Dionne Warwick and goddaughter of soul legend Aretha Franklin.

She began singing in the choir at her church, The New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, as a young child and by the age of 15 was singing backing vocals professionally with her mother on Chaka Khan's 1978 hit, 'I'm Every Woman'. She went on to provide backing vocals for Lou Rawls, Jermaine Jackson and her own mother and worked briefly as a model, appearing on the cover of 'Seventeen' magazine in 1981.

She began working as a featured vocalist for the New York-based funk band Material and it was the quality of her vocal work with them that attracted the attention of the major record labels, including Arista with whom she signed in 1983 and where she stayed for the rest of her career.

Her debut album, 'Whitney Houston', was released in 1985 and became the biggest-selling album by a debut artist. Several hit singles, including 'Saving All My Love For You', 'How Will I Know', 'You Give Good Love', and 'The Greatest Love of All', were released from the album, setting her up for a Beatles-beating seven consecutive US number ones. The album itself sold 3 million copies in its first year in the US and went on to sell 25 million worldwide, winning her the first of her six Grammies.

The 1987 follow-up album, 'Whitney', which included the hits 'Where Do Broken Hearts Go' and 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody', built on her success but it was the 1992 film The Bodyguard (1992) that sealed her place as one of the best-selling artists of all time. While the movie itself and her performance in it were not highly praised, the soundtrack album and her cover of the Dolly Parton song 'I Will Always Love You' topped the singles and albums charts for months and sold 44 million copies around the world.

That same year she married ex-New Edition singer Bobby Brown with whom she had her only child, their daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown in March 1993. It was about this time that her much documented drug use began and by 1996 she was a daily user.

Her 1998 album, 'My Love Is Your Love' was well reviewed but the drug abuse began to affect her reputation and press reports at the time said that she was becoming difficult to work with, if she turned up at all. She was dropped from a performance at The 72nd Annual Academy Awards (2000) (TV) because she was "out of it" at rehearsals. Her weight fluctuated wildly - she was so thin at a 'Michael Jackson' tribute in 2001 that rumors circulated the next day that she had died - and her voice began to fail her. She was twice admitted to rehab and declared herself drug-free in 2010 but returned to rehab in May 2011.

Her 2009 comeback album 'I Look To You' was positively received and sold well, but promotional performances were still marred by her weakened voice. Her final acting performance was in Sparkle (2012/I) (a remake of the 1976 movie, Sparkle (1976)), released after her death.

She was found dead in a Beverly Hills hotel room on 11 February 2012.