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Gospel legend set to perform

Special photo<br>Christian recording artist and songwriter Bill Gaither and the reunited Gaither Vocal Band will perform Thursday at the Arena at
Gwinnett Center on the Gaither Homecoming Christmas Tour.

Special photo
Christian recording artist and songwriter Bill Gaither and the reunited Gaither Vocal Band will perform Thursday at the Arena at Gwinnett Center on the Gaither Homecoming Christmas Tour.

DULUTH -- Some of the most well-known Christian hymns were written by Bill Gaither.

From his breakthrough song "He Touched Me" in 1964, which was co-written by his wife, Gloria, to later classics such as the poignant "It Is Finished" and the reflective "There's Something About That Name," Gaither has been a longtime mainstay of gospel and Christian music.

At 73, the Indiana native has no plans to slow down. Gaither recently reunited with former members of the Gaither Vocal Band, the group he founded in the early 1980s.

"We organized this thing in January and they all said, 'We want to stay with you until you want to hang it up,'" he said. "And I don't know when that will be."

The reunited Vocal Band will perform Thursday at the Arena at Gwinnett Center during the Gaither Homecoming Christmas Tour, a concert featuring a host of special guests who will join Gaither and his wife for a holiday helping of Christmas classics with some fan favorites mixed in.

"People are going to be disappointed if the Vocal Band does not sing some of our other songs," Gaither said, but "you have not heard 'O Holy Night' until David Phelps closes out the night. I'm prejudiced, but it's a wonderful Christmas concert."

The lineup includes multi-instrumental musician Buddy Greene, Gospel Music Hall of Fame member Larnelle Harris, award-winning family band The Isaacs, husband-and-wife duo Reggie and Ladye Love Smith, pianist/keyboardist Gordon Mote and more.

"It's really hard to beat Buddy Green playing the harmonica and the whole crowd singing 'Silent Night' with all the stage lights down," Gaither said.

Tickets for the Gaither Homecoming Christmas Tour stop in Duluth are available through the Gwinnett Center Box Office and all Ticketmaster retail outlets. For more information, visit www.gwinnett

center.com.