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Annual Christian music tour coming to the Arena

Special Photo. Contemporary Christian band NewSong will perform Sunday at the Arena at Gwinnett Center during Winter Jam 2010, the annual music tour the group founded in 1995.

Special Photo. Contemporary Christian band NewSong will perform Sunday at the Arena at Gwinnett Center during Winter Jam 2010, the annual music tour the group founded in 1995.

Some of the biggest bands in Christian music today -- and some of the best up-and-coming artists you may have never heard of -- will rock the Arena at Gwinnett Center this Sunday.

Winter Jam 2010, the largest, annual Christian music tour in the country, has brought together eight diverse artists all delivering uplifting and inspiring messages.

The lineup includes Grammy Award-winning rock band Third Day, which hails from Marietta, Grammy-nominated pop rock group Newsboys and Tenth Avenue North, the band that took home the Gospel Music Association's Dove Award for 2009's New Artist of the Year.

"Everybody who likes music will hear something they will like," said Russ Lee, lead singer for the band NewSong, which started the annual tour in 1995 and has hosted every year since. NewSong got its start at Morningside Baptist Church in Valdosta.

Since its inception, Winter Jam has grown to hold the title of the largest event in the history of Christian music, drawing almost 400,000 people during the 2009 tour.

"It's all a God thing," Lee said. "We're all just kind of scratching our head."

Fifteen years in, the purpose has remained the same.

"The heart of it from the beginning was to make Christian music affordable to everyone," Lee said. "It was a real desire to bring the community together for an event where they could be encouraged and they could hear good music and be blessed. It's about bringing the message of the Gospel."

Admission to the concert is by a suggested donation of $10. Those who can give above that amount are welcome to, and those who can't give at all are still invited to attend.

"To this day, if people come to the concert and they don't have the money to get in, they can come to Winter Jam," Lee said. "We felt like it's what God wanted us to do the whole time trusting him to (take care of) the results. A whole lot of a little thing becomes a lot. If we all kind of do it together and everyone gives what they can, God just works it out."