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Christian artists to perform at youth inaugural concerts

WASHINGTON (BP)–Contemporary Christian artists Jaci Velasquez and Jessica Simpson will perform for the Jan. 19 Concert Celebrating America’s Youth at Washington’s MCI Center, according to the executive director of the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

Velasquez and Simpson, both born-again Christians, were invited to appear with Destiny’s Child, 98 Degrees, 9 Days and country music superstar Lee Ann Womack.

In addition, President-elect George W. Bush, Vice President-elect Dick Cheney and cabinet nominees Colin Powell, Rod Paige and Mel Martinez are scheduled to address the more than 13,000 young people at the event.

“This special event, designed specially for our nation’s youth, celebrates America’s spirit in song and dance,” said Jeanne Johnson Phillips, executive director of the committee. “The youth concert blends modern musical talent with a message encouraging social responsibility, excellence in education and commitment to volunteerism.”

Phillips said a special emphasis has been made to include church youth groups in the event through the invitations being extended to Velasquez and Simpson.

“The concert not only highlights the inaugural theme of inclusion, but it demonstrates it by giving thousands of complimentary tickets back to schools, churches and institutions of goodwill in our communities and across America,” Phillips added.

Velasquez, a Latin pop sensation whose first album became the fastest-selling solo debut recording in the history of Christian music, is scheduled to perform “America the Beautiful.”

She has gone on to become one of the top-selling teenage artists of all time, sharing accolades with various secular artists.

Her self-titled second album remained on BillBoard’s Top 200 chart for 16 consecutive weeks.

Simpson is a native of Dallas and started her singing career in a Southern Baptist church.

After trying out for the Mickey Mouse Fan Club, she was discovered by a gospel music label in Texas. Simpson scored a hit with her crossover audience with the release of “Sweet Kisses” in late 1999.

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  • Todd Starnes