St. Rose of Lima Maria Parish Center will be filled with the gospel sounds of the New Generation Singers at 7:30 p.m. Monday.
The chorus, based in St. Joseph, Mo., is a nondenominational group of high school and college students who sing traditional and contemporary Christian music. It was organized 39 years ago and has performed at churches, schools, fairs and parks throughout the United States and Canada.
Arrangements for the group to perform in Altoona were made through Dean McKnight, president of the Altoona Horseshoe Chorus and former member of the Pony Expressmen Barbershop Chorus of St. Joseph. McKnight is a friend of Byron Myers, executive director of The New Generation Singers, who contacted McKnight to say the group had an open date during its two-week tour that extends from Washington, D.C., to Ohio.
McKnight described the singers as similar to the group Up With People.
"Basically, these young people are talking about their religion. They do some gospel tunes and they're terrifically entertaining," he said.
McKnight said the performers raise their own money for the tours.
"I'm so excited about them coming," he said. "They're just such wonderful people."
Michael Kuzio, director of the Altoona Horseshoe Chorus' Youth in Harmony, which supports music in schools through the Barbershop Harmony Society, said the new Generation Singers combine music with a message.
Kuzio said the group is more like a youth group and although its concert is for all ages, it appeals to youth.
"Because of their age, they present an identity that other youth can identify with," he said. "We think it will be good for youth in the Altoona area to see other youth involved in music and the message: proclaiming their belief in Jesus Christ."
Kuzio said the singers theme of Ready, Set, God! is a "challenge for each of us to become more active and join a Bible study group, help in a food pantry, something along those lines," he said. "It is a challenge for everyone to become better Christians."
Father James Crookston said he is excited that St. Rose of Lima is hosting the concert. It also is receiving support from the Ecumenical Conference of Greater Altoona.
"I've looked forward to this kind of youth entertainment for a number of years. The New Generation Singers - looking at their brochures and knowing Mike Kuzio and other people associated with them, I'm very impressed," he said. "They'll bring a vibrant faith, give a good message and hopefully will have a good, lasting effect on those who will come to the concert."
An offering will be taken to defray expenses for bringing the group to the area.