GARY | There will be a blend of musical sounds starring on two of Gary's main stages Saturday.
Gospel great Shirley Caesar and The Rance Allen Group plan to stir up spirits when they perform gospel favorites at 7 p.m. at West Side Theatre, 900 Gerry St., while Tito Puente Jr. will heat up the stage with the Pacific Mambo Orchestra at 7 p.m. at Wirt-Emerson Theatre Auditorium, 210 N. Grand Blvd.
"With these concerts, I want to promote that the arts are alive and vibrant in Gary," said Mark Spencer, director of West Side Theatre Guild and president of MasMedia 7.
West Side Theatre Guild is presenting the Caesar show while Spencer's MasMedia 7 is presenting the Puente concert.
The gospel show opens West Side Theatre Guild's 18th season. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Call (219) 293-5224 or visit gospelingary.eventbrite.com.
General admission tickets for Puente are $20, student tickets with ID are $10. Tickets are available at eventbrite.com.
Spencer said it was a conscious decision on his part to present both shows on the same day, believing it will help in bringing out bigger and diverse audiences to the city's arts' venues.
"To have two iconic figures of music in the same place at the same time is a rare occurrence," Spencer said.
"Shirley Caesar is a gospel icon. It's her third visit here and it's going to be quite exciting," Spencer said.
Opening acts for Caesar will be Pharis Evans Jr. & Saints with a Vision, and Arniece Johnson.
About Puente, Spencer said "It'll be an incredible opportunity to hear him and the musicians."
Puente's father was famous for his Latin, tropical and salsa music and his son is following in his footsteps. The Puente event is sponsored in part by Indiana University Northwest's Latino Studies, Black Student Union, African-American Studies and A.L.M.A.