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Gospel singer Ivan Parker to perform at Lake Magdalene Church

CARROLLWOOD

Debbie Culver was doing some chores around the house the first time she heard the voice on a gospel music compilation called Gaither Homecoming.

Rich and multilayered, it immediately struck Culver — so much so that she stopped in her tracks and grabbed the CD sleeve to find out the singer's name.

Ivan Parker, it read.

Parker, born and raised in Sanford, N.C., performed his first gospel song in front of a Pentecostal church when he was 2 years old. He has been singing ever since. Over the years, he has recorded a dozen CDs and half as many DVDs and performed in venues all over the world including Carnegie Hall.

On Feb. 21, Parker brings his tunes to Lake Magdalene Church in Carrollwood. Culver, a church member for 28 years, was instrumental in bringing Parker to town.

"I'm called an Ivanizer, a huge fan" she said. "His voice just stirs the Holy Spirit in me, and that's why I decided to help spread his music and his message throughout our community."

While Parker's music resonates deeply with Culver, it's his lyrics that stir the deepest connection. Parker, she said, reminds his audience that Jesus Christ took away their sins when he died and was resurrected.

Another fan, Beth Nussel, is also looking forward to the concert.

Nussel, a registered nurse and wife of Lake Magdalene Church pastor Richard Nussel, said she grew up listening to Bill Gaither and other old-time gospel singers. Parker, she said, takes her back to that time.

"Ivan brings back memories of sharing that music with my mom and my grandmother," she said. "He just reaffirms the foundation of family that's been carried on through the generations."

Culver conceded that when she first announced Parker's concert to the church's membership, not everyone knew about him. Then the church started to air segments from some of his DVDs during services, and a small buzz turned louder.

"People have just loved what they've heard," said Culver. "One lady bought 16 tickets the other day."

She also noted that while younger people might typically be attracted to rock 'n' roll-style music, Parker will reach them because the message in his words will strike a chord.

"If people hear him once, they're hooked," she said.

AT A GLANCE

If you go

Tickets for the Ivan Parker concert are available at Lake Magdalene Church, 2902 W Fletcher Ave. Reserved seating is sold out. General admission seats are $10. Those age 18 and under are admitted free. For more details, call the church at (813) 961-1254.

Gospel singer Ivan Parker to perform at Lake Magdalene Church 02/12/09 [Last modified: Thursday, February 12, 2009 3:30am]
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