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Greater Gresham Baptist pastor puts on performing hat

Although it may seem like a departure from his usual role as pastor of Greater Gresham Baptist Church, Keith Evans is embracing being a performer.

'It touches on two things I love to do - I love music and I love to give back to the community,' Evans said.

Evans will appear in 'What A Swell Party This Is,' a Broadway revue celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Mt. Hood Jazz Festival and the 10th anniversary of the Mt. Hood Repertory Theatre.

The performance will begin at 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6, in the theater arts building, Mt. Hood Community College, 26000 S.E. Stark St., Gresham.

Evans got involved with the production at the invitation of Tobias Anderson, director of the Mt. Hood Repertory Theatre, who attended a performance at Greater Gresham Baptist Church.

'Tobias is doing a great job of really trying to promote theater and the arts in East County,' Evans said. 'He's done a lot of work in putting the script together and the songs. I think it will be a quality evening.'

The first half of the performance will feature local performers like Evans, and the second half will feature the Broadway Baritones, a New York based group.

In addition to singing in the chorus, Evans will sing 'Oh! What A Beautiful Morning' from Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'Oklahoma!'

Evans was raised and educated in Oklahoma, so the musical has special meaning for him.

Although he has been in a few plays and musical productions, Evans said he has never done anything quite like 'What A Swell Party This Is.'

His performance background is primarily in music. He played the trombone in a jazz band when he was in college, has been in a variety of vocal groups and sometimes sing at church.

Evans said he is looking forward to working in the company of professionals but anticipates that the choreography will be challenging.

Evans has been a pastor at Greater Gresham Baptist for a little more than 10 years.

He previously served a congregation in Monmouth and was a campus minister there.

Part of his mission as a church leader is to find ways to serve the community, and this may be a different way to do it, but 'it's still a part of who I am as a pastor,' Evans said.

If you go

What: 'What A Swell Party This Is,' a Broadway revue to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Mt. Hood Jazz Festival and the 10th anniversary of the Mt. Hood Repertory Theatre.

When: 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6.

Where: Theater arts building, Mt. Hood Community College, 26000 S.E. Stark St., Gresham.

Tickets: Cost is $25 per person. Proceeds will benefit the Gresham Center for the Arts Foundation and the Mt. Hood Repertory Theatre.

For more information: Call 503-665-7800.