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Studdard to help Calhoun celebrate 60th

By Bayne Hughes 340-2432

The "Velvet Teddy Bear" will help Calhoun Community College celebrate its 60th anniversary.

Calhoun Public Relations Director Janet Martin said Wednesday that Ruben Studdard, 2003 American Idol winner and Birmingham native, has agreed to perform Sept. 27 on the lawn of the Health-Sciences Building.

Opening acts for the 7 p.m. concert will be Dorothy Cole as Tina Turner; Ahead of the Wake; The Alabama Blues Brothers; and Monkee and the Spank Daddy's.

Year of activities

The concert is part of a series of year-long activities planned to celebrate Calhoun's anniversary.

Chancellor Bradley Byrne will participate in a ribbon cutting Oct. 5 to celebrate the opening of the 1-year-old Health-Sciences Building. The Calhoun Foundation is sponsoring a black-tie anniversary gala March 1.

Guest judge Gladys Knight christened Studdard the "Velvet Teddy Bear" midway through the second season of American Idol in early 2003. The nickname stuck due his large girth and Luther Vandross-like voice.

Area fans will be among the first to hear Studdard's third album, "The Return," scheduled for official release Oct. 17. Studdard's first album, "Soulful," was released in December 2003. He received a Grammy Award nomination for best R&B male vocal performance for "Superstar." His idol, Vandross, won the category.

In March 2004, Studdard won the NAACP Best New Artist award.

Studdard released a gospel album, "I Need An Angel" in November 2004. The album reached No. 1 on Billboard magazine's 2005 year-end gospel album charts.

Advanced tickets are $10 for students and $15 for adults. Tickets are $20 on the day of the event. The school will announce locations to buy tickets at a later date.

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