The Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum will host a tribute to soul music during its seventh annual gala benefit, Saints, Sinners & Soul, Friday, Sept. 30 at 5:30 p.m. at Saginaw Valley State University.

The event will feature the musical talents of Saginaw native Sharrie Williams, known as the Princess of Rockin’ Gospel Blues. Born and raised in Saginaw’s housing projects, she grew up surrounded by music and singing throughout childhood, being raised in a musical family.

“My aunt and grandma were jazz singers,” Williams said. ”My father was a gospel/jazz singer in the 1950s and 1960s. My mother was a gospel singer, and my brother is a gospel singer.”

Williams’s distinctive style of “Rockin’ Gospel Blues” is surrounded by strong and powerful vocals and arrangements with songs that grab your soul, such as “Hard Drivin’ Woman,” Travellin” and “Blues Lover.”

Over the years Williams has collaborated with national recording artists such as Larry McCray and Ron Prince. She has been influenced by Etta James, Pattie Labelle, Aretha Franklin and Billie Holiday. In January 2007 Williams signed a recording contract with the Canadian based Blues label Electro-Fi Records. In addition to this incredible entertainer, the Museum will launch a new exhibit that evening: “Harry Bertoia: Abstract Drawings.”

Saints, Sinners & Soul includes a silent art auction and a live auction. Proceeds from the benefit will support exhibitions and educational programs at the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum. The event takes its name from the “Saints and Sinners” Fountain, a sculpture by the museum’s namesake located at the Midland Center for the Arts.

The Dow Chemical Company is the title sponsor of the event. Individual sponsors include Matt and Kathleen Davis, Carl and Christina Fredericks, Heinz and Marlis Haller, Dave and Patti Kepler, Donna and Chris VanSteenhouse, and William and Susan Vititoe. Corporate sponsors include Bierlein Companies, Inc. Consumers Energy, Pumford Construction, Morley Foundation and SC Johnson.

Tickets to Saints, Sinners & Soul are $80 per person or $150 for a couple, and can be purchased in advance by calling (989) 964-7082. Tickets will also be available at the door.

For more information about the event, contact the 

© Marilyn L. Wheaton, 2011