Back to School the Healthy Way event set for Friday


On Friday, the Brooklyn-based contemporary gospel group, the Destiny Music Group, and contemporary gospel artists Ayana George and Harold "Zion" Edwards will be among five musical acts to donate their time to perform at the New England Newspapers Inc.'s "Back to School the Healthy Way" event at the Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough, Mass.

The family-oriented event is from 4-7 p.m. at the former Old Navy retail space. This event is free and open to the public.

Destiny Music Group is a young production team and rising independent record label that represents a collective of music performing artists and genres. The group was founded by Gary Coach, an organist at Destiny Christian Center.

Coach said his faith and his friends were his inspiration to start a music group. "My initial thoughts were to provide an outlook in which my peers could express themselves through the art. I chose the name Destiny Music Group because it lined up with the vision of my father's, and plus it has a nice ring to it," he said.

In addition to working in the studio and promoting youth ministries, the group started the new year with a benefit concert for Hurricane Sandy victims. They're also working to stay active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and with their blog,

After performing in the Berkshires, the group will be preparing for the Sept. 13 release of its new single, "I Belong to You." It will be performed and celebrated at the John Ryan Theater in Brooklyn, in a special event featuring Anita Joseph, Destiny Music Group and Kadeem Nichols.

Ayana George and Zion will be performing at two events in the Berkshires tonight as part of a Northeast tour.

They will sing first at The Eagle's "Back to School the Healthy Way" event.

Later in the evening, the two will headline the event "Gospel United: The Next Step," which will take place from 8 to 10 p.m. at Price Memorial AME Zion Church, 163 Linden St., in Pittsfield. Admission to this event is $5 for adults, $2 for youths age 12 and younger.

Raised in the Bronx, N.Y., George made her off-Broadway debut in the musical production, "Love Happened by Chance," written by Twana Lawler, with music by Jerome Brooks Jr., and directed by Dwight Ali Williams.

She has worked in ministry with gospel "greats" such as Shirley Caesar, Karen Clark-Sheard, J.Moss, Donald Lawrence, Kim Burrell, Marvin Sapp, Hezekiah Walker & LFCC and Pastor Donnie McClurkin, among others. She also appeared as a background vocalist on the third season of the BET television show "Sunday Best."

Zion is a gospel rap artist who currently attends Christ Centered Reformed Baptist Church in Savannah, Ga., where he serves as pastor/co-elder with James Eady Sr.

He served as the youth and young adults pastor at Fairlawn Baptist Church in Savannah. He was also the president and founder of JFC (Josiah's For Christ Youth and Young Adults Empowerment Ministry), and is the president and founder of Christ Centered Music Ministries (CCM).

In 2003, his first recorded musical project, "Let the Truth Be Known," was birthed. The project was recognized in 2004 with a Holy Hip Hop Artist of the Year award from Savannah's Gospel 1230 WSOK Gospel Music awards. "Truth" was followed by "Field of Dreams" in 2005. Zion signed with New Mind Records in 2007, and re-released the latter CD under the title, "Let Me In."

His music video "He Was There for Me" debuted on BET's "Video Gospel" show in 2007. Since then, Zion has released two more CD projects, an EP, "Trouble," and "Bury Me," released nationally in 2011.

Earlier this year, he toured in Pittsfield, North Adams, Lanesborough; Bennington; Canaan, N.Y., as well as in New York and throughout the southern states.

Zion's new album, "Soli Deo Gloria," will be released on Sept. 3.


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