by Robert Bell
6 p.m. Statehouse Convention Center. $250.
Gladys Knight is, without question, one of the great soul singers of all time. She got started in the 1950s when she was just a child, and with her backup singers The Pips, she cut numerous chart hits throughout the '60s, '70s and '80s, including "Every Beat of My Heart," "Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me," "If I Were Your Woman," "Midnight Train to Georgia" and many more.
Though rooted in gospel, Knight's hits spanned a wide stylistic range, from doo wop and early R&B to gritty soul to sophisticated pop. The group cut the original version of "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" for Motown and had success throughout the '70s, '80s and '90s, netting several Grammys.
Now you're probably looking at that $250 cover charge and thinking it's pretty steep, but this is a dinner gala benefiting Arkansas Baptist College, the 127-year-old historically black Little Rock college that has been on a major enrollment upswing and expansion of facilities under the leadership of its president, Fitz Hill.