NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Preparations are being made at the Newark N.J., church where a funeral will be held tomorrow for Whitney Houston, who died last week in Beverly Hills, California, at the age of 48.
New Hope Baptist Church is where Houston sang with the choir as a child and showcased her gift. Sound equipment is being set up for the musical tributes and to accommodate the expected crowd. The church seats about 1,500 but only those with invitations will be permitted.
Several dozen fans gathered outside the church yesterday, contributing to and taking pictures of the makeshift memorial to the superstar. But they won't be able to gather outside the sanctuary before or during the funeral. Newark police say streets will be shut down for six square blocks around the church.
Two entertainment icons are set to sing at Whitney Houston's funeral. A publicist for the late entertainer says Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder will sing at Saturday's private funeral. And publicist Kristen Foster says invitations have gone out to Houston's ex-husband, Bobby Brown. Also invited are Oprah Winfrey and actor Kevin Costner, who co-stared with Houston in "The Bodyguard."
Longtime mentor Clive Davis is to speak. The eulogy itself will be given by gospel singer and pastor Marvin Winans, a longtime family friend.