Whitney Houston’s funeral will be held Saturday in the church where she first began singing as a child. Her family has chosen to remember her in a private service rather than in a large event at an arena, as first reported.
The funeral will be held at noon at Newark’s New Hope Baptist Church, which seats up to 1,500 people. Gospel singer Marvin Winans, a Grammy Award winner and longtime family friend, has been chosen to give the eulogy, said his son.
Winans, in his role as a pastor, also married Houston and her now ex-husband, singer Bobby Brown. Houston was very close to gospel singer, and sister to Marvin Winans, CeCe Winans. The two notably sang “Count on Me,” for the movie “Waiting to Exhale”, in which Houston starred.
The Winans and Houston families have been friends for years, and Houston has on occasion, performed with both CeCe and her brother BeBe.
Houston was born in Newark and was raised in nearby East Orange. She began singing as a child at New Hope Baptist Church, where her mother, Grammy-winning gospel singer Cissy Houston, directed the music program for several years. Houston’s cousin, singer Dionne Warwick, also sang in its choir.
Houston’s family asked Tuesday that any donations in her memory be sent to the arts-focused public school that she attended as a child and that was named after her in the late 1990s.