Houston Memorial Takes Shape

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - 4:19pm

Late singer will be laid to rest in hometown of Newark.

Talk of a large scale farewell for Whitney Houston has changed.

Plans were announced Tuesday for a much smaller farewell for the late singer.

The same Newark, New Jersey church where Whitney Houston sang as a child will now be the scene of her funeral Saturday.

Houston's family chose New Hope Baptist Church for the private, invitation-only event.

The church is already home to a makeshift memorial by mourners, but Houston's family has announced no plans for a public service.

"They have shared her for some 30 years with the city, with the state, with the world. This is their time now for their farewell," said funeral home owner Carolyn Whigham.

Last night dozens of fans greeted the hearse carrying Houston's body as it arrived at Wigham Funeral Home in Newark.

The 48-year-old died Saturday in Beverly Hills, her body discovered underwater in a
hotel bathtub.

It could be weeks before toxicology tests reveal a cause of death.

Houston's godmother, Aretha Franklin, shared her grief over the singer's passing last night in Charlotte.

She honored a performance commitment, telling concert goers she needed music to soothe her soul.

Houston's fans meanwhile, are honoring her memory through her music.

According to Billboard Magazine, digital sales of "I Will Always Love You" have gone from less than 3,000 in the week preceding her death to more than 200,000 since.

It's an echo of Houston's musical legacy.

"She's had three albums spend more than 10 weeks at Number One on the Billboard Albums Chart. There's no other woman in the history of the charts that's done that more than once," notes Billboard editorial director Bill Werde.

Now the legendary singer whose highs and lows had a very public audience will have a very private farewell.

Houston's family is asking that in lieu of flowers, mourners make donations in the singer's
memory to "The Whitney Houston Academy of Creative and Performing Arts" in East Orange, New
Jersey.

Houston attended there as a young girl, when it was called "The Franklin School".
 

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