Founded in 1967_ by the late Rev.doc by shensengvf


									Gospel Detroit has made a profound impact on gospel music around the world. Thomas Dorsey, a noted blues musician who
merged sounds to create traditional gospel music in the 1930s, chose Detroit as one of the first places to establish gospel choruses
and sent trainers to the area to teach this new repertoire. Detroit’s ascendance as a center of gospel music also was impacted by a
century of dynamic preachers such as the Reverends James. L. Lofton and C.L. Franklin, who preached and sang gospel
themselves. Independent recording companies and radio programs also boosted the popularity of gospel music, along with
Detroit’s abundance of talented singers, composers and musicians.

JAMES CLEVELAND was born in Chicago, Illinois on December 5, 1931 to Rosie Lee and Benjamin Cleveland during the
height of the greatest depression. James’ grandmother attended Pilgrim Baptist Church, where she was a member of the choir.
James had no choice but to attend these rehearsals with his grandmother and found himself sitting through these choir rehearsals –
bored stiff!! Eventually James decided he would conquer the boredom through attempting to sing along with the choir. It was in
one of these rehearsal that James’ singing was noticed and he was made choir mascot. The choir director, Thomas A. Dorsey
wrote a song for him which launched the career of what was the be a long line of performances. Through Dorsey’s teaching and
directing young James was influenced in a great way.

Playing the piano was a skill that James developed through trial and error. His keen ear and ability to quickly grasp musical style
helped him develop a command of the keyboard. But it was Roberta Martin who was the inspiration for his piano style. At a
young age, James patterned his playing after Mrs. Martin, and it was Roberta Martin who published James Cleveland’s first
composition, “I Want to See Jesus”. After developing his musical skills, James went to New York where he became Minister of
Music at Faith Temple COGIC. where Bishop A. A. Childs was pastor. There he worked with organist Herman Stevens. From
New York, James went to Philadelphia, where along with Bessie Folk and Narcellus McKissick (former members of the Martin
Singers) the Gospel group “The Gospelaires” was formed. After much success with the Gospelaires, James went on to move to
Detroit, Michigan where he became Minister of Music for Dr. C. L. Franklin. In the course of the next few years, James moved
from Detroit to Chicago, and then back to Detroit. It was then that he became Second Assistant Pastor to Rev. Chas A. Craig Sr.,
at Prayer Tabernacle and through this fellowship the famous “Voices of Tabernacle” was born. Eventually Rev. Cleveland
relocated to Los Angeles, California, where he founded the Cornerstone Baptist Church. Even though the church started with less
than 100 members, the membership grew to over 7,000 people.

Gospel Music Workshop of America is an international music convention founded by the late Rev. James Cleveland in 1967.

Cleveland held the first GMWA convention in Detroit, Michigan in 1968 at King Solomon Baptist Church. Approximately 3,000
delegates attended. The GMWA typically holds its conventions beginning on the second Sunday of August. The conventions
include workshops and musical performances during the week and attract 12,000 to 15,000 registrants annually.

Active GMWA Membership ranges from professional and amateur gospel vocalists to instrumentalists, composers, arrangers,
directors and producers, and the like. According to its official website, approximately 75% of the music on Billboard's Gospel
Charts is written, arranged, produced, or performed by GMWA members. The GMWA also has chapters in the United States,
United Kingdom, the Carribean, Europe, and Asia.

A mass choir of 2,000 to 3,000 vocalists is formed at each GMWA convention, and year a new recording is produced. GMWA
offshoots who also record include GMWA Women of Worship, GMWA Men of Promise, and the GMWA Youth Choir.

James Cleveland
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James Cleveland (December 5, 1931 - February 9, 1991) was a gospel singer, arranger, composer and, most significantly, the
driving force behind the creation of the modern gospel sound, bringing the stylistic daring of hard gospel and jazz and pop music
influences to arrangements for mass choirs.
Born in Chicago, he began singing as a boy soprano at Pilgrim Baptist Church, where Thomas A. Dorsey was minister of music
and Roberta Martin was pianist for the choir. He strained his vocal cords as a teenager while part of a local gospel group, leaving
the distinctive gravelly voice that was his hallmark in his later years. The change in his voice led him to focus on his skills as a
pianist and later as a composer and arranger. For his pioneering accomplishments and contributions, he is regarded by many to be
one of the greatest gospel singers to ever live.[1]

In 1950, Cleveland joined the Gospelaires, a trio led by Norsalus McKissick and Bessie Folk, who were associated with Martin.
Martin hired him as a composer and arranger after the group disbanded. His arrangements of songs such as "(Give Me That) Old
Time Religion" and "It's Me O Lord" transformed them, giving a rocking lilt and insistent drive to old standards.

Cleveland subsequently went to work for Albertina Walker & the Caravans as a composer, arranger, pianist and occasional
singer/narrator. Albertina Walker provided James the opportunity to do his very first recording after convincing her record
company (by staying out of the studio for a while) to allow her to record James. He quit and returned to the Caravans a number of
times to join other groups, such as the Gospel All-Stars and the Gospel Chimes, where he mixed pop ballad influences with
traditional shouting. In 1959 he recorded a version of Ray Charles' hit "Hallelujah I Love Her So" as a solo artist.

He became known by more than just the professionals within gospel music with his version of the Soul Stirrers' song, "The Love
of God", backed by the Voices of Tabernacle from Detroit. Cleveland attained even greater popularity working with keyboardist
Billy Preston and the Angelic Choir of Nutley, New Jersey; his recording of "Peace Be Still", an obscure 18th century madrigal,
sold hundreds of thousands of copies thanks to Cleveland's comforting growl and emotional command.

Cleveland capitalized on his success by founding his own choir, the Southern California Community Choir, as well as a church
that went from a handful of congregants to thousands of members during his life. His influence stretched even further: like Dorsey
before him, he taught others how to achieve the modern gospel sound through his annual Gospel Singers Workshop Convention,
put on by the Gospel Music Workshop of America ("GMWA"), an organization that Cleveland founded along with Albertina
Walker, and which has over 30,000 members in 150 chapters. The GMWA has produced, among others, John P. Kee.

The style he pioneered — large disciplined organizations who used complex arrangements and unusual time signatures to turn
their massive vocal power to achieve the propulsive rhythms, intricate harmonies and individual virtuosity of the greatest groups of
gospel's Golden Age — was still the wellspring for the mass choirs of that era. [2] [3]

[edit] Death & Controversy
Cleveland died in 1991 in Culver City, California.[4] Though his death is often recognized euphemistically as having been a result
of heart failure, there has been an enduring controversy as to whether or not Cleveland actually succumbed to AIDS-related
complications.[5] [6] [7] Subsequent to these rumors circulating, Christopher Harris, a former member of Cleveland's church
levied allegations of homosexuality and pedophilia against Cleveland in a 1994 news article.[8] Neither are widely discussed
within the gospel music community. [9]

[edit] Trivia
James Cleveland was the first gospel artist ever to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Rev. Cleveland was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Trinity Bible College.
David and Delores Winans, matriarch and patriarch of the famous Winans family, met while in the Lucille Lemon Choir,
conducted by James Cleveland.
Aretha Franklin was among the many people who learned from James Cleveland.
Cleveland's voice was sampled and reworked for the gospel song "One Sunday Morning" by Tonéx.
He and his choir appear on the song "Where's the Shoorah?" from Elton John's 1976 album Blue Moves.

[edit] Awards
Grammy Award won for Best Gospel Album By A Choir Or Chorus 1990:
The Southern California Community Choir: Having Church
Grammy Award won for Best Soul Gospel Performance, Traditional 1980:
James Cleveland & The Charles Fold Singers: Lord, Let Me Be An Instrument
Grammy Award won for Best Soul Gospel Performance, Traditional 1977:
James Cleveland: James Cleveland Live At Carnegie Hall
Grammy Award won for Best Soul Gospel Performance 1974:
James Cleveland & The Southern California Community Choir: In The Ghetto

Rev. Charles Ashley Craig II
Fred Hammond
Rev. Charles Nicks Jr.
Elma Lois Hendrix Parham
Herbert Pickard
Rance Allen Group
Della Reese /The Meditation Singers
Esther Smith
Min. Donald Vails
Min. Thomas Whitfield
The Winans

During the early 1930s, Thomas Dorsey created gospel music -- the African American religious music which married secular blues
to a sacred text. Under the name “Georgia Tom” he performed with blues artist Ma Rainey and her Wild Cats Jazz Band. He wrote
over 400 compositions, but it is for “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” that he is best known.
Dorsey was the son of a Baptist preacher; his mother was the church organist. Throughout his early years he felt torn between the
sacred and the secular. At eleven, he left school to take a job at a local vaudeville theater. Six years later, Dorsey left Atlanta for
Chicago. He was part of the Great Migration north. In Chicago, Dorsey found success almost immediately. He was known as the
“whispering piano player,” called to perform at after-hours parties where the pianist had to play quietly enough to avoid drawing
police attention.

At twenty-one, his hectic and unhealthy schedule led to a nervous breakdown. He convalesced back home in Atlanta. There, his
mother admonished him to stop playing the blues and “ serve the Lord.” He ignored her and returned to Chicago, playing with Ma
Rainey. He married his sweetheart, Nettie Harper. But in 1925, a second breakdown left Dorsey unable to play music.

After his recovery three years later, Dorsey committed himself to composing sacred music. However, mainstream churches
rejected his songs. Then, in August 1932, Dorsey’s life was thrown into crisis when his wife and son died during childbirth. In his
grief, he turned to the piano for comfort. The tune he wrote, “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” came, he says, direct from God.
Dorsey co-founded the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses in 1933. Six years later, he teamed with Mahalia
Jackson, and the team ushered in what was known as the “Golden Age of Gospel Music.” Dorsey himself became known as the
father of gospel music. He died in 1993.
During Black History month, asked our visitors to give us the names of Detroiters whom they feel have
contributed to the rich heritage of gospel music in our great city.

We the staff of would like honor these individuals and say thanks to all whom have contributed to the heritage
of gospel music in Detroit and those who participated in the survey.

Here are the honorees who received the most votes:

Mattie Moss-Clark
Clark was born in Selma, Alabama in 1925 and began playing the piano when she was six years old. By the time she was 12, Clark
became the musician for her mother's services at the Church of Christ and Prayer. After high school, Clark attended Selma
University and received training in classical music and choral singing. In 1947, Clark relocated to Detroit, Michigan, and shortly
thereafter organized the Southwest Michigan State Choir of the Church of God in Christ, with whom, in 1958, she recorded
"Going To Meet The King". The choir became the first to commit the sounds of a choir to record. Clark received three gold albums
with the Southwest Michigan State Choir, and went on to write and arrange hundreds of songs and record more than 50 albums.
Clark also had the distinction of becoming the first person to present a gospel choir at the Apollo Theater.

In addition to being a songwriter, vocalist, pianist, arranger, and choir director, Clark was also president of the National Music
Deptartment of the Church of God in Christ for 25 years, and in 1979 founded the Clark Conservatory School of Music in Detroit.
Clark received a Doctor of Humanity degree from Trinity College (Pennsylvania) in Pennsylvania in 1981. Over the years, Clark
recorded with such artists as Elder James Moore, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Elder James Lennox, Rev. Richard "Mr. Clean" White,
and Betty Ransom Nelson, while Clark also helped such artists as Walter Hawkins, Hezekiah Walker, and Richard Smallwood get
their careers started.

Clark died from complications of diabetes on September 22, 1994 in Southfield, Michigan at the age of 69.

Bishop David L. Ellis
Pentecostal Bishop David L. Ellis dies in Detroit - Michigan - Brief Article - Obituary
Jet, June 3, 1996

Noted Bishop David L. Ellis, pastor of Greater Grace Temple of the Apostolic Faith, Inc. in Detroit, MI, recently died. He was 60.
A second generation pentecostal, Bishop Ellis left his home in Chicago at age 26 and assumed the pastorate of New Bethel
Temple. Its name was later changed to Greater Grace Temple, which enjoyed tremedous growth.
Bishop Ellis was Assistant Presiding Bishop of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc. and Diocesan of the Georgia State
Survivors include his wife, Wilma Ruth Ellis; seven children, and nine grandchildren.

Thomas Whitfield
Thomas Anthony Whitfield (April 30, 1954 - June 20, 1992) was an American gospel singer, songwriter, arranger, pianist, choir
director and producer best known for helping to shape the fabric of contemporary gospel music with his elaborate choral
arrangements and the merging of musical styles ranging from jazz to classical into traditional gospel foundations. This style earned
him the respectable title of "Maestro" by many of his colleagues and supporters. He was best known for organizing one of the
popular contemporary gospel choirs of all time, the Thomas Whitfield Company, and for producing best-selling records for
Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Shirley Caesar, Yolanda Adams, Douglas Miller, Keith Pringle, Paul Morton and for Aretha Franklin.

[edit] Early years and career
Thomas Whitfield, the eldest of five boys, was born in Detroit, Michigan to the late Thomas and Jacqueline Whitfield. He took a
heed to music at a very early age and was inspired by his great-grandmother to take piano lessons at the age of five and would
advance to playing the organ by the age of ten. His influences remained some of Detroit's greatest musicians including renowned
organist Herbert Picard and Timothy Beard. After graduating from Detroit's Central High School, he attended the Detroit
Conservatory of Music and ended up sharing his expertise and knowledge as a music instructor at Finney High School. While
teaching, Whitfield continued to gain recognition in the area for his unique style of musicianship and would eventually work with
the Beverly Glenn Chorale, the Craig Brothers and Rev. James Cleveland.

In 1977, Whitfield, along with his good friend Tyrone Hemphill, felt led in establishing The Thomas Whitfield Company (The
Whitfield Company for short); a local music ministry featuring some of Detroit's finest singers and musicians. This remarkable
institution remained the apparent incubator for most of Whitfield's most popular creations and would forever be attached to his
musical legacy and recording career. Amazingly, it didn't take long for Whitfield to get the attention and overdue recognition he
deserved. Sound of Gospel, a local Detroit gospel music subsidiary of Westbound Records operated by music guru Armen
Boladian, took notice in Whitfield's fresh sound and approach to gospel music and signed him and the group thereafter; resulting in
the debut release of "Brand New" in 1978. Detroit's sophisticated brand of traditional gospel crafted by artists such as Dr. Mattie
Moss Clark, Donald Vails, Rev. Charles Nicks and Rev. James Cleveland remained the prominent and popular style from the area
and was usually the formula the majority of the country expected from the region. Whitfield, on the other hand, merged traditional
gospel with stylish piano performances, riveting rhythmic sections, melodic choral harmonies and musical arrangements. This
style is heard on "Repeat The Sounding Joy", a funk-disco melding which ended up being one of his early hits, and other works
including "The Lord Is Blessing Me", "I'm His Today" and "That's How The Lord Works".

[edit] The big break: Hallelujah Anyhow
After getting local attention with the releases of "Brand New" and "Things That We Believe, Vol. I" and "Things That We Believe,
Vol. II" during the years of 1978-1980, Whitfield recorded his first live recording session (a popular trend in modern gospel
music) with the Company at the St. Paul Church of God In Christ in Detroit. The album was finally released in 1983. At the same
time, Whitfield began his association with Onyx International Records (a black gospel subsidiary of Benson Records) and also
released "Hold Me"; a solo project that seemed to be a threatening towards SOG's current contract with the Whitfield Company.
While "Hold Me" was released on a more recognized label and was by far one of Whitfield's state-of-the-art productions to date, it
also help increased the popularity and exposure of "Hallelujah Anyhow" and kept the album on Billboard's Gospel Music charts
for over a year. The mythical understanding of the agreement with both music labels was that Whitfield recorded "Hold Me" as a
solo entry while SOG was mainly interested in Whitfield being attached to the choir; feeling that his choir was the "selling card".
SOG continued to record them as: Min. Thomas Whitfield & the Thomas Whitfield Company. Whitfield wrote most of the songs
(except for "Soon As I Get Home" and "There's Not A Friend" - written by Roscoe Corner) and produced both projects. Songs like
"God Wants Our Praises", "There's Not A Friend", "Walk In The Light", the infectious arrangement of "Oh, How I Love Jesus"
and the brilliant ballad "Hallelujah Anyhow" led Whitfield to begin a line of notable achievements in producing for both
established and fresh talent. In 1984, Whitfield produced the historic debut project "Peace Be Still", for a virtual unknown singer at
the time by the name of Vanessa Bell-Armstrong; earning him his first of three GRAMMY nominations. That year, he also wrote
"Time To Come Back Home" for Shirley Caesar's GRAMMY and Dove Award winning "Sailin" album. Whitfield's popularity
and demand continued to escalate - possibly pointing that he may have reached the beginning of his recording zenith. Production
on projects from the Soul Children of New Orleans, Keith Pringle, Douglas Miller, the Winans, the Michael Fletcher Chorale and
Paul S. Morton followed. In 1986, "I'm Encouraged" was released; a live recording session held at the Civic Auditorium in
Cleveland, Ohio. The project climbed to the #1 spot on Billboard's Top Gospel Album charts.

During Whitfield's final years with Sound of Gospel, Whitfield discovered Texas native Yolanda Adams and produced her first
project ("Just As I Am") for the Detroit label in 1988 which skyrocketed up Billboard's Gospel charts.

An opportunity of a lifetime was awarded to Whitfield when the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin confronted him with the task to
head the musical direction for her upcoming live recording - a project that the media labeled the sequel to her best-selling and
award-winning "Amazing Grace" LP. In 1989, Aretha Franklin took home a GRAMMY Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance,
Female for "One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism" and a Dove Award for Traditional Gospel Album of the Year - an album that
featured musical and choral arrangements from Thomas A. Whitfield. Some of the album's serious highlights include the moving
opener of "Walk In The Light" and Aretha Franklin being serenaded by Whitfield's entrancing piano accompinant on "Ave Maria".

[edit] Later years
In 1989, Teresa Hairston (head of Benson Music Group's black gospel department) contacted Whitfield and expressed interest in
signing him, along with the Whitfield Company to her label. SOG released two successful projects ("The Annual Christmas
Services", "...And They Sang A Hymn") in 1990, while Whitfield went into the studio to record "My Faith" for Benson. The
project contained the Edwin Hawkins' composition "Glorify The Lord" and featured musical appearances from Vanessa Bell-
Armstrong and Karen Clark-Sheard (from the renowned Clark Sisters). In 1992, Benson released what would be Whitfield's last
recording, "Alive And Satisfied". The album, to so many gospel music historians, felt as if it was a prophecy and a "love letter" to
Whitfield's presence in the gospel music industry. The album featured the moving praise-and-worship ballad "Precious Jesus", "Let
Everything Praise Him" (which features the popular sampled vamp used in a number of recent gospel selections) and the reflective
"We Remember (Medley)". The medley featured some of Whitfield's most treasured classics strung together in one song. By this
time, Whitfield had already been contacted by Paramount Pictures to appear in the motion picture "Leap of Faith", starring Steve
Martin. He eventually turned down the offer; feeling that even though the visibility was good yet he felt it might diminish the
dignity of his ministry. He also began work with music mogul Qunicy Jones' "Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration" - a
powerful display of modern musical arrangements mostly handled by Mervyn Warren.

On June 20, 1992, after a lengthy choir rehearsal, Whitfield went with four of the choir members to Elias Brother's Big Boy; a
popular local restaurant on Telegraph Road. At the table, he started to clutch his chest and began to gasp for air. After being
administered CPR by his dinner companions and arriving at Garden City Hospital, Whitfield passed away on June 21, 1992.

[edit] Legacy
Whitfield's musical brilliance and influence has left a tremendous impact on today's leading contemporary gospel artists.
Musicians such as Donald Lawrence, Fred Hammond, John P. Kee, Byron Cage, Ricky Dillard, J.J. Hairston & Youthful Praise,
Walter Hawkins, Richard Smallwood and many others. He is still highly regarded for his numerous innovations during the eighties
and early nineties and being one of the pioneers to master the usage of the MIDI-sequencing and synthesizers in gospel music; all
helping to earn him his own style: the "Whitfield" sound.

In 1993, Benson Records released a tribute album dedicated to the memory and musical excellence of Thomas Whitfield. It
featured new arrangements from Whitfield hits and featured a list of musical guests and musicians including Donald Lawrence, the
Clark Sisters, Fred Hammond, Kevin Bond, Larry & David Whitfield and the Whitfield Company.

Thomas Whitfield was honored posthumously with the 1999 James Cleveland Award at the 14th Annual Stellar Music Awards
held in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Thomas Whitfield Company has continued to perform and record since their founder passed and are ensuring to keep
Whitfield's legacy alive. They have recorded "Still", a Top Ten gospel album, and featured new and rare selections from Whitfield,
along with music from former Whitfield musician Rudolph Stanfield. The song, "Don't Give Up On Jesus", sung by Daryl Coley
and Vanessa Bell-Armstrong also appeared on the best-selling WOW Gospel 1999 compilation.

Larry and David Whitfield, brothers of the "Maestro", decided to organize the Whitfield Group (not to be confused with the
Whitfield Company) in January 1994. Since their inception, the music troupe has recorded one project and have opened for artists
including Yolanda Adams, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Men of Standard and Kim Burrell.

There have been a number of artists that have sung Whitfield's praises and have re-recorded his music. Some of the most
memorable tributes include:

Shirley Murdock "We Need A Word From The Lord" ("Home")
Vickie Winans "We Need A Word From The Lord" ("Bringing It All Together")
Edwin Hawkins Music and Arts Seminar Mass Choir "Precious Jesus" ("Dallas")
Bishop Paul S. Morton "Down At The Cross" and "Nothing But The
Blood"("Still Standing")

Tarralyn Ramsey "Saved" ("Tarralyn Ramsey")
Donald Lawrence/Tri-City Singers "The Little Drummer Boy" ("Hello Christmas")
Byron Cage "Still Say Yes" ("Prince Of Praise")
Byron Cage "In Case You've Forgotten" ("An Invitation To Worship")
The Clark Sisters "You Can't Take My Faith Away" ("A Tribute To The Maestro")
Earnest Pugh "Wrapped Up, Tied Up, Tangled Up" ("A Worshipper's Perspective")
Donald Vails featuring Yvette Flunder and Shirley Miller "Just Knowing Jesus" ("My Soul Love Jesus")
Rodney Posey "Dear Jesus" ("Live In Praise & Worship with the Whitfield Company")
Mark S. Hubbard & the Voices "Lift Those Hands And Bless Him" (featuring Ted & Sheri) ("Blessin' Waitin' On Me)
Dr. Ed Montgomery/ALC "With My Whole Heart" (Total Live Experience")
[edit] Trivia
Thomas Whitfield was affectionately called "Tommy" or "The Maestro" for short.
Renowned Motown producer and songwriter Norman Whitfield is not related to Thomas Whitfield.
Benson Records released a rare VHS "Alive And Satisfied" video of Thomas Whitfield and the Whitfield Company. The video
also features an award presentation to Whitfield for his record going gold and also an emotional tribute from Fred Hammond.
Lots of great talent also emerged from the shadows of Whitfield's musical direction including renowned songwriter/musician
Rudolph Stanfield ("Stir Up The Gift, "Perfect Peace"), bass guitarist Kern Brantley (member of PAJAM), keyboardist Michael
Mindingall, lead vocalist Gwen Morton (whom has done background work for T.D. Jakes and Kurt Carr), keyboardist/songwriter
Earl J. Wright and choral director/vocalist Michael Fletcher.
BMG Heritage Records re-released a double-CD of Aretha Franklin's "One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism" (1987) in 2003. The
album featured four new bonus cuts including a previously unreleased version of Walter Hawkins' classic "Be Grateful".

[edit] Discography

Brand New (1978)
Things That We Believe, Vol. I (1979)
Things That We Believe, Vol. II (1980)
Hold Me (1983)
Halleujah Anyhow (1984) #15
I'm Encouraged (1986) #1
The Annual Christmas Services (1988)
...And They Sang A Hymn (1989) #2
My Faith (1990) #30
Alive And Satisfied (1992) #2

The Unforgettable Years, Vol. One (1992)
The Unforgettable Years, Vol. Two (1992)
The Best Of Thomas Whitfield (1999)
Retrieved from ""

The Clark Sisters
The Clark Sisters are an American gospel vocal group consisting of four sisters: Elbernita "Twinkie" Clark, Jacky Clark Chisholm,
Dorinda Clark Cole, and Karen Clark Sheard. A fifth member, Denise Clark Bradford, no longer performs with the group. The
Clark Sisters are the daughters of gospel musician and choral director Dr. Mattie Moss Clark. They are credited for helping to
bring gospel music to the mainstream and are considered as pioneers of contemporary gospel.

Despite the similarity in names, there is no connection with the famous jazz quartet of the 1940's and '50's, the "Clark Sisters", also
known as "The Sentimentalists", when they recorded with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.
The Clark Sisters were born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. They each began singing at an early age and by the late 1960s they
were all performing together in church services, usually singing songs written and arranged by their mother. A few years later, Dr.
Mattie Moss Clark turned over control of the group to Twinkie, and in 1973, the sisters recorded their first album, Jesus Has A Lot
to Give, on their uncle's local label Billmo Records.[1]

The following year, Dr. Mattie Moss Clark Presents The Clark Sisters was released, and people around Detroit began to take
notice of the group. In 1974, The Clark Sisters signed to Sound of Gospel Records where they would see their recording career
take off. In the late 1970s, the group released four albums: Unworthy (1976), Count It All Joy (1978), New Dimensions of
Christmas Carols (1978), and He Gave Me Nothing to Lose (1979).

The early 1980s saw The Clark Sisters become a nationwide phenomenon as Twinkie guided the sisters in a live recording which
was titled Is My Living In Vain. Upon its release, the album would remain atop of the Billboard gospel charts for over a year. The
Clark Sisters' following release would prove to be an even bigger success. "You Brought the Sunshine", their biggest hit to date,
would go on to garner the Sisters a gold album and a bonafide hit on the gospel and R&B charts. The Clark Sisters released four
more albums during the 1980s. During this time, Denise would leave the group to become a minister. Twinkie followed suit with
her solo projects and ministerial calling, while Jacky, Dorinda, and Karen stayed behind and performed as a trio. They recorded
one album, Miracle, in 1994. Later that year, their mother died from complications of diabetes.[2]
Karen went solo in 1997, and her debut album, Finally Karen, received a Grammy nomination and won a Soul Train Lady of Soul
award. She has since released three more solo albums: 2nd Chance, The Heavens Are Telling, and It's Not Over. Dorinda and
Jacky released their first solo efforts, Dorinda Clark Cole and Expectancy, respectively, in 2002. The Clark Sisters have all
contributed in various capacities to each other's albums, whether they sang or wrote lyrics. More recently, The Clark Sisters did a
live recording on July 8, 2006 in Houston, Texas entitled One Last Time. The recording was directed and produced by Donald
Lawrence and is expected to be released as a CD on April 10, 2007[3] on EMI Gospel, followed by a CD/DVD Special Edition
release June 19, 2007.
[edit] "The Clark Sound"
The Clark Sisters are renowned for their unique vocal stylings, dubbed as "The Clark Sound". In their music, The Clark Sisters
incorporate high and fast melismas, acrobatic trills and riffs, and deep, soulful growls, or "squalls". The sisters are also well known
for each distinctive sound that they contribute. Jacky (tenor) is known for her soft, deeper vocals; Dorinda (alto), the "jazzy" sister,
inputs scats and riffs; Karen (soprano) is known for her flawless riffs, runs, melismas, and high vocal range; and Twinkie is
credited with being the "heart of the Clark Sisters", due to being the chief songwriter, also possessing a range from soprano to low
contralto and even bass.

Aretha Franklin
Aretha Louise Franklin (born March 25, 1942) is an American soul, R&B, and gospel singer, songwriter, and pianist born in
Memphis, Tennessee, but raised in Detroit, Michigan, USA. She has been called for many years "The Queen Of Soul", but many
also call her "Lady Soul," as well as the more affectionate "Sister Re." She is renowned for her soul and R&B recordings but is
also adept at jazz, rock, blues, pop, gospel, and even opera[citation needed]. She is generally regarded as one of the top vocalists
ever, due to her ability to inject whatever she may be singing about with passion, soul and sheer conviction. Franklin is the second
most honored female singer in Grammy history after Alison Krauss. Ms. Franklin has won nineteen competitive Grammys
(including an unprecedented eleven for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, eight of them consecutive), and the state of
Michigan has declared her voice a natural resource.

Franklin has had two number one hit songs on the Billboard Hot 100, "Respect" in the 1960s and her 1980s duet with George
Michael, "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)", and many of her singles have hit Top 20, Top 10, and Top 5 positions. Franklin is
one of three acts to peak at each of the top 10 positions of the Hot 100, the others being Marvin Gaye (if counting duets with
Tammi Terrell) and Madonna. She has enjoyed both critical and commercial success as a solo artist.

Franklin is the daughter of legendary preacher Rev. C. L. Franklin and Barbara Siggers Franklin, a pianist and gifted singer. She
had five siblings: sisters Erma and Carolyn (both deceased; Erma and Carolyn sang backup for her for many years and
accompanied her on some of her most famous recordings), and Carl Ellan Kelley (a half sister from a relationship her father had
outside of his marriage to her mother); and brothers Cecil (deceased) and Vaughn (Vaughn is her half brother -- her mother's son
by a relationship before her marriage to C. L. Franklin -- and eldest sibling whom her father adopted when he married her mother
in 1936).

Franklin has been married twice. She was married to Ted White from 1962-1969, and to actor Glynn Turman from 1978-1984. She
has four sons: Clarence, Edward, Ted, and Kecalf. Ted, Jr. is the son of Ted White, and Kecalf's father is entrepreneur Ken

[edit] Trivia
Franklin was the protégée of gospel singing sensations Clara Ward, Mahalia Jackson, and James Cleveland. Clara and Mahalia
frequently visited her family home in Detroit and served as maternal figures after her mother died in 1952. Franklin paid homage
to Ward, Jackson, and Cleveland in 1972 in her Amazing Grace gospel album.
In 1984, Aretha Franklin was sued for breach of contract in 1984 when she was unable to star in the Broadway musical Sing,
Mahalia, Sing, (based on the life of gospel legend Mahalia Jackson) mainly because of her fear of flying.
She was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 2001.
Franklin's song "Respect" was used in The Proud Family and as the opening song to the first episode of Murphy Brown.
She made a cameo appearance on Murphy Brown and sang "You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman" on the piano alongside
Franklin frequently invites fellow soul singer Chaka Khan, reportedly one of her favorites, to sing at her birthday parties.
Sang "America the Beautiful" at WrestleMania III at the Pontiac Silverdome and again at WrestleMania 23 at Ford Field in
In 2006 Aretha Franklin's Grammy total rose to nineteen with a best traditional R&B vocal award for "A House Is Not a Home," a
track from the Luther Vandross tribute So Amazing.
Aretha Franklin calls Fantasia Barrino "my child."
Teairra Mari's grandmother sang backup for her.
She is the godmother of singer Whitney Houston.
Aretha sang the national anthem at Super Bowl XL with Aaron Neville and Dr. John.
The name of her youngest son, Kecalf, is a combination of her initials and those of her son's father, Kenneth E. Cunningham.
[edit] Awards and achievements
On January 3, 1987, she became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In September, 1999, she was awarded The National Medal of Arts by President Clinton.
In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked her #9 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.[1]. To give perspective to this
honor, only the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, and Little
Richard finished ahead of her on this list. Ray Charles finished at number ten, right behind Franklin.
In 2005, she was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush.
In 2005, she became the second woman to be inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame.
On May 13, 2006, she was presented with an honorary Doctor of Music degree by the Berklee College of Music.

[edit] Grammy Awards
Aretha Franklin has won nineteen Grammy Awards in total during her 45- year career, and currently holds the record for most Best
Female R&B Vocal Performance wins with eleven to her name (including eight consecutive awards from 1968-1975 - the first
eight ever awarded in that category).

Rev. Charles H. Nicks, Jr.
Hold Back The Night
Artist: Rev. Charles H. Nicks, Jr. & The St. James Baptist Church Adult Choir
Genre: Spiritual
Styles: Gospel
Label: Sound Of Gospel / Alpha Pup

Here are other notables who received votes –
The Rance Allen Group,
Family vocal and instrumental soul ensemble from Monroe, Michigan, U.S.A.

The group consisted of brothers:
Rance Allen b. Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. (lead vocals, piano, guitar)
Tom Allen (vocals, drums)
and Steve Allen (vocals, electric guitar).

One of the first groups to successfully merge soul and rock with Gospel, Rance Allend and the Rance Allen Group recorded for
Stax’s Gospel Truth label in the early 70’s. Backed by both a symphony of strings and most of the M.G.’s, and fronted by Rance
Allen’s dynamic cliding vocals, R.A.G. mad “message music” more accessible to the pop charts, thus paving the way for what is
known today as CCM.

ospel singer Rance Allen founded the Rance Allen Group in Detroit in the 1960s and has fronted the band with his soulful, soaring
vocals ever since. The traditionally trained black gospel group was the first traditional gospel group to incorporate rock, jazz, and
soul into their music. They were harbingers for the contemporary Christian music movement popularized in the late '70s by Andrae
Crouch, Amy Grant, and the Winans. The Rance Allen Group scored a Top 30 R&B hit in 1979 with "I Belong to You," one of
two Stax singles that year to make the charts. The group's recordings for Gospel Truth, Capitol, and Stax proved quite popular
among gospel audiences, and had some success attracting soul fans as well. Rance Allen continued singing, recording, and
performing with his group up into the next millennium, releasing Miracle Worker with the Rance Allen Group in spring 2000.

    — Bil Carpenter and Ron Wynn, All Music Guide
Rev. C.L. Franklin
Reverend Clarence LaVaughn Franklin ("Rev. C. L. Franklin"), January 22, 1915 - July 27, 1984, was a highly influential Black
Baptist preacher and civil rights activist.

[edit] Background
Franklin was born and raised in Sunflower County, Mississippi and at age 16 received a message from God to become a preacher.
He initially worked as an itinerant "circuit" preacher, before settling in Memphis, Tennessee and later moving to Buffalo, New
York. His final destination was Detroit, Michigan where he became head of the New Bethel Baptist Church. Throughout the 1940s
and 1950s his fame grew, and he preached throughout the country while maintaining his pulpit at New Bethel. Known as the man
with the "Million Dollar Voice", C. L. was one of the first ministers to place his sermons on records (which continued into the
1970s), and also to broadcast sermons via radio on Sundays. He commanded high fees for his public appearances, and among his
most famous sermons were "The Eagle Stirreth Her Nest" and "Dry Bones in the Valley". In addition to being a gifted preacher C.
L. was known for his fine singing voice. He greatly encouraged his daughter Aretha's music talent, and by the late 1950s took
Aretha with him on speaking tours and musical engagements.

In addition to his ministry, in the 1950s and 1960s as he became involved in the civil rights movement, and particularly in ending
discriminatory practices against Black UAW workers in Detroit.

NEGRO Religious Field Recording (Vol. 2) (1924-1941)
Document Records – Rev. C. L. Franklin “ ‘Til I Get There”

[edit] Personal Life
On October 16, 1934 C. L. married his first wife, Alene Gaines, and though that marriage had certainly ended by 1936, the form of
dissolution is unknown. On June 3, 1936 C. L. married Barbara Siggers Franklin and they had four children: Erma, Cecil, Aretha,
and Carolyn. Barbara Siggers Franklin had a son, Vaughn (whom C. L. adopted), by a previous relationship, and in 1940 C. L.
fathered a daughter, Carl Ellan Kelley, out of wedlock by a teenager in his congregation. In 1948 C. L. and Barbara separated, with
Barbara taking Vaughn to Buffalo, New York and leaving C. L. with the couple's four other children. Barbara made trips back to
Detroit to visit her children until her death from heart trouble in 1952.

C. L. Franklin was a friend and ally of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and was also known for his close relationships with
Mahalia Jackson and Clara Ward (Clara and her singing groups frequently toured with C.L. and he and Clara had a long-term
romantic relationship), two of gospel's greatest voices. Mahalia and Clara greatly encouraged his daughter, Aretha, and she credits
their mentoring and frequent visits to the Franklin home as great influences.

[edit] Death
On June 10, 1979 C. L. was shot during an attempted robbery at his home, became comatose, and remained so for five years. He
died on July 27, 1984. His great friend Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. gave the eulogy.

, Chris Jones,

The Winans,
The Winans are an American gospel music quartet based out of Detroit, Michigan. Member Ronald Winans passed away in

[edit] Discography
Introducing The Winans (Light, 1981)
Long Time Comin' (Light, 1984)
Tomorrow (Light, 1984)
Let My People Go (Qwest, 1985)
Decisions (Qwest, 1987)
The Winans Live At Carnegie Hall (Qwest, 1988)
Return (Qwest, 1990)
All Out (Qwest, 1993)
Heart & Soul (Qwest, 1995)
Christmas: Our Gifts To You (Diamante, 2000)

[edit] Awards
Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album: All Out (1993)
Grammy Award for Best Gospel Performance By A Duo Or Group, Choir Or Chorus: The Winans Live At Carnegie Hall (1988)
Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance By A Duo, Group, Choir Or Chorus: "Ain't No Need To Worry" (The Winans
featuring Anita Baker) (1987)
Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance By A Duo, Group, Choir Or Chorus: "Let My People Go" (1986)
Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance, Male: "Bring Back The Days Of Yea And Nay" (Marvin Winans) (1985)
Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance By A Duo, Group, Choir Or Chorus: "Tomorrow" (1985)

Vanessa Bell Armstrong,
doing the opening jingle for the hit sitcom “Amen.”

Charles Craig,
Fred Hammond, David Gough,
Rev. James Moore,
Bill Moss & The Celestials,
Larry Robinson,
Rev. Edgar L. Vann, Mom & Pop Winans,
Dorgan Needom, and
Rev. Donald Vails.
Della Reese

At its most basic level, gospel music is sacred music. It is a unique phenomenon of Americana which had its earliest iterations
toward the end of the nineteenth century. It is folk music which suggests that it and its secular counterparts are greatly influenced
by each other. Just as much of the contemporary gospel music of today sounds like R & B and Hip-Hop, so did most of the early
gospel music sound like the Blues.

Gospel, meaning "good news," derived its name from it close connection with the gospels (books in the New Testament). As we
look at the common themes in the gospels of St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John, we find many references to God’s
goodness and mercy.

In order to reach the widest possible audience, there are no "style" restrictions on gospel music; only the thematic content remains
constant. Coming out of an oral tradition, gospel music typically utilizes a great deal of repetition. This is a carryover from the
time when many post-Reconstruction blacks were unable to read. The repetition of the words allowed those who could not read the
opportunity to participate in worship. Gospel music over the centuries has ministered to the downtrodden and disenfranchised. To
sing about a God who comes in the nick of time to deliver his people from uncomfortable circumstances is a consistent theme,
which has been at the core of gospel music. This music has been enjoyed for many decades and it continues to grow in its variety
and sound.

Gospel music has a history which can be traced to the 18th century. During this time, hymns were lined and repeated in a call and
response fashion and the Negro spirituals and work songs came on the scene. Because the enslaved Africans attended their
masters’ worship services, the seventeenth century influences on Negro spirituals and work songs were traditional hymns the
enslaved Africans heard in worship. Worship services served several purposes; not only were they a means by which the Africans
could be monitored, but they also served as a reinforcement of the slavery indoctrination. Quite often readings were from St. Paul
where made to being good servants and loving, obeying, and trusting one’s master. At this time it was also illegal for more than a
handful of blacks to congregate without supervision. This meant that the blacks were not free to worship on their own they had to
attend worship services with their master. At these services they would grow closer in their understanding of Christian doctrine
and role that music played in that experience. The worship music (hymns) of the whites masters became the backdrop for the
music the enslaved Africans would use at their eventual worship meetings.

The unlawfulness of the blacks congregating did not keep them from secretly holding "campground" meetings. These meetings
were typically held at a distance from the main house to assure discretion and avoid possible punishment. It was during these such
meetings that "newer" renditions of traditional hymns were developed. It is often wondered how such creativity and beauty could
have come out of such a dismal time. As we listen to gospel music today with its sometimes downtrodden themes, it continues to
be curious how such beauty and richness can emanate from troubled times.

In the tradition of the black church, call and response in singing and in speaking has been and continues to be a foundation on
which the gospel is delivered. Through this participatory delivery system beliefs are reinforced. There is an expectation that when
there is agreement with either the spoken word or song because of either its content or its contexts that verbal affirmation will be
given. Those who are witnessing, speaking, or singing are encouraged by the responses and those who are about to experience
issues are empowered to be victorious.

Gospel music can stir many different emotions. The audience for this spiritually moving idiom continues to grow as do the types of
venues where it can be heard. No longer bound to the walls of the American church, gospel music captures the creative and
spiritual imaginations of increasing numbers of international audiences. For gospel singers and listeners, making a joyful noise
unto the Lord is what the music is about and it invites the participation of all to come together, honor the past, look forward to the
future, and through song, renew our faith.

    Anthem music, later called 'spirituals', and much later 'gospel' music, while having a direct and vital link to Africa is
distinctly American music. A music so much a part of the fabric of the sum of American music that much of the popular idioms of
today can be traced, with little effort, to gospel music (for brevity, herein I will use the term 'gospel' to refer to anthem and spiritual
forms of religious Afro-American music).
For a link to a graphic overview of this article, please click here.
African Roots:
    Tribal African music of four hundred years ago differed from European and white American music in one major regard:
secular music did not exist in African traditions. Besides sacred music, Europeans sang about love, war, and drinking, as well as
the recent historical events of nearby villages, or far off countries. While many of these songs mentioned God in some manner,
many still remained secular and popular among the village and country folk.
    All African music was naturally sacred and the concept of singing secular music was alien to them. Their music can be seen to
satisfy four main functions in the fabric daily life, they are: religious, agricultural and sexual fertility, hunting, and war. In
this regard African music has more in common with Native American music than European music since song was used as a means
of being in harmony with nature and the cosmos.
    One predominant style of music that is still retained and was brought to America during the slavery period of the early 1600s to
1865, is the call and response pattern in which a leader sings a line and the entire group answers. Typical styles also included
drums and other percussion instruments played a complex rhythmic accompaniment. (Sound familiar? A good example of this call
and response style with syncopated rhythms can be heard by Ray Charles who used this to great advantage on his hit "What'd I

Slavery Era:

     From the need to subjugate, or from fear, many American slave owners did not allow blacks to use traditional African
instruments, nor could they play or sing their native music. Gradually much of the words and melodies were forgotten and
disappeared in North America. It is because of this ban on their musical ancestral link, that a new African American style of music
was created. New songs were created using the African traditions of harmony, call and response, behind a strong rhythmic meter
mixed with European traditions of harmony and musical instruments. Gospel songs created by blacks used Christian subjects with
African vocal and rhythmic influences. The church became a sanctuary for black slave expression. It was the only place that
groups of slaves could congregate without fear of white supervision. Though not all slave holders allowed religious instruction or
permission to worship and had to meet secretly.
     The enslavement of blacks in the American Colonies began during the 1600's. Slavery flourished in the South, where large
plantations grew cotton, tobacco, and other crops. The plantations required many laborers. Work songs and "field hollers" were
used to ease the drudgery of hard labor in the fields, later they were sung while laying railroad track, or while working in places
such as the many turpentine camps in the mid 1800s.
     Slavery was less profitable in the North, where economic activity centered on small farms and industries. By 1860, the slave
states had about 4 million slaves. The slaves made up nearly a third of the South's population. Since demographically, more blacks
lived in the South, the birth of gospel music became endemic first in the South before it was finally spread to the rest of white
America. First, through traveling minstrel shows in the late 1800s, then through vaudeville and sheet music in the early 1900s, and
finally through records in the early 1920s. Many of the songs and melodies were embraced by whites and began to greatly
influence white religious and popular American music.
     By the early 1800s it was common for slaves to perform for their masters, and later in front of polite white society in larger
musical ensembles, but it wasn't until the end of the Civil War that European musical instruments were abundantly available to
former slaves. Instruments were literally left on battlefields that were befriended by new black owners. Instruments were cheap
and freed blacks used what little new income they had to purchase or barter for them. Although some blues forms existed in the
early 1800s, as the end of the 1800s drew near the first black secular music, the "blues" began to evolve almost instantly and
simultaneously all over the states and territories, where ever large groups of blacks lived.    Technically the field holler was the
first musical style to move away from religious themes and concerned its self with work only (and much can be said about the
double meanings of many gospel songs, such as Swing Low, Sweet Chariot which on the surface is about life in the hereafter, but
any slave knew it was about the promise of life in the here and now devoid of slavery. "home" wasn't necessarily heaven, but of
freedom instead. Some historians argue that all early gospel songs were codified songs of protest). However, blues was the
first solely secular form of African American based music with the birth of ragtime and jazz following closely behind

The Church:

     The role of the church remained central to blacks in America once they were emancipated. With emancipation, a just and equal
freedom was elusive and largely nonexistent. Jim Crow laws remained as a given in the South and a huge exodus of blacks
migrated to the industrialized North (and continued until the 1970s), which promised jobs and more freedom. To a very limited
degree jobs were found, but only jobs that whites did not want. More freedom was granted to them only, as some historians argue,
because the North lacked the tradition of a fully organized and functioning racist tradition, and because virtually the entire
organized abolitionist tradition existed in the North. The former abolitionists switched from advocating emancipation to
advocating fair treatment for recently freed blacks.
With this political and social backdrop, the church evolved as a religious sanctuary from the eyes of slave holders to a sanctuary
where black culture and music could thrive. In this atmosphere churches were used as meeting places for black town forums with,
at times, more of political than religious agendas.
     Gospel music was changing rapidly. As once rural blacks migrated to large cities in the North and South, and with the advent
of a growing black economy an emerging urban sophistication, gospel music turned it's back on some of the cruder forms of
harmony, melody. and structure. Whites portraying blacks nationwide in minstrel shows whetted the appetite for white audiences
who desired to hear the real thing. Beginning in 1871 the black Fisk Jubilee Singers, who were students of the all black Fisk
University in Nashville, Tennessee, traveled widely in America internationally with great success singing spirituals. Also, the late
1800s Ragtime was developing into what later a 1917 San Francisco newspaper music critic called "jazz" (alternately spelled
    Gospel music had influenced blues and jazz, and now, by the early 1900s, blues and jazz were in turn, influencing gospel
music. for instance, the syncopated rhythms of ragtime firmly entered many of church performers approach to existing and newer
songs. Many traveling singing preachers began to accompany themselves with piano and guitar. The guitar became a popular form
of accompaniment due to the practicality of ease of mobility. Since blues pianists and guitarists were common nationwide, the
singing preachers began to adopt the chordal and melodic styles of many of bluesmen and women.
Blues and jazz was the popular rage, and served as the spice for black musical palates, while gospel was the religious staple.
The more theatrical and prosperous traveling preachers and performers sang in revival tents and as guests in churches and missions
for the homeless. Many of them traveled with an entourage of musicians and small choirs.
    White music publishers recognized that the antebellum style of black jubilee and spirituals were rapidly fading and began to
widely publish a huge amount nineteenth century sheet music. This brought a potentially dying form of gospel music into the
white parlors and churches which were loved either for the beauty of the music or or baser nostalgia of the good old days of
antebellum South.       After the Civil War, it had become the norm for black churches to factionalize into various denominations
according to the region and predominant white denominational influence. The more conservative black Methodist and Separatist
Baptist churches from their inception preferred the sedate hymns of English composer Isaac Watts (1674-1748). Blacks embraced
Methodism early on since white Methodists readily adopted some of the black camp meeting songs, and repetitive choruses. In
addition these white Methodists mimicked the black style of disjointed affirmations, prayers, and pledges. Still, both black and
white Methodists and black Separatist Baptists services were musically tame in comparison to the emerging blackHoliness and
Four Square churches. These churches retained the unrestrained "country" element found in lesser sophisticated congregations, and
relates more directly in musical form, intensity, and attitude found in various blues forms of the day and later in rhythm and blues,
rockabilly, and rock and roll.
    The invention of recorded cylinders and records overshadowed sheet music sales of gospel music and much more rapidly
spread gospel music into white and black homes (who could afford them), and even more so in the early 1920s on the radio, but
the concept of singers attaining a "Star" status hadn't yet developed until post W.W.II.

The Seminal Influence of T.A. Dorsey:

    Since a brief history is the aim of this article, it is impossible for me to cover the subject of musical idioms that evolved
from gospel music even with a modicum of success. For this reason, click here to view graphically a flow chart showing what I
feel is too large of a subject to cover here.
    The term "Gospel" existed before W.W.II, but other terms such as "anthems", "spirituals", and "jubilees" were more common.
After W.W.II a former blues musician and son of a preacher (who used to accompany the widely popular blues singer Bessie
Smith), Thomas A. Dorsey, converted back to the church and turned his considerable talents to writing religious music. T.A.
Dorsey, best known for "Precious Lord, Take My Hand", is of a pivotal post W.W.II importance when we consider the three
elements of his business acumen: He is the first black man to start a black owned music publishing company in America. Although
he published his own music and others, he had the acumen to include singer Sallie Martin as a partner. He wrote the songs and
secured the rights to other songs. Sallie Martin then became a glorified sales rep. She traveled from coast to coast performing and
selling music sheets to black churches. It is Dorsey's distinctive style of writing that the majority of choirs use today. A
combination of the old hymnody of Watts, and of the African "call and response" sung in country churches.
    This distinctive style of religious music he insisted should be called "Gospel". He wanted to disassociate what he felt was a
modern style of black religious music from the days of slavery and the distasteful nostalgia of antebellum South. Surprisingly the
gospel term stuck retiring "anthems", "spirituals", and "jubilees" as an anachronism of past black religious music.
Secondly, he was the first black promoter on a large scale to promote the better choirs, quartets, and solo singers in and, more
importantly, out of the church. With much controversy among the faithful, he was the first to advertise the religious concerts, and
charge money to see them. (The first on record were the Fisk Jubilee
Singers. It is also interesting to note that black Historian W.E.B. DuBois sang with and promoted the Fisk group one summer in
the late 1800s). By doing this, T.A. Dorsey had helped create a star system.

Four Main Branches of Modern Gospel Music:

    Now that gospel music has added the element entertainment not seen prior to T.A. Dorsey's promotion, solely religious music
stations had already began to appear nationwide, but principally in the South in the 1940s. By the 1950s radio began including
gospel music as part of its regular programming along with popular secular music, and so four main styles or "branches" of gospel
music emerged.
Each branch, although directly related, can be easily identified for obvious reasons.
    * Choirs- When the term "gospel" music is mentioned, perhaps the first thing that a novice congers in the mind is a rousing
choir. Even today in the 21st century the style of gospel choirs remains fixed in the Dorsey template. For this reason among the
four branches this is the most modern form. Choirs today range from "traditional" musical accompaniment, typically piano and or
organ, bass, drums (tambourine), and possibly guitar. Bigger studio productions rarely include strings and more commonly a horn
section might be added. Since the 1980s synthesizers have been the only noticeable addition. Vocally, choirs have remained stable
in approach. A soloist or two is accompanied by the traditional call and response that harkens back to the field hollers and African
roots music. Some choirs are crossing over to a black urban pop style, or a more white oriented "Christian Music" style, and
becomes less recognizable as true gospel choir music. "Oh, Happy Day" recorded in 1968 by the Edwin Hawkins Singers to this
day remains the only million seller in gospel music history, and has added to the notion by the novice that this is the only extant
form of gospel.
     * A capella Quartets- Another very popular form of gospel, the quartets has two distinct periods. Prior to W.W.II the a capella
quartets emerged. This style of singing is directly related to white barbershop quartet harmonization. What is known as "Southern
Gospel" is really a "sanctified" barbershop quartet style of singing by white singers. Where black quartet singing differs from
barbershop and Southern Gospel style singing is the addition of a lead singer with three part harmony. It is common for black
quartets to have five six or seven members, but since they adhere to the barbershop harmonic template they are still considered and
called a quartet group. Black quartet singers are predominantly the purview of male singers. Fewwomen a capella quartet singers
can be found on record. Choirs and solo singers by tradition are still today preferred by women. The best known of the a capella
quartets were the Golden Gate Jubilee Singers, later known as the Golden Gate Quartet. With the advent of electrical instruments,
many of the a capella quartets jumped on the bandwagon, so to speak.
     * Progressive Quartets- While still singing in the quartet tradition, this electrification of a capella was eventually called
"progressive quartets" and are separate enough in style to form a fourth branch. Similar in motivation to country singers, the a
capella quartets turned to electrified instruments after the war in order to be heard by larger audiences. The addition of electric
guitar, bass, piano and drums became the standard instrumentation for what was later called "progressive gospel". Groups like the
Five Blind Boys of Alabama, the Dixie Hummingbirds and the Soul Stirrers gained almost instant success once they switched to
electrified instrumentation. The late 1950s and early 1960s is considered the "Golden Era of Gospel" especially for the progressive
quartets. For good reason the Soul Stirrers have been inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame as being an essential influence
on the shape of Rock n' Roll. Many of the groups in the 50s and 60s copied the rhythmic intensity, the chordal and harmonic style
of the group. Sam Cooke, a later member of the group later became the first black pop star and first black man to own his own
recording company. Ira Tucker of the Dixie Hummingbirds told me in a 1993 interview that "Mick Jagger said he has over twenty
of our albums."
     * Solo Singers- A good choir may have three or four really good solo singers. These singers eventually gained a following and
typically formed a separate career fronting their own band. The the majority of the soul music performers of the 60s and 70s were
former members of choirs. Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Al Green, Roberta Flack, Solomon Burke, James
Brown, and many more, all stood in front of congregations, dressed in robes, learning the ropes of one of the most demanding and
intense vocal forms of music. Not all of the best talent left these choirs and turned secular. Mahalia Jackson, Shirley Caesar, and
Albertina Walker to name a few, became highly popular soloists. Some of these soloists employ back up singers, or perform as
guests with better choirs, but typically the soloist carries the song by her or himself. The Beginnings Thomas A. Dorsey (1899-
1993, composer of such standards as "There Will Be Peace in the Valley"), is considered by many gospel devotees to be the
"Father of Gospel Music." The son of a minister, Dorsey was a consummate musician and as a young man accompanied some of
the most famous blues singers of all time-specifically, Bessie Smith (1894-1937) and Ma Rainey (1886-1939). He also arranged
and composed blues tunes. His penchant for bouncy tunes and bawdy lyrics did not keep him from attending the annual meetings
of the National Baptist Convention, though. and it was at one of these meetings in Philadelphia that Dorsey first heard the
compositions of Charles A. Tindley (1851-1933, composer of "We'll Understand It Better By and By" and "Leave It There" among
In his essay, "Rock, Church, Rock," Arna Bontemps says that it was then that Dorsey began to write religious music, abandoning
his brash lyrics but not the jazz rhythms and blues flavor and rhythmic style so akin to Tindley's own. Naturally, the "old guard"
conservatives considered this blending of the sacred (spirituals and hymns) and the secular (blues and jazz) as "the devil's music"
and shunned it. By its actions, the church declared Dorsey's brand of gospel music unworthy of a hearing within the sanctuaries of
the day, a story quite similarly echoed by churches responding to the rock 'n' roll Jesus Movement that swept the country in the
early '70s. In both instances, the traditional church failed to see the positive influence contemporary music could have, blessing its
listeners and encouraging them to draw near God. It is this intense spiritual quality in gospel music that lifts it up beyond its mere
form, a quality that most preachers in Dorsey's day failed to understand.

A 1994 Score magazine article titled "The Father of Gospel Music" quoted Dorsey as saying, "When I realized how hard some
folks were fighting the gospel idea, I was determined to carry the banner."

Carry it he did. "I borrowed five dollars and sent out 500 copies of my song, 'If You See My Savior,' to churches throughout the
country.... It was three years before I got a single order. I felt like going back to the blues."

He didn't. With pioneer singers such as Sallie Martin (1896-1988) and Mother Willie Mae Ford Smith (1904-94) propagating his
music, he stayed the course long enough to write over 800 songs and hear his music ascend from the first row pews to the choir
stand, where it previously had been banned.

The Legendary Divas and Dons
Dorsey was a planter. The fruits of that harvest were the exceptional singers who spread gospel around the country and indeed the
world in the years that followed--Mahalia Jackson, Clara Ward and James Cleveland are but a few.

The Quartets
The quartets limelight ran in tandem with those golden gospel voices-from the late 1920s through the 1940s, the gospel quartet
reigned supreme in gospel music. In fact, it was these vocal groups that most affected American pop culture.
One of the mainstays of the quartets was The Swan Silvertones led by Claude Jeter. Jeter's innovative style of using falsetto
became the industry standard. Not to be outdone, The Sensational Nightingales' Rev. Julius Cheeks delved into flamboyance. He
left the stage, walked the floor and "worked" the audience, keeping its spirit high. Had he been on the secular side, one suspects he
would have been considered a sex symbol.

 Other popular groups included The Dixie Hummingbirds, The Mighty Clouds of Joy ('60s and '70s) and The Fairfield Four, the
latter of which still enjoys immense popularity today as much for its members timeless sense of humor as the vocal prowess they
have amazingly retained.

Though most of the gospel quartets were male, The Davis Sisters, Harmonettes and that most enduring of groups, the Caravans,
provide examples of excellent, and popular, women groups. The Caravans at one time or another included such luminaries as
Albertina Walker, Dorothy Norwood, Cassietta George, Bessie Griffin, Inez Andrews, Shirley Caesar and Delores Washington--a
stellar line-up on anybody's program.

 But perhaps the most popular quartet of all was the Soul Stirrers, led by the great Rebert H. Harris. According to George W.
Stewart of The American Quartet Gospel Convention, it was Harris who first developed that vocal ad lib using repetitious sounds
that Sam Cooke made so famous rather than words.

"Before that innovation, it was just straight quartet style, a variation of the barbershop quartet," Stewart offered. "Harris started
training Cooke when [Cooke] was 10 years old. When he was in his late teens, Cooke joined the group and became the closest
thing gospel had to a matinee idol."
The Choirs
In gospel music the mass choirs and choruses replaced the quartets in terms of overall popularity. Interestingly enough, however,
the most popular choir in the '90s was founded and directed by a quartet member-Franklin Williams, commonly called Frank
(1947-1993). Williams was part of a family quartet (The Southern Gospel Singers, later called The Williams Brothers) before
joining the Jackson Southernaires. In 1979, he joined Malaco Records as executive producer and director of gospel promotions.
and he organized and was lead singer for, the Mississippi Mass Choir in 1988. The group's first recording, Mississippi Mass Choir
Live, was an immediate success with Billboard and Score magazines naming it the number one spiritual album of the year. The
choir is still recording and still setting sales records.
Milton Brunson and the Thompson Community Choir in the '80s and later John P. Kee and the New Life Community Choir
established and continue to demonstrate standards of excellence for choirs; and other choirs of the '90s show that there remains a
continuing variety of styles in these larger groups. Leaders are Hezekiah Walker and the Love Fellowship Choir, O'landa Draper
and the Associates, and Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers. But it's unfair to give even this abbreviated list of
contemporary choirs because there exist far too many of excellence--the Dallas-Fort Worth, Wilmington-Chester, Florida and New
Jersey Mass Choirs are only a few of the ones that come to mind.

Founded in 1967, by the late Rev. James Cleveland, “The King of Gospel”, The Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA),
the world’s largest gospel music association, is excited to celebrate 40 years of being together. In

Deacon Albert Likely lining out from Dr. Watts hymns at the Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, Detroit. The technique of lining
out originated in English and colonial American churches during the18th century when books were scarce and many churchgoers
did not read music. Photo by David Perry.

African-American gospel music builds upon West African performance practices, Anglo-American hymnody, and the African-
American spirituals and blues of the rural South. As blacks migrated North to developing industrial cities between the two world
wars, they brought their sacred musical traditions with them. However, a new gospel music more suited to urban life soon emerged
in the Holiness, Pentecostal, "storefront" Baptist and Methodist Churches of urban black neighborhoods. These churches used
instrumental accompaniment, chorus and verse structure, and call and response to create a more emotional and spirit-filled musical
expression. Developed and popularized by such pioneers as Thomas A. Dorsey ("The Father of Gospel Music"), Sallie and Roberta
Martin, and Mahalia Jackson, gospel music now is recognized as an original American music form.

The Family in Gospel Music

The Scott Family Singers of Detroit. Photo by Tim Trumbull.
African-American gospel music is appreciated and sung throughout the world, thanks in part to the many talented family groups
who have made major contributions to gospel's history. Most of these families have been content to sing God's praises within their
homes, churches, and local communities. Others, however, have had ministries that have placed them before international

Gospel's celebrated family groups have included The Staple Singers, The Hawkins Family, The Barrett Sisters, The O' Neal Twins,
The Consolers, and the Williams Brothers. Among the Michigan families who have helped to make Detroit the "Gospel Music
Capital of the World" are the Winans family with six distinct groups among them; The Clark Sisters, Bill Moss and the Celestials,
The Craig Brothers, and The Rance Allen Group.

The Detroit Gospel Music Connection

"Lady Soul" Aretha Franklin received her piano and vocal training in the church and went on to become the most successful
gospel-based vocalist of our time. Photo courtesy of The Michigan Chronicle.

Today's nationally acclaimed Fred Hammond and Radical for Christ follows the path already traveled by many other history-
making choirs from Detroit. In the 1950's thousands came to Detroit to hear Reverend James L. Lofton's Church of Our Prayer
choir broadcast from their home in the Paradise Theater (now Orchestra Hall). Lofton's minister of music, the Reverend Charles A.
Craig, later established his own church and formed one of the premier gospel choirs of the late 50's and early 60's, The Voices of
Tabernacle, co-directed by the Reverend James Cleveland. Mattie Moss Clark was one of the directors of the first African
American gospel choir to record in the region, The Southwest Michigan State Choir, and in the 70's, one of her proteges, Donald
Vails, achieved recording success with his Choraleers. The Harold Smith Majestics and The St. James Adult Choir, both featuring
the Reverend Charles H. Nicks, Jr. on organ, produced recordings that are gospel classics.

Smaller groups and soloists have also helped bring national attention to Detroit. Some of the groups include The Meditation
Singers, from which Della Reese and Laura Lee emerged, The Rance Allen Group, The Winans Family, The Clark Sisters, and
Commissioned. Detroit's renowned gospel soloists have included Aretha Franklin, and her father, the late Reverend C.L. Franklin,
who gained widespread fame through broadcasts from The New Bethel Baptist Church, as well as revivals and recordings.
Vanessa Bell Armstrong and Vickie Winans are two who continue the Soloists tradition.

Detroit: Gospel Music Capital of the World
 Detroit is famous for its many outstanding choirs and directors, such as Thomas Whitfield and The Thomas Whitfield Company.
Photo courtesy of Michigan State University Museum.

Two of Detroit's most popular contemporary groups, The Winans and The Clark Sisters, in performance together. Photos courtesy
of Maybelline Williams, Totally Gospel.

During the 1980's Detroit became known as the "Gospel Music Capital of the World," but Detroit has long been an integral part of
gospel's development, thanks to an abundance of gifted singers, composers, and instrumentalists.

The early history of Detroit's gospel community has yet to be documented fully. Like other northern industrial cities, Detroit has
had a thriving quartet tradition since at least the early 1930's, when a capella "jubilee" quartets were popularized through radio
broadcasts, church, and community programs. Various popular musical styles, such as Rhythm and Blues, Soul, Motown, and
more recently, Rap, each have influenced and been influenced by the sound of gospel soloists, groups and choirs.

Today, Detroit is a nationally recognized gospel mecca, known for its mass choirs and talented directors, its award-winning record
artists, composers, and arrangers, and as the birthplace of the Gospel Music Workshop of America, the largest organization of its
kind in the United States, founded by the Reverend James Cleveland in 1967.

Since its creation in the 1920s, radio has been instrumental in boosting the popularity of gospel music-and vice versa. Gospel
music received its first radio exposure through church broadcasts, "live" quartet programs, and shows hosted by secular DJs. By
the 1930s, there was a national demand for gospel announcers, radio personalities whose programs would feature only gospel

During this decade, the Reverend James L. Murray, launched one of the earliest known gospel programs in Detroit, a quartet-
centered show on WMBC-AM 1400. Since that time, hundreds of men and women from various backgrounds have served as
gospel announcers in the Motor City, some as brokers who paid for their air time, others as compensated station employees.
Among them is Van Douglas (Howard D. Morison), whose broadcasting career began at WMBC in 1935 and lasted for sixty
years. Also included is Martha Jean "The Queen" Steinberg, an inductee into the Black Radio and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame,
who went from radio pioneer at WDIA-Memphis, the country's first Black-oriented station, to become one of the few Black
women station owners (WQBH-AM) in the country.

Most announcers will never approach Morison's longevity, and few in any field will attain "The Queen's" national status. But all of
the announcers inspire and encourage Detroiters using gospel music.

Detroit's reputation as a major center for gospel music is due, in part, to the entrepreneurs who recorded the city's talented gospel
artists. For example, Carmen Murphy was the successful founder of the House of Beauty (1948), the city's first full-service salon
for Black women. After hearing a Good Friday concert in 1959 featuring the Reverends Charles Ashley Craig II and James
Cleveland and the Voices of Tabernacle, she knew she had to share their music with others. She named her label after her salon,
later shortening the name to HOB Records. The Voices' first album, "The Love of God," was historic, laying the foundation for
Cleveland's uncontested reign as the "King of Gospel" and establishing the Voices as one of the most versatile choirs in the

Armen Boladian, the son of Armenian immigrants, grew up listening to gospel music in Highland Park. After establishing the
R&B label Westbound with such acts as the Funkadelics, he recorded gospel legend Mattie Moss Clark in the mid-1960s. In 1969,
he created his all-gospel label, Sound of Gospel (SOG), and released its first album, "The Gospel According to St. James." Today,
SOG's catalog includes classics by the Reverend Charles Nicks, Jr. and St. James, the Clark Sisters, Thomas A. Dorsey, Minister
Thomas Whitfield and the Whitfield Company, and some of the region's most popular artists.

Others with Detroit connections who have created gospel labels include Bill Moss, Sr. (Bilesse); David Gough (DoRohn); Michael
J. Powell, Brian Spears, Donald Lawrence, and Ben Whitfield (Crystal Rose); Kenneth Mathies, Gregory Pearson, and Dianne
Sharpe (Inner Court); CeCe Winans (Wellspring); and Fred Hammond (J. Hammond Music).

Mattie Moss Clark

When she was six, Mattie Moss Clark (1925-1994) was already playing the piano; at twelve, she was playing for services at the
churches pastored by her mother, a guitarist and piano player in her own right. Thus the Selma, Alabama, native began a stellar,
sixty- year career as a gospel singer, composer, choral director and producer.

After moving to Detroit in 1947, her ministry blossomed. She recorded numerous gospel gems, many of them her own
compositions, with the Southwest Michigan State Choir of the church of God in Christ (COGIC), including "Salvation Is Free," "
Climbing Up the Mountain," and "He Abides." Through her work, she mentored some of the most talented young people in gospel
music, including Donald Vails, Vanessa Bell Armstrong and Rance Allen.

From 1968 until her death, Mattie Moss Clark served as international Minister of Music for the COGIC. In that capacity, she
produced numerous successful albums, built several youth choirs, and helped to solidify the Church's position as one of the most
dynamic forces in gospel.

Today, her legacy lives on through the Clark Conservatory of Music, through her historic recordings, and through the recordings of
her many pupils, including her daughters, the award- winning Clark Sisters.
The Reverend Dr. Clarence LaVaughn Franklin

Before Aretha Franklin became "The Queen of Soul," Her father, the Reverend C.L. Franklin was already "The Pastor of
Millions," a distinction he earned by selling millions of copies of his seventy-six recorded sermons, including the most famous of
them," The Eagle Stirreth Her Nest."

Born in Mississippi, January 22, 1915, C.L. Franklin entered the ministry when he was fourteen. After completing his college
education, he began his pastoral duties as a circuit preacher in Mississippi. Later, he was called to full-time pastoring by three
Baptist Churches, the last of which was the New Bethel Church in Detroit where he served for thirty-eight years. Through the
church's weekly radio broadcasts, thousands heard the consummate preacher and enjoyed established and rising gospel artists,
including his children, Aretha, Erma, Carolyn and Cecil.

Rev. Franklin was also a noted civic leader, most memorably organizing a Freedom March in Detroit that attracted 500,000
marchers in June of 1963 and featured the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who delivered the first draft of his "I Have a Dream"
Though Rev. Franklin died July 27, 1984, ministers are still studying and imitating his sermons--a testament to the strength of his
contributions to the gospel tradition.

The Reverend Charles H. Nicks, Jr.

When Charles H. Nicks, Jr. became the organist for the St. James Baptist Church in Detroit in 1957, a thirty-year success story was
begun, one which continued throughout his pastorate of the church. His recordings with the St. James Adult Choir, which captured
the "feel" of the traditional Black Baptist church, helped to strengthen Detroit's position as a major center for gospel music.

Rev. Nicks was born in Lincoln, NE, July 18,1941, to the Reverend Charles Nicks, Sr., a Baptist pastor, and Alliece Nicks, a
pianist who was his first musical influence. After extensive training in classical and gospel music, Rev. Nicks developed on organ
style that attracted students from around the country who wanted to learn how he made the Hammond organ "talk."

A founding member of the Gospel Music Workshop of America, he was also organist for the Harold Smith Majestics and a
respected record producer. Rev. Nicks, who died in 1988, was celebrated for composing and/or singing several gospel classics,
including "He's So Real," " Something About God's Grace," and "I Really Love the Lord."

Under the direction of Jimmy Dowell, the St. James Adult Choir continues to perform in the traditional style that first brought
them and Rev. Nicks into the national spotlight.

Minister Thomas Anthony Whitfield

Gospel music fans affectionately referred to Minister Thomas Whitfield (1954-1992) as "The Maestro" because of his reputation as
a consummate composer, musician, singer and producer. Whitfield's career began when he was just five years old and took his first
piano lessons; by the time he was ten, he was mastering the organ. Over the years, his training in classical music and in traditional
gospel coupled with his love for jazz and R&B resulted in the unique "Whitfield Sound."

Initially, some listeners declared his music too contemporary. However, by the mid-1980's, Whitfield had produced, arranged,
and/or written some of gospel's most enduring recordings, many featuring his choir, The Whitfield Company, others highlighting
such distinctive artists as Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Yolanda Adams and Aretha Franklin. Today, leading urban contemporary
gospel artists Kirk Franklin, Donald Lawrence and Fred Hammond cite "The Maestro" as having helped to shape their music.
Among the more than 200 songs Whitfield wrote and/or recorded are "Hallelujah, Anyhow," "I'm Encouraged," "God Wants Our
Praises," and "We Need A Word from the Lord." Both his Whitfield Company and his brothers Larry and David (through The
Whitfield Music Group) continue "The Maestro's" music legacy.

The career of Reverend James Cleveland, "The King of Gospel," spanned more than five decades, including a number of years in
Detroit. His first hit as a soloist, "Love of God," was recorded in Detroit with The Voices of Tabernacle.

Dr. Mattie Moss Clark was a gospel choir director for most of her life, and is often credited as one of the first to teach three-part
harmony to a choir. Born in 1925 in Selma, AL, Clark relocated to Detroit, MI, in 1958, and shortly thereafter organized the
Southwest Michigan State Choir of the Church of God in Christ. In addition to being a songwriter, vocalist, pianist, arranger, and
choir director, Clark was also president of the National Music Deptartment of the Church of God in Christ for 25 years, and
founded the Clark Conservatory School of Music in Detroit. Over the years, Clark recorded with such artists as Elder James
Moore, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Elder James Lennox, Rev. Richard "Mr. Clean" White, and Betty Ransom Nelson, while Clark
also helped such artists as Walter Hawkins, Hezekiah Walker, and Richard Smallwood get their careers started. Clark recorded
more than 35 albums during her career (and was one of the first gospel artists to receive a gold-certified album), before passing
away at the age of 69, on September 22, 1994, in Southfield, MI. ~ Greg Prato, All Music Guide

Barely six months after the end of the Civil War, and just two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, three men — John
Ogden, the Reverend Erastus Milo Cravath, and the Reverend Edward P. Smith — established the Fisk School in Nashville, named
in honor of General Clinton B. Fisk of the Tennessee Freedmen's Bureau, who provided the new institution with facilities in
former Union Army barracks near the present site of Nashville's Union Station. In these facilities Fisk convened its first classes on
January 9, 1866. The first students ranged in age from seven to seventy, but shared common experiences of slavery and poverty —
and an extraordinary thirst for learning.
The work of Fisk's founders was sponsored by the American Missionary Association — later part of the United Church of Christ,
with which Fisk retains an affiliation today. Ogden, Cravath, and Smith, along with others in their movement, shared a dream of an
educational institution that would be open to all, regardless of race, and that would measure itself by "the highest standards, not of
Negro education, but of American education at its best." Their dream was incorporated as Fisk University on August 22, 1867.
The tradition of excellence at Fisk has developed out of a history marked by struggle and uncertainty. Fisk's world-famous Jubilee
Singers originated as a group of traveling students who set out from Nashville in 1871, taking the entire contents of the University
treasury with them for travel expenses, praying that through their music they could somehow raise money enough to keep open the
doors of their debt-ridden school. The singers struggled at first, but before long, their performances so electrified audiences that
they traveled throughout the United States and Europe, moving to tears audiences that included William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell
Phillips, Ulysses S. Grant, William Gladstone, Mark Twain, Johann Strauss, and Queen Victoria. The Jubilee Singers introduced
much of the world to the spiritual as a musical genre — and in the process raised funds that preserved their University and
permitted construction of Jubilee Hall, the South's first permanent structure built for the education of black students. As a
designated National Historical Landmark, today, Jubilee Hall remains the dramatic focal point of Fisk's campus. To this day, each
October 6, Fisk pauses to observe the anniversary of the singers' departure from campus in 1871. The contemporary Jubilee
Singers perform in a University convocation — and conclude the day's ceremonies with a pilgrimage to the gravesites of the
original singers, where once again, the old songs are sung at the burial places of their first performers.

Jubilee Songs

Combining the heritage of African culture and the experiences encountered while in bondage, early African American music
would become a unifying and driving force among America's slaves. Spirituals, as many of these songs came to be called,
expressed faith in God, helped make work more bearable, and also revealed plans to revolt. The songs' lyrics offer a glimpse of the
true horror slaves endured as well as a hope and faith that one day they would be free. The voice for generations of African
Americans, these songs laid the groundwork for the development of other forms of music in America.

The Fisk University Jubilee Singers was the first group to publicly perform the songs of slaves and they shared them with the
world. When the Fisk Jubilee Singers first performed in the late 1800s, they sang ballads and patriotic anthems; it was their
director, George White, who suggested that they sing the songs of their ancestors. The group was hesitant at first to expose this
sacred music but agreed to add a few spirituals to their program. The music was well-received, often moving audiences to tears.
With their performances, the Jubilee Singers were able to keep alive these songs of the past and reveal the emotions and strong
faith of the African American slave.

The following songs were recorded for use in the film "Jubilee Singers." "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," and "Steal Away" are part
of the Jubilee Singers traditional repertoire and are performed here by the current Fisk group. Sam McClain, a former sharecropper
who has been a deacon of Green Grove Primitive Baptist in Nolensville, Tennessee, for 55 years sings "If I Have My Ticket, Can I
Ride," "Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray," and "Help Me."
Jubilee Songs
Steal Away performed by current Jubilee Singers
• Lyrics
• Audio (RealAudio)

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot performed by current Jubilee Singers
• Lyrics
• Audio (RealAudio)
• Video (QuickTime)

Fisk University has recently issued "Rise, Shine! Fisk Jubilee Singers Live in Concert." The cassette and CD features members of
the same 1998-199 ensemble who appear in the WGBH documentary, performing 17 of the spirituals that the Jubilees introduced
to the world, including "Steal Away," "Ain't Got Time to Die," "Ev'ry Time I Get the Spirit," "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," and
"This Little Light of Mine." Copies may be ordered from the Fisk Alumni Office at 800-443-2586.

Call and response (music)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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This article is about call and response as a musical pattern. For other meanings see: Call and response (disambiguation).
In music, a call and response is a succession of two distinct phrases usually played by different musicians, where the second phrase
is heard as a direct commentary on or response to the first. It corresponds to the call-and-response pattern in human
communication and is found in many traditions.

In West African cultures, call and response is a pervasive pattern of democratic participation -- in public gatherings in the
discussion of civic affairs, in religious rituals, as well as in vocal and instrumental musical expression. It is this tradition that
African bondsmen and women brought with them to the New World and which has been transmitted over the centuries in various
forms of cultural expression -- in religious observance; public gatherings; sporting events; even in children's rhymes; and, most
notably, in African-American music in its myriad forms and descendants including: gospel, blues, rhythm and blues, jazz and jazz

These forms also possibly influenced the evolution of call and response in the ancient Indian Classical Music technique of

Call and response is likewise widely present in other parts of the Americas touched by the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Known under
the Spanish term coro-pregon, it can be found in Afro-Latin music based on religious chants.

 [edit] Folk music
It is common in folk traditions of choral singing of many peoples, especially in African musical cultures. In the West, it is most
readily seen in the sea shanty, African-American work songs, and the dance-songs of various European countries including France
(particularly Brittany) and the Faeroe Islands.

[edit] Classical music
In classical European music it is known as antiphony.

[edit] Popular music
The phenomenon of call and response is pervasive in modern Western popular music, as well, largely because Western music has
been so heavily shaped by African contributions. Cross-over rhythm and blues, rock 'n' roll, and rock music exhibit call-and-
response characteristics, as well. One example is The Who's song, My Generation:

African Americans
Main article: African American music

Brought to the United States as early as 1619, African slaves were from a variety of tribes from West Africa, including the
Ashanti, Yoruba, Bini, Congo and Dahomean tribes. They spoke hundreds of languages; some came from rival tribes, or isolated
communities with little connection to anyone else until the arrival of the slave traders. Some of the larger groups had extensive
contact with the Muslims of North Africa and the distant cultures of East and Southern Africa.

Slaves brought with them work songs, religious music and dance, and a wide variety of instruments, including kalimba,
xylophone, flutes and rattles. Perhaps the most important characteristic, however, was the call-and-response vocal style, in which a
singer and the audience trade lines back-and-forth. This practice lent itself well to the burgeoning New England hymn tradition,
and the two fields began commingling early in the nation's history. Another unusual characteristic of much African music is that,
rather than begin and end a tune or phrase on a pure note as in Western music, African singers would slide onto or below the note.

The most distinctive component of African music, however, is the focus on the rhythm. In this respect, African folk styles are far
more complex than anything developed anywhere else in the world. African music is usually polyrhythmic, made by a wide
variety of percussion instruments, both pitched and unpitched, using numerous kinds of natural materials. Polythythms were
imported along with slaves to the New World, where it has found its way to genres ranging from African American gospel to pop-
swing and rock and roll.

Many slaveowners encouraged their slaves to sing as they work, believing that it improved morale and made the slaves work
harder. They generally required that all tunes remain cheerful and pleasant in tone to ensure that this occurred. This music, when
accompanied, used only a single drum or other object used for percussion. Since they were often without instruments, clapping and
foot-stomping became an integral part of slave music. The banjo and various kinds of drums were the most important instruments,
but African slaves also used varieties of panpipes, notched gourds played with a scraper (similar to a güiro) and rattles. The thumb
piano was also known, similar to the African mbira or sanza. In addition, blacks soon mastered European instruments like the
clarinet, oboe, French horn and, most importantly, the violin. Often, prominent gentlemen had black slaves act as musicians and
entertainers. Some became quite prominent, like Virginia's Sy Gilliat, who performed at state balls in Williamsburg. His assistant
after the capitol moved to Richmond was known as London Brigs and was a renowned player.

New England choral traditions
The original Puritan immigrants to New England sang a number of spiritual psalms, but generally disliked secular music, or at
least those varieties which they viewed as encouraging immorality and disorder. They also objected to the use of musical
instruments in churches and a complex vocal liturgy, both being associated with Roman Catholicism. The well-known minister
Cotton Mather wrote, in Directions for a Candidate of the Ministry, on the subject:

For MUSIC, I know not what well to day.--Do as you please. If you Fancy it, I don't Forbid it. Only do not for the sake of it,
Alienate your Time too much, from those that are more Important Matters. It may be so, that you may serve your GOD the better,
for the Refreshment of One that can play well on an Instrument. However, to accomplish yourself at Regular Singing, is a thing
that will be of Daily Use to you. For I would not have a Day pass without Singing, but so at the same to make a Melody in your
Heart unto the Lord;...[1]
The Ainsworth Psalter provided most of the tunes in use in New England church music until the late 17th century, when
congregations began abandoned the Psalter, claiming the tunes were too complex and difficult to sing.

The Bay Psalme Book (The Whole Booke of Psalmes Faithfully Translated into English Metre) was published in Cambridge,
Massachusetts in 1640; it was the first book of any kind printed in the English colonies of North America. It became the standard
used by New England churches for many years, though it contained no music itself, merely providing psalms and pointing readers
to other prominent publications. The Bay Psalm Book was faithful to its source, but did not produce beautiful singing. In 1651,
then, a third edition was created, and became known as the New England Psalm Book; this became the standard for many years.
By this point, the evolution from the Ainsworth Psalter to the New England Psalm Book had steadily dwindled the number of
tunes in use.

The practice of lining out was often common, though its presence and utility depended on the degree of illiteracy found in
congregation -- generally, illiteracy was common, as was lining out. This was the process of a leader presenting one line of a song,
then maintaining the first note for the congregation to match as they responded with the same line. This technique was also
common in churches of Appalachia, such as the Regular Baptists of Kentucky.

William T. Dargan
Lining Out the Word
Dr. Watts Hymn Singing in the Music of Black Americans

DESCRIPTION (back to top)

This book, a milestone in American music scholarship, is the first to take a close look at an important and little-studied component
of African American music, one that has roots in Europe, but was adapted by African American congregations and went on to have
a profound influence on music of all kinds--from gospel to soul to jazz. "Lining out," also called Dr. Watts hymn singing, refers to
hymns sung to a limited selection of familiar tunes, intoned a line at a time by a leader and taken up in turn by the congregation.
From its origins in seventeenth-century England to the current practice of lining out among some Baptist congregations in the
American South today, William Dargan's study illuminates a unique American music genre in a richly textured narrative that
stretches from Isaac Watts to Aretha Franklin and Ornette Coleman.
Lining Out the Word traces the history of lining out from the time of slavery, when African American slaves adapted the practice
for their own uses, blending it with other music, such as work songs. Dargan explores the role of lining out in worship and pursues
the cultural implications of this practice far beyond the limits of the church, showing how African Americans wove African and
European elements together to produce a powerful and unique cultural idiom. Drawing from an extraordinary range of sources--
including his own fieldwork and oral sources--Dargan offers a compelling new perspective on the emergence of African American
music in the United States.
Part I. The Proverbial Trees: Patterns of Change in African American Music Making
1. "Blest Be the Tie That Binds": Part I: Congregational Singing as a Worship Ethos for Dr. Watts Hymns
2. "Blest Be the Tie That Binds": Part II: Regional Style Traditions of Dr. Watts Hymn Singing
3. "Our God, Our Help in Ages Past": The Tradition of Dr. Watts in English Historical Perspective
4. "Father, I Stretch My Hands to Thee": The Tradition of Dr. Watts in African Historical Perspective
5. "I Love the Lord, He Heard My Cries": The Role of Dr. Watts Hymns in the Musical Acculturation of African Americans
6. "Go Preach My Gospel, Saith the Lord": Words as Movers and Shakers in African American Music

Part II. The Proverbial Forest: Webs of Significance in African American Music Making
7. "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say": The Singing Life of the Reverend Doctor C.{ths}J. Johnson (1913-90)
8. "Come Ye That Love the Lord": The Lining Out-Ring Shout Continuum and the Five-Key Sequence
9. "God Moves in a Mysterious Way": The Lining Out-Ring Shout Continuum beyond Church Walls
The story of the negro spirituals is closely linked to the History of African Americans, with its three milestones:

1865: the abolition of slavery
1925: the Black Renaissance
1985: the first Dr Martin Luther King’s Day.

Before 1865
Almost all the first Africans who arrived in the New World were slaves. They came from several regions of the African West
Their ways of living were described by slaves themselves, in some narratives. They had to work either in plantations or in town.
Slavery was an important issue facing Churches, as slaves were allowed to meet for Christian services. Some Christian ministers,
such as J. D. Long, wrote against slavery.

 Rural slaves used to stay after the regular worship services, in churches or in plantation “praise houses”, for singing and dancing.
But, slaveholders did not allow dancing and playing drums, as usual in Africa. They also had meetings at secret places (“camp
meetings”, “bush meetings”), because they needed to meet one another and share their joys, pains and hopes. In rural meetings,
thousands slaves were gathered and listened to itinerant preachers, and sang spirituals, for hours. In the late 1700s, they sang the
precursors of spirituals, which were called “corn ditties”.

So, in rural areas, spirituals were sung, mainly outside of churches. In cities, about 1850, the Protestant City-Revival Movement
created a new song genre, which was popular; for revival meetings organized by this movement, temporary tents were erected in
stadiums, where the attendants could sing.

At church, hymns and psalms were sung during services. Some of them were transformed into songs of a typical African American
form: they are "Dr Watts”.

The lyrics of negro spirituals were tightly linked with the lives of their authors: slaves. While work songs dealt only with their
daily life, spirituals were inspired by the message of Jesus Christ and his Good News (Gospel) of the Bible, “You can be saved”.
They are different from hymns and psalms, because they were a way of sharing the hard condition of being a slave.

Many slaves in town and in plantations tried to run to a “free country”, that they called “my home” or “Sweet Canaan, the
Promised Land”. This country was on the Northern side of Ohio River, that they called “Jordan”. Some negro spirituals refer to the
Underground Railroad, an organization for helping slaves to run away.

During slavery and afterwards, workers were allowed to sing songs during their working time. This was the case when they had to
coordinate their efforts for hauling a fallen tree or any heavy load. For example, prisoners used to sing "chain gang" songs, when
they worked on the road or some construction. But some "drivers" also allowed slaves to sing "quiet" songs, if they were not
apparently against slaveholders. Such songs could be sung either by only one or by several slaves. They were used for expressing
personal feeling, and for cheering one another.

The Underground Railroad (UGRR) helped slaves to run to free a country. A fugitive could use several ways. First, they had to
walk at night, using hand lights and moonlight. When needed, they walked (“waded”) in water, so that dogs could not smell their
tracks. Second, they jumped into chariot, where they could hide and ride away. These chariots stopped at some “stations”, but this
word could mean any place where slaves had to go for being taken in charge.

So, negro spirituals like “Wade in the Water”, “The Gospel Train” and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” directly refer to the UGRR.

Between 1865 and 1925
Slavery was abolished in 1865. Then, some African Americans were allowed to go to school and be graduated. At Fisk University,
one of the first universities for African American, in Nashville (Tennessee), some educators decided to raise funds for supporting
their institution. So, some educators and students made tours in the New World and in Europe, and sang negro spirituals (Fisk
Jubilee Singers). Other Black universities had also singers of negro spirituals: Tuskegee Institute, etc.
Just after 1865, most of African Americans did not want to remember the songs they sung in hard days of slavery. It means that
even when ordinary people sang negro spirituals, they were not proud to do so.

In the 1890s, Holiness and Sanctified churches appeared, of which was the Church of God in Christ. In these churches, the
influence of African traditions was in evidence. These churches were heirs to shouts, hand clapping, foot-stomping and jubilee
songs, like it was in plantation “praise houses”.

At the same time, some composers arranged negro spirituals in a new way, which was similar to the European classical music.
Some artists, mainly choruses, went abroad (in Europe and Africa) and sang negro spirituals. At the same time, ministers like
Charles A. Tindley, in Philadelphia, and their churches sang exciting church songs that they copyrighted.

Between 1925 and 1985
In the 1920s, the Black Renaissance was an artist movement concerning poetry and music. “It was an evidence of a renewed race-
spirit that consciously and proudly sets itself apart”, explained Alan Locke. So, the use of dialect was taboo, in this movement. The
“race-spirit” infused the work of musicians and writers like Langston Hughes. For the first time, African Americans realized that
their roots were deep in the land of their birth.
The Black Renaissance had some influence on the way of singing and interpreting negro spirituals. First, the historical meaning of
these songs were put forward. Then, singers were pushed to be more educated.

For example, in early Twentieth century, boys used to sing negro spirituals in schoolyards. Their way of singing was not
sophisticated. But educators thought that negro spirituals are musical pieces, which must be interpreted as such. New groups were
formed, such as the Highway QC’s (QC : Quincy College), and sung harmonized negro spirituals.

This constant improvement of negro spirituals gave birth to another type of Christian songs. Thesewere inspired by the Bible
(mainly the Gospel) and related to the daily life. Thomas A. Dorsey was the first who composed such new songs. He called them
Gospel songs, but some people say “Dorseys”. He is considered as being the Father of Gospel music.

It is of interest to see that, during this period, African Americans began to leave the South and went North. Then, Gospel songs
were more and more popular in Northern towns, like Chicago.

Between 1915 and 1925, many African American singers, like Paul Robeson, performed either at church or on stage, or even in
movies, then negro spirituals were considered mainly as traditional songs. In the late 1930s, Sister Rosetta Tharpe dared sing
Gospel songs in a nightclub. This was the very start of singing Gospel songs in many kinds of places: churches, theaters, concert
halls. The number of quartets was high, at that time.

At the same time, some preachers and their congregations were also famous; some of them recorded negro spirituals and Gospel
songs. Ministers, like James Cleveland, made tours with their choruses, in the United States and abroad.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, before and during rallies for Civil Rights, demonstrators sang negro spirituals. For example,
“We Shall Overcome” and “This Little Light of Mine” were popular

Musically, it is believed that a complex intermingling of African and white folk-music elements occurred and that complementary
traits of African music and white U.S. folksong reinforced each other. For example, the call-and-response pattern occurs in both, as
do certain scales and the variable intonation of certain notes. Most authorities see clear African influence in vocal style and in the
complex polyrhythmic clapped accompaniments. African tradition also included polyphonic and choral singing. The ring shout (a
religious dance usually accompanied by the singing of spirituals and clapped rhythms) is of African ancestry.

After the Civil War the black spirituals were “discovered” by Northerners and either developed toward harmonized versions, often
sung by trained choirs, or, conversely, preserved the older traditional style, especially in rural areas and certain sects.

Like the white gospel song, the modern black gospel song is a descendant of the spiritual and is instrumentally accompanied.
Black gospel music is closely related to secular black music (as is the spiritual to the work song and blues) and often includes jazz
rhythms and instruments alongside traditional clapped accompaniment and often dance. Though gospel songs are usually
composed, the melodies are taken for improvisational bases in church services, as popular tunes are improvised upon in jazz.

“Run Old Jeremiah”: Echoes of the Ring Shout
Spirituals and work songs, rooted in both the slavery era and the West African societies from which most African-American slaves
were originally taken, provided cultural sustenance to African Americans in the midst of intense racial oppression. Folklorists first
began collecting traditional southern music in the late-19th century. By the 1920s and 1930s, John and Alan Lomax were
recording southern musicians (African-American, white, and Mexican-American) for the Library of Congress. “Run, Old
Jeremiah,” sung by Joe Washington Brown and Austin Coleman in Jennings, Louisiana, in 1934, was a ring-shout, a religious song
using a West African dance pattern, where the performers shuffled single file, clapping out a complex counter-rhythm. The ring-
shout was common during slavery and remained popular well into the 20th century as a means of emotional and physical release
during religious worship. The lyrics of the ring-shout spoke of escape from the travails of the present.

The city of Detroit, Michigan has had a large and thriving black community since the 1920s, when many African Americans
moved to northern cities to find work in the then-booming industrial sector. This Great Migration continued through the 1960s.
Paradise Valley and Black Bottom were early centers of black culture in the city. By the mid-1970s, African Americans formed
more than half the city's population.

Many black churches are located in the city, including the historic Second Baptist Church, which assisted runaway slaves. A
monument to the Underground Railroad was erected in 2001 at Hart Plaza downtown.

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