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I Pray For People-Clara Ward

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Published on Sep 15, 2012

Gospel legend Clara Ward (1924 - 1973) was born in Philadelphia, and was a gospel artist who achieved great success, both artistically and commercially. In the 1930's she started singing and accompanying her mother Gertrude, and sister Willa, in a family group called the Ward Trio. The Ward Trio began singing in Philadelphia churches and gained a local reputation as the leaders of the new music. Clara made her first solo recording in 1940 and continued accompanying the Ward Gospel Trio. In 1943 at the National Baptist Convention they made their debut, and were a sensational hit.

Then when they started to travel in 1947 a few more singers were added and they became known as the Ward Singers, and started recording. In 1949 they had their first hit Surely God Is Able, that song made them the most famous female group of the 1950's. A gifted singer and arranger, Ward took the lead-switching style used by male gospel quartets to new heights, leaving room for spontaneous improvisation and vamping by each member of the group. Clara Ward is widely acclaimed as one of the greatest soloists in gospel history. Her experience has been vast, indeed. Few performers have played in the supper clubs of Las Vegas, the choir lofts of churches, the concert stages of world-famous halls, tiny jazz clubs, Disneyland, and the Holy Land.

Clara Ward was the first gospel singer to sing with a 100-piece symphony orchestra in the 1960s. They recorded an album together on the Verve label, V-5019, entitled "The Heart, The Faith, The Soul of Clara Ward", and the Ward Singers performed their music live in Philadelphia with the symphony and the Golden Voices Ensemble. From that venue, I Pray For People, spectacular vocals and orchestration. Clara stepped beyond the sunset in 1973, leaving behind a great legacy.

Disclaimer: Photographs and music copyright are owned by their originators. No infringement intended.

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