Black History Month: The Clark Sisters

The Clark Sisters – left to right – Dorinda Clark-Cole, Elbernita “Twinkie” Clark-Terrell, Jackie Clark Chisholm, and Karen Clark Sheard

The Clark Sisters, from Detroit are a gospel group consisting of Jackie Clark Chisholm, Elbernita “Twinkie” Clark-Terrell, Dorinda Clark-Cole, and Karen Clark Sheard and are the daughters of Dr. Mattie Moss Clark. Denise Clark Bradford, another sister no longer performs with the group.  They all began singing early in life and by the 1960s they were performing as a group in church.  In 1974 they signed with Sound of Gospel Records, but it wasn’t until the 1980s with the release of Is My Living In Vain, their first live recording that stayed at the number one spot for the year on the Billboard Gospel chart, that they became more known.

In 1982 The Clark Sisters’ album Sincerely received a Grammy nomination and in 1983 they performed at the Grammy Awards.  Again in 1986 and 1988 they were nominated for a Grammys for their albums Heart & Soul and Conqueror , respectively, without a win.  It wasn’t until wasn’t until 2008 when they reunited after establishing their solo careers that they received their first Grammy Awards for Best Traditional Gospel Album, Live – One Last Time, and best Gospel Performance for “Blessed and Highly Favored.”  Karen Clark Sheard won Best Gospel Song for her work as a songwriter on “Bless and Highly Favored.”

While in Detroit visiting our member, COMPÁS, we had the honor of meeting Dr. Dorinda Clark-Cole and Jackie Clark Chisholm to discuss and learn more about their education initiatives and Dorinda Clark-Cole’s Singers & Musicians Arts Conference.  Every year they hold the conference in Detroit, but last year was the first year they held it in Toledo, OH and have regional conferences in Los Angeles, CA and Birmingham, AL.  As part of the conference there is a free admission education day for youth with seminars for instrumental, vocal, dance, and musical theatre.  Additionally  there are workshops on music business, a youth choir, and a showcase among other activities to help students further themselves in the arts.

The Clark Sisters have recorded more the 12 records in all and this week, on Thursday February, 6 they will be performing at the Berklee Performance Center.  In addition to performing with Berklee students they will be interviewed by Gospel Today Magazine founder Teresa Hairston.  You can get tickets by clicking here.

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