February 26, 2013
Cleotha Staples, 78, the eldest sibling in the influential gospel group the Staple Singers, died Thursday at her Chicago home after suffering from Alzheimer's disease for a decade, said family friend and music publicist Bill Carpenter. The family's music career had its roots with Roebuck "Pops" Staples, a manual laborer who strummed a $10 guitar while teaching his children gospel songs to keep them entertained. They sang in church one Sunday morning in 1948, and the response convinced Pops that music was in the family's future.
January 18, 2013 |
'Sometimes things just fall out of the sky; sometimes you're tugging on it pretty hard," says Iris DeMent. She's talking from her Iowa City home about the songwriting process of Sing the Delta , her first album of original songs in 16 years and the impetus for the short tour that brings her to Wilmington's World Cafe Live at the Queen on Tuesday. "There's one song on there that there's a line that I literally, I'm not exaggerating, sat on the floor six or eight hours a day for three or four days in a row just to get that one line.
October 9, 2012 |
God's work, it seems, is never done. That's why, rather than resting on the seventh day, he called upon Live Nation to put together a gospel music tour, "The King's Men," and unite the top-selling salesman of the Word. On Sunday, four formidable headliners - Kirk Franklin, Marvin Sapp, Donnie McClurkin, and Israel Houghton - laid bare their souls and their most impassioned voices at the Liacouras Center. And it was good - the three-hour-plus showing of holy music's Traveling Wilburys, to devotees of God and to his performers.
October 5, 2012
MUSIC Boogie in the park While the Philly-baked Disco Biscuits aligned first with the jam band scene, the group has evolved into the harder-edged, electronica-charged space rage. And for their latest festival City Bisco - the first in Philly proper - the Disco Biscuits have surrounded themselves with lots of like minds to keep you dancing. First day includes well-known spinners Diplo and R2DJ (both homegrown products, too), plus Aeroplane, Cinnamon Chasers, The Manhattan Project and Wyllys.
September 24, 2012 |
William J. Oliver, a retired business executive who worked tirelessly to spread the gospel of Christ around the world, died unexpectedly on Thursday of a heart attack. He was 82. Mr. Oliver, of Villanova, led an active life in both the secular and spiritual worlds. He retired in 1992 as vice president of the mid-Atlantic region for Deluxe Check Printers, which provided checks and documents for larger companies. He served as chairman of the board for the Heritage Foundation, also known as the Longport Home for the Aged.
August 24, 2012 |
FLORENCE JONES knew from childhood that she was meant for a career in music. As a student at Barratt Junior High School, she wrote in the yearbook that she wanted to be a music directress. In her 70-year career in music, she did just that, directing choirs and playing the organ at a number of local churches. Florencia Maylee Mack - as she became after marrying William Kenneth Mack - a talented woman whose career also included giving private music lessons and comforting the bereaved with organ music at local funeral homes, died Aug. 16. She was 84 and lived in Kensington.
August 24, 2012
Willa Ward, 91, who lent her pure, note-bending voice to the Ward Singers, one of the most famous and influential groups of what is considered the golden age of gospel singing, died in Philadelphia on Aug. 12. Her daughter Rita Scarlet confirmed her death. The Ward Singers' 1950 hit "Surely God Is Able" was one of nearly 90 songs that the group recorded in its heyday, from the mid-1940s to the late '50s. "I think they were the best gospel group in the golden era," Tony Heilbut, a gospel historian, record producer, and author of The Gospel Sound (1971)
August 15, 2012 |
SHE WAS 88 years old, but here's how an interviewer described her in 2009: "Her gold-toned pants with matching top, large jeweled earrings that sparkle brilliantly as they catch the light, and her gold high heels serve as the ideal ensemble within a beautifully aged home that is dripping with old Hollywood elegance. " That was Willa Ward, agelessly beautiful and still radiating the electric energy that made her a star as a member of the legendary Ward Singers, the Philadelphia-based gospel group, and later when she began singing pop standards on her own. Renowned for her beauty, talent and charm, Willa also was a fine pianist who could have had a career on the piano.
July 2, 2012 |
Attending Gospel Sunday during the city's July Fourth celebration is a must for Ozella Smith, of Mount Airy, but this year she decided to move from her seat in the audience to the stage. The adult literacy teacher - and second soprano - was one of 75 local residents who sang Sunday at Penn's Landing as part of a mass choir assembled especially for the Wawa Welcome America! celebration. Smith, who was trained in opera, was nervous. "It's blowing my mind the way God works.
June 30, 2012 |
Nobody gives a birthday party for the USA like Philadelphia, and for Uncle Sam's 236th, Wawa Welcome America! has a glorious celebration planned with fireworks, concerts, lots of food, and children's activities. On Friday morning, the Go 4th and Learn series is at the Philadelphia Zoo. From 10 a.m. to noon, there will be all sorts of hands-on activities throughout America's first zoo, particularly with rare and endangered species such as lemurs from Madagascar, mole rats, and tree kangaroos.