Johnny Jackson, Jr., Gospel Is Alive Celebration

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The Clark Sisters

The Clark Sisters

To celebrate the rich tradition of gospel music in New Orleans the birthplace of Mahalia Jackson, Jazz Fest each year presents an outstanding program of gospel choirs for audiences of senior citizens.

The Clark Singers to Perform at the 28th Annual
Johnny Jackson, Jr., Gospel Is Alive! Celebration

Contemporary gospel pioneers the Clark Sisters will be the headline performers at the 28th annual Johnny Jackson, Jr., Gospel Is Alive! Celebration, a concert that takes place Monday, May 1, starting at 9:30 a.m. at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church (2515 Franklin Avenue). Admission is free.

The Gospel Is Alive! concert is an outreach program for senior citizens in the New Orleans area. The concert is also open to the public. School groups are welcome; for more information call (504) 558-6100.
Also performing will be Joanna Hale-McGill and the Council on Aging Community Choir.

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation is delighted to salute longtime board member Johnny Jackson, Jr., by naming the annual Gospel is Alive! Celebration in his honor.  Johnny has been a dedicated and ardent supporter of Gospel is Alive! since its inception 1990.

Each year, Gospel Is Alive! recognizes individuals and choirs that have made important contributions to the New Orleans’ gospel community. This year’s honorees are:
Rev. Lois Dejean Lifetime Achievement Award: Bernadine Elder Gibson
Church Gospel Choir: First Emanuel Baptist Church Choir
Louisiana Gospel Group : Zulu Gospel Ensemble, Rodney Mason, director
High School Choir/Director: McMain Singing Mustangs, Clyde Lawrence, director
Gospel Community Award: S. Carver Davenport
Gospel Community Award: Frank B. Stewart, Sr.

Formed in Detroit in 1966, the Clark Sisters are a legendary gospel group, with 16 albums and three Grammy Awards to their credit. Thanks to hits including "You Brought the Sunshine,” "Is My Living in Vain?," "Hallelujah" and many others, they are the highest-selling female gospel group in history.

The group consists of five sisters: Jacky Clark Chisholm, Denise Clark Bradford, Elbernita "Twinkie" Clark-Terrell, Dorinda Clark-Cole and Karen Clark Sheard. They are the daughters of legendary gospel musician and choral director Dr. Mattie Moss Clark.

The late Dr. Moss Clark served as National Music Department president of the Church of God in Christ based in Memphis, and founded the Clark Conservatory of Music in Detroit, where the sisters continue to teach. She was the first gospel artist to be awarded a gold record.

The Clark Sisters are credited for helping to bring gospel music to the mainstream and are considered as pioneers of contemporary gospel. They were honored at the 2016 Essence Festival in New Orleans.

Joanna Hale-McGill is a resident of Slidell, La., where she is an administrator at His Will Worship Center. An up-and-coming artist, she won the Next Gospel Superstar contest at the 2015 Essence Festival. Her debut album will be released this fall.

The 2017 Johnny Jackson, Jr., Gospel Is Alive! Celebration is produced and presented by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell. Additional support is provided by these sponsors: The New Orleans Council on Aging, the Rhodes Family of Businesses and Peoples Health.

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation is the nonprofit that owns the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell. The Foundation uses the proceeds from Jazz Fest, and other raised funds, for year-round programs in education, economic development and cultural enrichment. For more on what we do, please visit us at

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