Coffee House features Detroit gospel giants

Local favorites join Clarks, Winans in revue

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The third annual Coffee House Music Revue will feature two groups from Detroit who continue the legacies of their families, considered by many to be the city's First Families of Gospel Music. The Winans and the Clark Sisters are sibling gospel groups who grew up hearing their families' music and eventually immersed themselves in the genre.

At 7 p.m. Saturday, July 22, the groups will share the stage in a concert that is free to the public at Salem Missionary Baptist Church, 320 W. Fulton St. Elijah Bradford, owner of Coffee House Productions and lead singer with the Valentinos, will serve as host for the evening.

He said the Clark Sisters and the Winans are among his favorite gospel groups.

"We can't wait for the public to hear this music," Bradford said. "There was something about gospel music of the eighties that has that stickability factor."

Bradford will also perform with the Valentinos, as will Purpose Driven, Salem Mass Choir, Shonda English, Kristen Williams, Maestro Mike and others.

The Clark Sisters are an American gospel vocal group, Bradford said, who continue the legacy of their mother, the late Mattie Moss Clark, who was an accomplished musician, singer, arranger, choir director and educator. Among her many accomplishments was originating the three-part harmony still preferred by gospel choirs today. Clark separated the soprano, alto and tenor voices to find the harmony. Clark also founded Detroit's Clark Conservatory of Music, where her daughters still teach.

In 1983, the Clark Sisters' recording of the crossover hit, "You Bring the Sunshine," introduced them to a wider audience, and they have had a string of hits ever since. Among them are "Is My Living in Vain?' "I'm Looking for a Miracle" and "Hallelujah." They continue to record and tour separately and together.

Also from Detroit and discovered by the legendary Andrae Crouch, The Winans' debut album, released in 1981, was "Introducing the Winans." They've won numerous Dove awards and Grammys and are credited with updating traditional black gospel to today's urban contemporary style and sound.

The Winans have also scored with R&B fans and have worked with Quincy Jones, R. Kelly, Kenny G, Stevie Wonder, Ricky van Shelton, Kenny Loggins and others. The sons of gospel royalty, Mom and Pop (Delores and David) Winans, they've performed and recorded extensively with family members. Their most famous hits include "Tomorrow," "Restoration" and "Uphold Me."

Bradford said he's very excited about doing the revue for the third year.

"I think the community is really enjoying these tribute concerts we do," he said. "My goal is for people to leave high off of this glorious music. Anyone who attended our Tribute to Gospel's Golden Age back in February knows exactly what I'm talking about."

Bradford said that considering how popular the Coffee House Music Revues have become and given the prestigious talents who will be performing, "We expect large numbers, so I would advise the community to get there early for good seating."

The Coffee House Music Revue 2017 will be presented at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 22, at Salem Missionary Baptist Church, 320 W. Fulton St. Admission is free. For more information visit the website www.elijahbradford.com or call (803) 216-1776.