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Friday, April 19, 2024

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Gospel tradition of Fannie Clark celebrated in new recording project

Fannie Clark was well-known in Memphis and the Mid-South area for lending her gifted voice to the gospel group the Fannie Clark Singers and the Tennessee Mass Choir, and now her legacy continues through her son.

Pastor Derek Clark of Rejoice in the Covenant Church, along with his wife Tara and other members of the Clark clan, have produced a live CD recording of original songs that hearken back to the uplifting and transformative music of his mother, Fannie.

A talented songwriter, Derek Clark admits that he stopped writing songs after his mother’s death in 2006 but for this project, he said she was there in his thoughts every step of the way.

“When I became a pastor, I just didn’t do too much songwriting any more,” said Derek Clark. “I guess I kind of thought that part of my ministry was past. But timing is everything with God. Every call and every gift, as long as He gives us strength, should be used to His glory.”

The live recording of “Crown Him,” held at Compassion Church in Germantown last October, was a spectacular affair – more a love fest than concert and with good reason. For this unforgettable project, the Clarks pulled together a very unforgettable choir, “The Family and Friends Recording Choir.”

Loved ones were joined by longtime friends,who remember the giftedness of Clark and acknowledge that giftedness in her son.

“I’m not a singer. I’m a songwriter like my mom was,” said Derek Clark, who played keyboard for his mom’s group when he was younger. “Many of the songs are straight from scripture. I hear a song first, and then, I try to write it exactly like I heard it. That’s generally how the process works with me.”

Bringing Derek Clark’s songwriting to life were powerhouses Debra Manning Thomas and Dr. Carolyn Bibbs, who were part of Tara Clark’s gathering of singing women, “Sisters in the Name of Love.”

In March, the Clarks held a CD release concert at Compassion Church to share the music with the world.

“You know, rappers and R&B singers have CD release parties,” said Derek Clark. “We wanted to have a CD release concert to showcase our music that the Lord has helped us produce.”

The hard copy of the CD was made available for sale to the general public for the very first time. “We want people to hear it, love it and start requesting their favorites.

“This project is from our hearts – my wife and I, and all of our family and friends who had a part. We appreciate so many others who gave to the work to see this CD project come to fruition. May these recordings bless all who hear them.”

(“Crown Him” is available for sale, and the entire collection will be available for download on CD Baby and DistroKid. For more information, call 901-205-7265.)

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