This week the Music in the Black Church Program at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music hosted The legendary Clark Sisters—“the first ladies of gospel” for a symposium, masterclass, and concert. On Wednesday they visited the Yale Library to add their voices to the library’s growing collection of taped interviews with prominent figures in gospel music.
The library’s Oral History in American Music (OHAM) program is a collaboration with the Institute of Sacred Music and Yale School of Music as part of the interdisciplinary program Music and the Black Church, launched by Professor Braxton Shelley in 2021. The videotaped interview with the Clark Sisters will become part of OHAM’s Major Figures in American Music Collection, which now comprises more than 1,400 recorded interviews—dating from 1970 to the present day—with prominent composers and musicians.
(Group photo, left to right): Libby Van Cleve (Director, Oral History of American Music), Braxton Shelley (Director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Music and the Black Church), Dorinda Clark-Cole, Jacky Clark Chisholm, Elbernita “Twinkie” Clark, Karen Clark Sheard, Risë Nelson (Director, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Yale University Library), Ambre Dromgoole.
Photo: Judy Sirota Rosenthal