Jan. 20: Town Hall Presents A Celebration Of Gospel Composer Twinkie Clark Featuring Karen Clark Sheard and Damien Sneed

On Friday, January 20, 2023, The Town Hall continues its 2022/23 concert series spotlighting women composers who have shaped American culture with a celebration of Grammy Award-winning Gospel legend Dr. Elbernita “Twinkie” Clark.

Twinkie Clark. Photo by Kris R. Orlowski/Kris Rae Photography

In her first New York concert appearance in nearly 40 years, Dr. Clark will be joined by her sister, the great Gospel vocalist Karen Clark Sheard, with the 35-piece Orchestra of Tomorrow under the direction of musical polymath Damien Sneed.

Twinkie Clark, celebrated as the “Mother of Contemporary Gospel,” is widely regarded as one of the most important Gospel composers in history, with more than 350 songs to her credit. She is also known as the “Queen of the B3 Hammond organ.” In her Town Hall debut, she will perform her own compositions on the B3, both solo and accompanied by a 35-member orchestra in new arrangements by Damien Sneed. Her debut instrumental recording, MAESTRA, will be released the day of the Town Hall concert on Le Chateau Earl Records. Tickets start at $57.50, available at thetownhall.org. Doors open at 7pm, Performance is at 8pm.

Dr. Clark last sang onstage in New York in 1986 at a Gospel Fest concert at the Apollo Theater, a benefit for the Negro College Fund. In an NPR profile of Dr. Clark, David Person stated, “…No list of gospel greats would be complete without Elbernita ‘Twinkie’ Clark. Many know her as the leader of The Clark Sisters and as a master organist. But Clark’s voice is the sum of many parts. Twinkie Clark sings like John Coltrane played: Her notes are clear and clean, her phrasing and timing exquisite.”

Said Melay Araya, Artistic Director of Town Hall, “Twinkie Clark’s appearance at Town Hall is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I’m so happy to make it happen for New Yorkers. Since Gospel compositions are rarely performed in concert settings, many listeners never get to hear them. This concert, featuring Twinkie Clark on the Hammond B3 with the soul-stirring voice of Karen Clark Sheard and new orchestral arrangements by the inimitable Damien Sneed, is a rare occasion indeed.

“By presenting her in our series of concerts celebrating women composers, we hope to honor her essential contributions – not only to the Gospel music canon, but to American music in general.”

Karen Clark Sheard said, “I love my big sister and have sung countless times with her since we were children. I am thrilled that I will be there when New York’s Town Hall pays tribute to her beautiful spirit and recognizes her musical genius. Twinkie has always been one of my biggest inspirations!”

Four-time GRAMMY® Award-winner and multiple Stellar and GMA Dove Award winner Dr. Karen Clark Sheard is a vocalist, songwriter, entrepreneur, wife and mother. She is also a gospel music legend and a part of a musical dynasty. Admired by a wide range of vocalists from various genres, Dr. Sheard is renowned throughout the music industry for her signature, one-of-a-kind multi-octave vocal range and ability. Her musical style with the legendary Clark Sisters and as a solo artist has inspired a host of today’s brightest pop divas, gospel singers and songwriters.

As a voice assigned to this day and age, Dr. Sheard travels the world preaching and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ! With power, grace, and assurance, she delivers a message of hope to the hopeless – a message of peace where there is confusion, a message of love where there is hate, and she introduces Jesus Christ to those that don’t know Him. She takes pride in being a vessel used by God almighty and takes her assignment serious- ly to ensure that she is a living, breathing example of Psalm 19:14 which reads “Let the words of my mouth, and the medi- tation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.”


As a multi-genre recording artist and instrumentalist, Damien Sneed is a pianist, vocalist, organist, composer, conductor, arranger, producer, and arts educator whose work spans multiple genres. He has worked with opera, classical, jazz, pop, R&B, and gospel legends, including the late Aretha Franklin and Jessye Norman, which he is featured on Norman’sfinal recording, Bound For The Promised Land on Albany Records. He also worked with Wynton Marsalis, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Ashford & Simpson, J’Nai Bridges, Lawrence Brownlee, and many others. Sneed has served as music director for Grammy Award-winning gospel artists The Clark Sisters, Richard Smallwood, Donnie McClurkin, Hezekiah Walker, Marvin Sapp, Karen Clark Sheard, Dorinda Clark-Cole, and Kim Burrell, among others.

Sneed’s most recent studio recording is Damien Sneed: Unplugged, an all- gospel collection of soulful and inspirational songs, recorded in a spare studio setting with Sneed on piano and vocals alongside several noted vocalists, including Chenee Campbell, Linny Smith, Tiffany Stevenson, and Matia Washington. In January 2020, Sneed released his debut classical album, Classically Harlem and We Shall Overcome Deluxe on his boutique label, LeChateau Earl Records, which was established in 2009 to reflect his varied musical interests. Previous recordings also include Jazz In Manhattan (September 2019); The Three Sides of Damien

Sneed: Classical, Jazz and Sanctified Soul (July 2018); Broken To Minister: The Deluxe Edition (March 2015); Spiritual Sketches (June 2013); and Introspections LIVE (January 2010). Sneed is a 2020 Dove Award winner for his work as a featured producer and writer on The Clark Sisters’ project, The Return, released on March 13, 2020.

For more information on Damien Sneed and LeChateau Earl Records, go towww.damiensneed.com and www.lechateauearl.com.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer, activist, documentarian and an Award winning filmmaker and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Lia is also the host and Executive Producer of BACKSTAGE PASS WITH LIA CHANG, an Arts and Entertainment and Lifestyle program that airs on Sundays at 6:30pm on FIOS 34, RCN 83, Spectrum 56/1996 and MNN2.

Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. Her short film, When the World Was Young garnered a 2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2023 Lia Chang Multimedia, unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang, unless otherwise indicated. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at backstagepasswithliachang@gmail.com.
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