One of the nation’s most popular traditional gospel choirs will arrive in Indianapolis this weekend.
The Charles Fold Singers will perform April 24 for a special musical tribute to the late Rev. James Cleveland at 6 p.m. at New Haven Missionary Baptist Church, 3418 Schofield Ave.
The event will also feature the Indianapolis Metro Chapter Choir.
“We’re looking forward to returning to Indianapolis,” said Ron Logan, a vocalist and original choir director of The Charles Fold Singers. “There are a lot of people there who truly love the Lord and we always receive a warm reception.”
Musician and songwriter Charles Fold formed the Cincinnati-based Charles Fold Singers during the early 1970s, and the group soon became known for classics it made with Cleveland, including “This Too Will Pass,” “Thank You Lord for One More Day” and “Jesus Is the Best Thing (That Ever Happened to Me).”
Between 1975 and 1978, Charles Fold and his choir recorded three now legendary albums with Cleveland, one of the most prominent figures in gospel music history and founder of the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA).
“Some people saw him as a superstar, but Rev. Cleveland was very down to earth,” Logan said, describing what it was like to work with the iconic vocalist, songwriter and producer. “Whenever he came to Cincinnati, he chose to stay with Fold instead of the hotel. They would invite the group over and Rev. Cleveland would actually cook sometimes. So it was more like a family atmosphere.”
The Charles Fold Singers received four Grammy Award nominations over the years and won in 1981 in the category of best traditional soul gospel album for “Lord, Let Me Be An Instrument.” The group released 14 albums and continued to record into the 1990s, releasing its most recent project in 1997.
The group became known for its powerful delivery of songs and energy, as well as its generosity, refusing to take offerings from small, struggling churches where it performed.
Fold, who was also an executive in the GMWA, died in April, 2006 at age 63, but his singers are dedicated to keeping the group going for future generations to enjoy.
“We wanted to keep his legacy alive,” Logan said. “Far too often when a person dies their legacy dies with them. We didn’t want that to happen to his music.”
Logan is confident that the music The Charles Fold Singers have been making for 37 years will stand the test of time.
“What helps in our appearances today is the fact that musicians have more room to improvise in gospel music now,” he said. “But as long as the message is about God, music has a chance to create an atmosphere young and old can enjoy.”
For more information call (317) 442-5396.