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Dr. Mattie Moss-Clark (March 26, 1925 - September 22, 1994) was an American gospel choir director and the mother of The Clark Sisters, a world-renowned gospel vocal group. Clark is credited for creating the three-part harmony (separating vocal parts into soprano, alto and tenor), a technique which is prevalent among gospel choirs today. Early life: Mattie Juliet Moss was born the seventh of nine children to ministers Fred and Mattie J. (née Walker) Moss in Selma, Alabama. Moss began playing piano at six. By twelve, she had become the musician for her mother's services at the Holiness Temple Church of Christ in Prayer and traveled with her mother to play at mission services, a trend she passed on to daughter Twinkie. After high school, she attended Selma University and received training in classical music and choral singing. Moss moved to Detroit in her early twenties to be with her sister Sybil Burke and became a member of Greater Love Tabernacle Church of God in Christ. There, under the leadership of Bishop W. Rimson, she was baptized in the Holy Ghost and subsequently became the Minister of Music. She served a historic tenure as Minister of Music for both Southwest Michigan Jurisdiction and Bailey Temple Church of God in Christ, under Bishop John Seth Bailey. Soon she was in demand to train choirs at churches throughout the brotherhood of COGIC. Career: In 1958, she recorded "Going to Heaven to Meet the King", with the Southwest Michigan State Choir, becoming the first person to commit the sounds of a choir to record. She was also the first person to separate vocal parts into soprano, alto and tenor. She received three gold albums with the Southwest Michigan State Choir, and went on to write and arrange hundreds of songs and recorded over 50 albums. She directed Cadillac Motor Company's Christmas choir for 11 years and also conducted community-wide mass choirs for the prestigious NAACP Freedom Fund Dinners. In 1979, she founded the Clark Conservatory of Music in Detroit, which established itself as one of the most prestigious schools of its kind in the country. In 1981, Trinity College in Pennsylvania conferred upon her one of their highest honors, the degree of Doctor of Humanities. After the death of Bishop Bailey in 1985, she continued as State Minister of Music for Southwest Michigan Jurisdiction #1, attending Greater Mitchell Church of God in Christ, under Bishop J.H. Sheard. She was also one of the editors and contributors to the hymnal published by the Church of God in Christ entitled, Yes, Lord. When the late Bishop J.O. Patterson appointed her the International President of the Music Department in 1968, she worked to instill within musicians and choirs a responsibility to Christ as well as capability for Christ. Throughout her efforts, young people especially received her and many were saved, and uplifted by her music and message. She completely revolutionized the music departments. She gave definition to the role of State Minister of Music, traveled year-round to every state in the country conducting workshops, rehearsals and musicals to prepare choirs for service on the National Church level and organized the structure of the National Music Convention of the Church of God in Christ. Dr. Clark introduced the workshop and seminar concept to the convention, and, along with her staff, structured classes for the convention and created "A Star Is Born", the program where new talent was introduced before thousands. Despite failing health, Dr. Clark continued to record music into the last year of her life before succumbing to complications from diabetes on September 25, 1994 in Southfield, Michigan at the age of 69. Personal life: Dr. Clark married twice. With her first husband, Mr. Cullum, Clark mothered two children, Leo and Jacqueline. After their divorce, she married Elder Elbert Clark and had four children, Denise, Elbernita "Twinkie", Dorinda and Karen. The Clarks divorced in 1973. Dr. Clark mentored her daughters, having them sing as part of her and their father's church's choir. In 1973, shortly after divorcing Elbert Clark, Dr. Clark sparked the forming of The Clark Sisters. After nearly ten years, Dr. Clark passed all responsibility of the group to daughter Twinkie, who became the leader of the group. Though she became less active in her daughters' career, she remained frequently supportive, even attending and performing with her daughters at the 1983 Grammy Awards.

Source: Wikipedia

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