Ananais Montague and the Voices of Victory

Saturday, April 2nd 7:30 PM

The internationally renowned Voices of Victory Choir joins violin virtuoso Ezinma and gospel superstar Deah Love Harriott at Meadowlark's 20th Anniversary Gala.

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In 1978, when they were known as the Inspirational Choir, the Voices of Victory of the Salem Baptist Church of Omaha, Nebraska, made history when the Reverend James Cleveland recorded them for his James Cleveland Presents series. The resulting Savoy Records double album, I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired, featuring singer and musician Keith Pringle and choir director Doretha Wade-Wilkerson, was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1979. Curtis Burrell’s title track, with Cleveland and Pringle trading leads, has since become a perennial in the gospel song lexicon.

Delighted by the album’s overwhelming success, Cleveland and the Salem Inspirational Choir went on to record a couple more live, in-church albums for Savoy: Victory Shall Be Mine in 1980 (the title track was released as a single) and He’s Able the following year. At one point in 1981, I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired and Victory Shall Be Mine were on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart at the same time.

More than 20 years later the Voices of Victory Mass Choir returned to live recording under the leadership of senior pastor Maurice Watson and minister of music Jay Terrell. Less than a month after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, the choir recorded They That Wait.

Captured live at Salem Baptist, They That Wait features "I Can’t Forget" and "Unconditional Love," compositions written by celebrated gospel songwriter Pastor Rudolph Stanfield, who also plays keyboards on the album. "Jesus Saves," the Angelic Choir classic, is co-arranged by Stanfield, Terrell, and Todd Harrison. Terrell, who co-produced the album with Stanfield, wrote the majority of the album’s material.

The Williams Brothers—Melvin and Doug Williams and Henry Green—were the executive producers of They That Wait. They released it on their Blackberry Records imprint in 2001 and Malaco Music Group distributed it nationally.

Formed in 1951 as the Inspirational Choir, the Voices of Victory are longstanding participants in the Gospel Music Workshop of America and recipients of the Governor’s Art Award. They have shared the stage with gospel icons Richard Smallwood and Ricky Dillard, as well as country stars Trace Adkins and Lyle Lovett. A smaller segment of the choir travels locally and regionally to sing for special occasions. Meanwhile, the full ensemble, now under the direction of music minister Ananias “Markey” Montague, ministers on first and fourth Sundays at Salem Baptist.

Bio by Robert M. Marovich