RIP: Della Reese, Sang with Mahalia Jackson, the Meditation Singers

Della Reese (far right) with Brown’s Inspirational Singers, 1950. From left, Kenneth Woods Jr., Milan Brown, Beatrice Brown, Raymond Rasberry. Photo Credit: Kenneth Woods Jr.

By Bob Marovich

Although better known as a television actor and pop singer, Della Reese made her early foray into professional music as a gospel singer. As a teenager, she worked with Mahalia Jackson and, later, with Brown’s Inspirational Singers (Indianapolis) and the Meditation Singers (Detroit).

Maureen O’Donnell’s obituary in the Chicago Sun-Times offers a look at the decades-spanning career of Della Reese. Read it here: Della Reese.

The Journal of Gospel Music salutes the late Della Reese with this clip of her singing “Lonelyville” in the 1958 film, Let’s Rock.

About Bob Marovich

Bob Marovich is a gospel music historian, author, and radio host. Founder of Journal of Gospel Music blog (formally The Black Gospel Blog) and producer of the Gospel Memories Radio Show.

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