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She was inspired by legendary singers such as MAHALIA JACKSON, CLARA WARD, the CARAVANS, the STAPLE SINGERS, R.H. HARRIS of the SOUL STIRRERS, tonamejust a few. In 1968 she migrated to Chicago where she continued her education by enrolling at Chicago State University. Her love for music andher exposure to gospel singing resulted in her sharing the stage one night with the MIGHTY CLOUDS OF JOY, the FANTASTIC VIOLINAIRES, the PILGRIMJUBILEES, and the HIGHWAY Q.C's. Because of her oustanding performance, she was asked by the GOSPEL QUEENS (an all female gospel group) tojointheir group. She travelled with them throughout the USA and recorded her first single "God Can Do Anything" in 1972.
MARGUERITE GATLING met and married LAFAYETTE GATLING Sr. who is lead singer for the famed quartet "The CHRISTLAND SINGERS".
Since their inception, the INSPIRATIONAL CHARMS have appeared on numerous radio and TV shows, sharing the stage with gospel greats such as SHIRLEYCAESAR, the ORIGINAL SOUL STIRRERS, the DIXIE HUMMINGBIRDS, the MIGHTY CLOUDS OF JOY, DOROTHY NORWOOD, the CANTON SPIRITUALS, the JACKSONSOUTHERNAIRES, the CHRISTLAND SINGERS, the legendary ARGO SINGERS with LORENZA BROWN-PORTER, and many others. They were also invited toperformon such stages as The American Gospel Quartet Convention, The Chicago Gospel Fest, Singsation, Testify (two famous TV shows), and gavenumerous concerts in churches and festivals throughout their home country.
The group received the "Best Female Quartet Award" from AARC in 1999, and was nominated again for the year 2002.
In 1994, the INSPIRATIONAL CHARMS released a CD entitled "Praise Him Anyway". Another one "The Inspirational Charms Live" waspublished in 1997. Their last recording, "Tribute", featuring Marguerite Gatling, appeared in 2002.
Along with MARGUERITE GATLING the current members include DEBBIE McCLENNON, who joined in 1992. A remarkable lead singer, she also hosts her owntelevision show entitled "Gospel Jubilee", in Memphis, Tennessee. HELEN WILKS, an experienced lead and background tenor singer became amember in 1995. ISAIAHRETTA RILEY and YOLANDA BROWN were invited to be part of the group in 2002. ISAIAHRETTA RILEY was born into a family ofsingers. As a child, she participated in choirs, music competitions, and musical plays, of which she received n umerous awards as best soloist. Sheis also choir director for the young adult choir in her church. YOLANDA BROWN also came from a family of gifted singers and ministers. A formal member of the GOSPEL QUEENS she later founded the INSPIRATIONAL BELLS OF GLORY. She has been a pastor at her church for some twenty years. A talentedpianist is also featured in the group.
The INSPIRATIONAL CHARMS first appearance in Europe took place in March 2003, at the occasion of the CULLY JAZZ FESTIVAL. In August of the same year,they performed at the COSTA BRAVA FESTIVAL and at JAZZ IN MARCIAC, where they shared the bill with the legendary MIGHTY CLOUDS OF JOY. They wereback on our continent in November/December for a successful tour of twenty-two concerts (France, Switzerland, and Monaco).
The INSPIRATIONAL CHARMS sing with all the fervor and passion you would expect from a Chicago group. Their style shows great finesse and expresses anintensity more commonly to be found in their elders. Ever since the arrival of the late Thomas A. Dorsay, Chicago has truly become the GospelMecca.Some of its most famous representatives regularly come to Europe to prove it to us. The INSPIRATIONAL CHARMS belong to this "purestof the pure" category. An exceptional group, definitely riot to be missed!