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Church isn't just a place, it's a feeling, and that emotion and sound is at the heart of soul music. Reaching far beyond pews and pulpits, "the unique sound of America itself-its cultural identity-is indelibly marked by gospel." So writes Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison in the liner notes to CHURCH: Songs Of Soul & Inspiration (UTV Records), released May 6, 2003.

A new collection of favorite R&B, pop, classical and gospel songs produced with gospel choir arrangements and sung by some of the leading ladies of music, CHURCH: Songs Of Soul & Inspiration pays tribute to where they all began--church. Also featured is an original spoken word composition by esteemed poet Dr. Maya Angelou. The two-disc set embraces one CD of audio tracks plus a CD-ROM with performance footage and artist interviews comprising a "making of" feature.
The R&B and pop divas starring on CHURCH are:

Patti LaBellePatti LaBelle with "Way Up There," an original heard earlier this year across the country when she sang it at a national memorial service for the Columbia shuttle victims.

Chaka Khan reprising her own "Love Me Still,"

Jennifer Holliday on "The Wonder Of You," an Elvis hit,

En Vogue with the Bee Gees' #1 "How Deep Is Your Love,"

Stephanie Mills covering the Diana Ross classic "Reach Out And Touch (Somebody's Hand)"

Patti Austin on "You Gotta Be," a '90s hit for Des'ree,

Dionne Warwick with the Burt Bacharach-Hal David standard "What The World Needs Now (Is Love Sweet Love),"

Ann Nesby, the former Sounds Of Blackness lead singer, singing Leon Russell's "A Song For You."
Jennifer Holliday

Also headlining are gospel great Shirley Caesar with the vintage "His Eye Is On The Sparrow," opera star (and co-executive producer) Denyce Graves with the classic "Ave Maria," jazz singer Nnenna Freelon with The Five Stairsteps hit "O-o-h Child," and The Fire Choir with Stevie Wonder's "As." CHURCH: Songs Of Soul & Inspiration was produced by platinum-selling songwriter/producer Tena Clark, who also penned "Way Up There."

As Morrison writes: "The little girls in choir robes and pigtails who sang on long ago Sunday mornings grew up to fill concert halls, opera houses, cathedrals and arenas with clarion voices that now enthrall millions. As they once again stand before the choir to sing, it is obvious that, with all its grace, Church claims ownership of their hearts of hearts."

Church: Songs of Soul & Inspiration is the first in a series of CDs that embrace the musical roots and role of Church in the lives of today's leading artists. It is a joint venture between UTV Records (a division of Universal Music Enterprises), Tena Clark's DMI Records and Denyce Grave's Carmen Productions.

Denyce GravesIn Association with Universal Music SaveOurSoul proudly presents 5 tracks of this special project for you to listen to. You will need Windows Media Player to be able to listen.

Shirley Ceasar - His Eye Is On Sparrow

Patti LaBelle - Way Up There

The Fire Choir - Way Up There

Denyce Graves - Ave Maria

Jennifer Holliday - The Wonder of You

Church - Songs of Soul and Inspiration
Church - Songs of Soul and Inspiration 1. It's Sacred: Church - Dr. Maya Angelou
2. The Wonder Of You - Jennifer Holliday
3. Way Up There - Patti Labelle
4. Reach Out And Touch (Somebody's Hand) - Stephanie Mills
5. How Deep Is Your Love - En Vogue
6. You Gotta Be - Patti Austin
7. His Eye Is On The Sparrow - Shirley Caesar
8. As - The Fire Choir
9. Love Me Still - Chaka Khan
10. Ave Maria - Denyce Graves
11. Ooh Child - Nnenna Freelon
12. What The World Needs Now Is Love - Dionne Warwick
13. A Song For You - Ann Nesby
14. Way Up There - The Fire Choir
15. Reprise - Dr. Maya Angelou
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