Born October 11, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, NY, vocalist Gloria DeNard began her musical studies with her mother at age 3. She is an alumna of the Juilliard School, where she majored in voice and piano minor. Though she concentrated on European Classical Music, her love of Jazz evolved, when she understood that Jazz is the classical voice of America.
During her vast career, Gloria sang commercial jingles; wrote and performed for radio and television; and traveled to Asia, Europe, the Caribbean and throughout the U.S.A., including Alaska and Hawaii. She performed at popular clubs in New York and on Broadway. Currently, she continues to perform in church and in concert as a soloist. She presents jazz and classical concerts and musical theatre in New York and New Jersey. Her poetry is published by Random House and Prentice-Hall in compilations. She continues to perform and has recorded 3 CDs: All Mine for You includes all of her own compositions, Soul Cool and "Elegantly Ellington". Two volumes of poetry written by members of a Manna House Poetry Workshops were published by Random House and Prentice Hall.
DeNard is a member of United Service Organization for the Arts, ASCAP, Council on the Economic Development and Empowerment of Black People, Concerned Citizens for the Arts, National Jazz Service Organization, International Women of Jazz, Neighborhood Based Alliance and Coalition of Community Schools of the Arts. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her ceaseless dedication to her community and the arts. She received the New York City Council Citation for Community Service and the Community Arts Service Award of the 23rd Precinct, plus proclamations from Congressmen, Senators and Governors.
"Music is manna . . . spiritual food, flowing in a wilderness , bringing new hope."
Determined to improve the quality of life through music, in 1967, DeNard established Manna House Workshops that began as a monthly coffee house in the basement of Ascension Church in East Harlem. Music became the major focus and the workshops were moved to a storefront, where economically disadvantaged neighbors could be served. Her staff consists of two administrators and fourteen instructors.
In 1970, with funding from Riverside Church and Chemical Bank, DeNard purchased the building at 338 E 106th Street, in Manhattan and Manna House had a permanent home. The center is a beacon of light in a blighted neighborhood, where students learn the creative power within through music education and concert presentations in East Harlem and the greater New York area. For three generations, the school has prepared hundreds of children for Middle School at Juilliard and for Jazz at Lincoln Center. The school has prepared many students for entry into LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts, the Juilliard Music Advancement Program and the Middle School for Jazz at Lincoln Center.
In 1980, Gloria initiated Music for Entertainment Education and Enlightenment (MEEE), a concert series featuring professional minority musicians and composers. She was the moving force behind the construction of the Manna Mini Theatre with a 50-seat capacity. She produces a monthly cable TV show, The Best Kept Secret on Manhattan Neighborhood Network Channel 56, every first Sunday at 3 p.m., featuring emerging and seasoned artists.
Music mends minds and opens the window to the soul, so that all can see that we can be one creative, loving family. -- Gloria DeNard
DeNard continues to perform and record, along with being an instructor and artistic director. She has two children, Dale Sims and drummer Kenwood Dennard. Her staff consists of two administrators and eight instructors. Gloria's recording, All Mine For You includes jazz standards and her own composition Come Feel The Things You Cannot Touch that expresses her philosophy that "If we believe, we can conceivably make dreams come true. We can create something fine and great, me and you. This life together can mean so much, so come fee the things, those precious things you cannot touch."
Gloria DeNard performs with pianist Bertha Hope