Evangelist Maggie Ingram makes transition

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

GMF is sad to report that Evangelist Maggie Ingram, likely the oldest active female singer on the gospel quartet circuit, has passed from labor to reward, less than two weeks shy of her 85th birthday (July 4).  Radio announcer Grace Rhodes of Rhodes Productions passed along the news earlier this evening (Tuesday, June 23). 

Evangelist Ingram was the matriarch and lead singer of The Ingramettes, a group that initially consisted of her five children John, Lucious, Tommie, Almeta, and Christine, whom she taught to harmonize.  Her husband and the children’s father, Thomas Jefferson Ingram, was a young preacher and their musical gifts were a help to his ministry. 

Among Maggie Ingram and the Ingramettes’ classic recordings are “Family Prayer,” “Like A Ship,” “Miami Riot,” and “The Richmond Flood.”  The group’s current release, Maggie Ingram and the Ingramettes: Live in Richmond, was recorded in 2011 and was billed as their final “live” recording.

Despite humble beginnings and no formal musical training, Evangelist Ingram emerged as one of the most beloved female quartet singers along the East Coast with multiple performances at The Kennedy Center, The Richmond Folk Festival, and regular ministry outreach to incarcerated individuals and their families.  And despite having earned the equivalent of a third grade education, she served as guest lecturer along with her daughter Almeta at the University of Virginia in 2010; was awarded the honorary Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from Virginia Triumphant College and Seminary in 2011; and conducted a master class along with the Ingramettes at The College of William and Mary in 2013.

Please join GMF in lifting Evangelist Ingram’s family, friends, the Ingramettes, and the gospel quartet community in prayer.  You may visit Wilson & Associates’ Funeral Service, Inc. for homegoing information.

Pre-Mother’s Day Celebration Honoring Evangelist Maggie Ingram – May 10

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Maggie Ingram & The Ingramettes conduct master class at William & Mary

Maggie Ingram and the Ingramettes
GMF File Photo

Anyone who has studied gospel music as an art form knows that it is more than claps, stomps, and shouts. Gospel music is curriculum; for it is woven into the tapestry of American culture. 

I am excited that trailblazers like Maggie Ingram and the Ingramettes are recognized for their contributions to the genre and called upon by academicians to educate others about how their lived experiences are situated in the context of the music they’ve written and performed for more than half a century.

See Erin Zagursky’s feature: Music class gets a visit from gospel music ‘national treasure’


GMF Related Stories

Maggie Ingram & the Ingramettes’ Final “Live” CD Recording – Nov. 5

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An appreciation celebration and final “live” CD recording for Maggie Ingram and the Ingramettes is set for November 5th.  Evangelist Ingram is hailed as Virginia’s “Queen of Gospel.”  Earlier this month, she was awarded the Honorary Doctorate of Music degree from a Richmond theological seminary.
Admission to the live recording is free.

Editor’s Note:  According to a bio provided to us by Evangelist Ingram’s daughter Almeta in May 2014, the Honorary Doctorate of Musical Arts degree was conferred by Virginia Triumphant College & Seminary.

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“Dr. Maggie Ingram is in the building!”
Sizzlin’ This Week (6/27/11) – “Like A Ship”

"Dr. Maggie Ingram is in the building!"

Today has been a memorable one for Evangelist Maggie Ingram.  This morning, a Richmond, VA seminary conferred upon the 81 year-old down-home singer the Honorary Doctorate of Music degree.  Tonight, the silver-haired fireball and her blazing group, the Ingramettes, added Holy Ghost fuel to the fire that was burning at White Rock Baptist Church’s homecoming kickoff service in Oxford, NC.
The high-energy quartet showstoppers were not only in the house, but right at home, keeping the capacity crowd and host pastor Steven Hargrove on their feet with a mix of old and new numbers, including “When Jesus Comes,” “Like A Ship,” “Family Prayer,” and “Standing on the Promises.”


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Sizzlin’ This Week (6/27/11) – “Like A Ship”

Sizzlin’ This Week (6/27/11) – “Like A Ship”

“Like A Ship”
Maggie Ingram & The Ingramettes
From the vinyl LP, The Miami Riot (1987)
AIR Records

I grew up listening to and enjoying Maggie Ingram and the Ingramettes.  So, I guess it sounds just a little bit odd to say that I attended my first Maggie Ingram concert by accident; but I did.

Yep, it was one summer about nine years ago, and our men’s choir had been invited to a musical at Rogers Grove Church International in Durham.  That afternoon, the choir and I arrived to find that we were among many groups and choirs also scheduled to perform.  I must confess that I was not at all interested in spending my entire Sunday evening at church, and after our choir sang, I was ready to leave.  Because I felt badly about wanting to bounce immediately afterward though, I stayed a little longer in support of the other singers and musicians.

After an eternity, which was really only a few groups later, I decided it was time to go.  (There’s only so much “Did’ya, did’ya, did’ya get that power?!” I can take at these quartet-styled musicals.)  With one hand on my gig bag and the other on my head, I scurried down the aisle.  Just as I got to the exit, I heard, “Maggie Ingram and the I-i-i-i-ngra-a-a-m-ettes” roar from the emcee’s mouth.  I stopped in my tracks, spun around and said, “Wha-?!  Maggie Ingram is here?!  Not ‘Richmond, Virginia Flood’ Maggie Ingram?!”

Yes, “Richmond, Virginia Flood” Maggie Ingram.  I couldn’t get back to my original seat, up front, fast enough; I scurried back up the aisle as quickly as I had scurried down seconds earlier.  This was a lady whose songs–“Like A Ship,” and her older cuts “When Jesus Comes,” and “Got A Mind to Serve the Lord”–blared nearly every Sunday morning on my Smurf novelty transistor radio.

Well let me tell you, despite disobedient mics and a half-filled sanctuary, the statuesque COGIC evangelist and her family wrecked the house–even treating the congregation to a portion of “Richmond, Virginia Flood,” climaxed by the hard-driving “Nobody’s Fault But Mine.”

Maggie Ingram and the Ingramettes are still going strong after more than five decades (even longer for the GMWA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient herself)My pick this week is “Like A Ship” from the group’s most successful album, The Miami Riot, which reached #33 on the Billboard gospel music chart in 1988.