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It was a musical celebration that honored the life of the late Inez Andrews and the music that she made famous and sang so well. The festive event was held Dec. 27 at her home church, Apostolic Church of God.

Musical legends from near and far stopped by to pay homage to the “High Priestess of Gospel” including Gospel Music According to Chicago, Dr. Charles G. Hayes and the Cosmopolitan Church of Prayer Choir, The Thompson Community Singers, Bishop Larry Trotter and Sweet Holy Spirit, Vashawn Mitchell, Dr. Janice White, Rev. Stanley Keeble, Elder Deandre Patterson, Leanne Faine, Angela Spivey, Anita Wilson, The Barrett Sisters and longtime members of the Caravans: Delores Washington and Dorothy Norwood.

Antoinette Gibbs rendered a touching performance, accompanied by her son, Richard Gibbs.

The funeral services on Friday was yet another celebration of Andrews’ life. Fellowship Baptist Church founder and former pastor Rev. Clay Evans, gospel recording artist Yolanda Adams, Rev. Jesse Jackson and longtime friend and gospel recording artist Rev. Shirley Caesar were among those who attended the service, also held at Apostolic.

“I gave Inez the title of ‘High Priestess of Gospel’ over 50 years ago,” said Caesar. “Jesus wanted a Christmas present so he came and got Inez.”

Caesar and the surviving members of the Caravans – Dorothy Norwood and Delores Washington – sang favorites at the moving homegoing service, including “Jesus is the Best Thing that Ever Happened To Me” and “Lord Keep Me Day By Day.”

Norwood and Andrews had been longtime friends. At the funeral, she reflected on their bond.

“She was a sweetheart,” said Norwood. “We were rehearsing at Albertina’s house, 7249 S. Calumet, and we had one good rehearsal. She (Inez) turned the house out and was knocking out lamps and everything. Albertina had just bought a new Road Master Buick. Me, Inez, Albertina, James Clevelend and Jonella Davis got in the car and rode to New York and did 26 shows at the Apollo. Inez started off with a bang!”

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