Ann Ward , center with the shakeree. Left Rita Warford, Shanta Nururallah and Maia

 Ann Ward , center with the shakeree; left are Rita Warford and Shanta Nururallah with Maia on the right at The Women of the AACM Concert held at DuSable Museum celebrating the AACM’s  50th Anniversary May 2015

“I attribute my experiences in music and the arts to the wonderful people who have shared their knowledge, time talent and support with me over the years. With God and my special Music Family I have been blessed to sustain myself as a viable performer, educator and artist.” ~ Anne Ward

Chicago’s world of creative expression has lost a spirit who brought us a lot of joyful noise. That is if you understand that music is simply organized sound. Noise to some while beautifully poised notes written by a composer who heard it her way. No wonder she gained much respect for the compositions she wrote and shared with the world. Like many of the African America persuasion Anne was no stranger to the ‘church’ where so many musicians of great contribution began their musical journeys.

Ann Ward continued to develop her musical skills through several vehicles including the church, theater, jazz vocal piano and music education. She excelled as an acclaimed composer, vocalist, pianist and an African percussionist.

Her association with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians can be considered an interesting evolution when you consider that she began her music performance career as a concert pianist at the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University.

Upon graduating from Kentucky State University with a degree in music composition Ann began performing with the Ken Chaney Experience with whom she really developed her jazz chops.

Last year before she performed at the DuSable, ‘Cutting Edge Spirit Music: The Women of the AACM, “As a musician,” she said, “Your goal is to play the music that you write or hear so you do that how you can. For me it was through various art forms from the club, to the theatre, to classroom, to the concert hall.”

That day she played a leadership significant role in the improvisational concert that included, Coco Elysses, Maia, Shanta Nurullah, Sherry Scott and Rita Warford in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the AACM. She was as she amongst heavy hitters,  celebrated musicians and composers for which the AACM is known. Any follower of the AACM knows that it was a company of men with the exception early on of a few, Amina Claudine Meyers, Rita Warford and Iqua Colson who opened the doors for the women who followed.

Ann was quick to set her mark and was an advocate for music and teaching was very much a part of her mission and became a major player in the AACM School of music for years. where she volunteered as the Director of the AACM School of Music on the campus of Chicago State University. She also served as coordinator of the Arts and Humanities Program for the Betty Shabazz International Charter Schools. It was obvious that her love for music was matched with her love for teaching because you could see the special connection that transpired when she was with the kids.

She has appeared in productions with Kuumba, ETA, Chocolate Chip, Steppenwolf, North Light and the Chicago Theater Company as pianist and music director. She continued to perform with the AACM Great Black Music Ensemble including Dee Alexander, Douglas Ewart, George Lewis, Nicole Mitchell, Mwata Bowden, Ed Wilkerson and many noted musicians. In addition to AACM, as a composer Ann showcased her skills as one of the Six Degrees; an all female composers collective that presents new music in concert bi-annually.

July 18, 2016, Anne succumbed to an unexpected heart attack at age 67, in her South Side home. She was not alone according to family. She  will be missed.

A memorial — ‘Mama Ann Forever, The Celebration’, will take place at Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church of Christ, located at 100 S. Martin  Luther King Drive , Sunday August 20 at 10 am.

Ann Ward’s complex compositions will be performed

A Jam/Reception following  will take place at Betty Shabazz Independent Charter School, at 7823 S. Ellis



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