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Ann Elizabeth Ward June 6, 1949

July 18, 2016


Order of Celebration SATURDAY, AUGUST 20TH, 2016 | 10:00 AM Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church of Christ 4100 S. Martin Luther King Dr. Chicago, IL 60653

Processional Village Libation

Baba Kwame Cobb

Musical Selection

AACM Large Ensemble

Musical Prayer

Maggie Brown

Old Testament Reading

Rev. Kalvin Fortenberry

Musical Selection

6Degrees Composers

New Testament Reading

Rev. Robert Cristobal

Minister of St. George & St. Mathias Episcopal Church

Musical Selection

Women of AACM

Family Tribute

Family Ensemble

Student Tribute

Donia Dance & Azania Drum of Betty Shabazz Academy


Rev. Karen Brewer

Musical Selection

AACM Vocal Ensemble


Sankara Harouna

Recessional Village RECEPTION TO IMMEDIATELY FOLLOW AT Betty Shabazz Academy 7823 S. Ellis Ave | Chicago, IL 60619 Bring An Instrument! Be Ready to Jam!

Obituary Ann Elizabeth Ward was born June 6, 1949 to the late Thelma Farnandis and Irving M. Ward Sr. She grew up in the Woodlawn area of Chicago, attending McCosh Elementary and Englewood High schools. As a child she was a member of the Congregational Church of Park Manor. She is currently a member, choir director and organist for St. George St. Mathias Episcopal Church of Chicago. As a child Ann had many interests but she especially loved music, books and horses. Those interests followed her into adult hood - you could always find her reading books or taking horse riding lessons. She even had a horse of her own at one time. But music was her real passion. Ann began studying music and playing the piano at the age of four. She continued to study piano at Roosevelt University. Her musical talents were quickly noticed at Englewood High School where she sang with and accompanied several of the choirs under the direction of Irving Bunton, Olivia Sheppard and George Williams. She was well known at Englewood for her participation in most of the music assemblies and festivals. It was her high school teacher Olivia Sheppard, an alumnus of Kentucky State University (KSU), who guided Ann to KSU for an audition with the choir director Dr. Carl Smith. She was awarded a 4 year scholarship in piano and spent those 4 years a part of the concert choir at Kentucky State. She credits Dr. George Tillus - the head of the Music Department, an outstanding composer and scholar of contemporary music - with opening up the world of contemporary music for her. It was her 4 years at KSU that motivated Ann to become a musician and educator. It was also at KSU that Ann fostered her need to know more about her heritage and lineage. She began to realize the critical need of our people, especially children, to fully understand our legacy in America and the undeniable connection to our African roots. Ann has continued her connection to KSU by encouraging several of her students to attend KSU, organizing concerts in Chicago for the KSU concert choir and working with the Chicago Alumni Chapter.

Once done with college, Ann struggled with what she wanted to do with music - teach or perform. She chose to teach and has worked with children through several organizations such as Youth Guidance, Illinois Art Council, and Urban Gateways. From 1998 until now Mama Ann, as she is known, has been the Coordinator of the Arts and Humanities program at Betty Shabazz International Charter School where she was responsible for all cultural and academic fine arts programming for all three campuses including African Centered Enrichment. Artistic teacher best described Ann’s approach to teaching. Her creative lessons and unorthodox classroom presentations have motivated students to want to find more of themselves in their lessons and have sparked interest from other educators in her tactics. Ann as a music educator has conducted and been invited to sit on forums. panels and develop music curriculums that call for the inclusion of diversity in approach to music instruction. She has been the Dean Emeritus of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) over 20 years, serving as administrator, theory, piano and vocal teacher. Not only was Ann a music educator but her love for the performance of music helped her become widely know throughout the Chicagoland area as an acclaimed composer, vocalist, pianist and African percussionist. Ann as been a performing member of numerous groups: Samna, 6degrees, Women of AACM, Women in Jazz, The Ken Chaney Experience, and Gemini just to name a few. As an active member of AACM, Ann performed as a member of the Great Black Music Ensemble in Chicago and internationally. Composing was an integral part of her musical career. Ann has written for a variety of vocal and instrumental ensembles in numerous different genres. She has co-written lyrics for two musicals Sayrah and Kingdom of Gold. She has written selections for choral ensembles including The Lord’s Prayer, The Magnificent Song of Mary, and Holy is His Name. Religion and spirituality were strong parts of Ann’s life. She was the minister of music at Holy Cross Episcopal Church and Chatham Bethlehem Presbyterian Church. She was most recently a member, the choir director and organist for St. George St. Mathias Episcopal Church of Chicago. Family meant a lot to Ann, or T-Ann as her niece Imani affectionately named her. On any sunny Sunday afternoon, you could find her on Uncle Ben’s deck, at her father’s house getting a lesson on the family history, or listening to the latest music sent to her by her beloved son Benjamin Chase. In the last 3 years, she recruited her niece Imani to teach African dance at Betty Shabazz Academy in her Super Arts Project after school program. Ann leaves to cherish her memory her proud father, Irving M. Ward Sr., loving son, Benjamin Chase Ford, sister, Susan Ward, niece, Imani Amos, nephew, Matthew Ward (son of the late Irving Ward Jr.), sister in law, Winsome Ward, Uncle Benjamin Farnandis and his wife Ronna Farnandis, Aunt Jacqueline Rideau, and numerous other relatives and friends.

“A great voice has been stilled but it will reverberate far, far into time to come!” - Irving Ward Sr.

May you have all life, all power, all health, all prosperity, all stability, and all good things, like the sun forever (an exceprt of the Betty Shabazz Charter School Network’s Closing Ritual)

Acknowledgments The family of Ann would like to say Asante Sana, which means thank you in Kiswahili, for everyone who sent beautiful floral arrangements, food and monetary, donations, called us with a kind word, sent a card or was just there to help with anything that needed to be done. The sudden loss of Mama Ann was made a little easier with the love and support we received from our friends and family. Your expressions of sympathy are greatly appreciated and will never be forgotten. Mama Ann’s legacy lives on through us. As her father would say, “Don’t drop the baton.”

The Family



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Memorial Contributions May Be Made To: BENJAMIN FORD

1138 W. 112th St, Chicago, IL 60643 Send Any Questions to Designed by Mama Ann’s niece, Imani

Mama Ann Ward's Celebration  

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