Donna Blackwood likes to say she is one-half of the dynamic duo, the other half being her husband, RW Blackwood of 52 years in April of 2017.
Donna was raised in Houston, Texas by her parents and had one brother but her family realized that at an early age she had a talent for singing. At the age of 3, her grandmother stood her on a piano stool in the adult Sunday School class and had her sing. Donna’s mother wanted her to be able to play the piano like her gifted grandmother but unfortunately Piano was not Donna’s gift but singing was. So after several years of piano Donna begin taking voice at the Houston Conservatory of Music as well as singing in the choir at school and church. Because her father was a pastor, she sang numerous solos, duets, trios, & quartets at churches all over the Houston area and at the age of 16 sang with the James Robison Crusades.
She won solo competitions through her teen years but at the age of 17 she was swept off of her feet by a young man who was traveling and singing with his cousins in a quartet at the Houston Music Hall, RW Blackwood, Jr. A little over a year later they became husband and wife.
After two years of marriage RW needed a tenor singer for his group and remembering that his mother-in-law had said Donna could sing, he asked her to fill in until he could hire someone. Thus
The Blackwood Singers formed in 1967 where Donna joined her husband traveling and singing all over America.
Donna has recorded on the Benson Heartwarming Impact label and has had several songs in the Gospel Charts through the years: “Through It All”, “He Was There All The Time”, “I Find No Fault in Him” “Put Your Hand in the Hand”, and several others as part of the Blackwood Singers group.
In the 1976, the group moved to Nashville where her husband signed the group to the Capitol recording label and had six Billboard Country Top 100 Charted Songs.
In the 1987, RW got a call from the Blackwood Brothers asking him to move back to Memphis and join the group. Donna semi-retired to raise their two children, Andrea and Robbie, while RW was working with the Blackwood Brothers.
In 1990, the couple moved to Branson, Missouri and reformed the Blackwood Singers, with their children who were now adults, and performed at the Campbell’s Ozark Country Jubilee and Shepherd of the Hills.
In the year 2000, RW and Donna moved to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee to join RW’s brother, Ron, and sing at the Louise Mandrell Theater. RW’s brother and his wife retired to Texas but Donna and RW remained in Pigeon Forge where they performed their Blackwood Morning Show at the Smoky Mountain Opry Theater owned by Fee Hedrick Family Entertainment Group.
In January of 2012, Donna was diagnosed with inoperable Colon Rectal Cancer and began chemo and radiation the day before her 65th birthday. Trying to perform everyday even if she could only sing one song, Donna continued her treatments until it became impossible and the doctors had told her “if she lived she would be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life wearing a colostomy”! Crying out to God the Scriptures she had posted all over her house, healing began and by late December the doctors declared her healed. It’s a story Donna shares everyday that will give someone hope.
Donna and her husband R W have once again made their home in Branson Missouri where you can see them performing at the Dutton Theater.
Donna shares her testimony of healing everyday at the theater and knows that God healed her to tell her story, to give people hope, to let them know that Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Remembering Jerry Kirksey Jerry Kirksey, Editor Emeritus of Singing News Magazine, passed away today at the age of 82. Mr. Kirksey had been in declining health for several years.Born in Panama City, Florida, on June 13, 1940, Jerry and his family returned to his parents’ hometown of Pensacola following World War II. It was during his junior year of high school that Jerry first began working in one of his greatest passions, radio. After his graduation as a part of the Class of 1958, Jerry moved back to Panama City to begin work with WTHR Radio.A return to Pensacola in March of 1960 set Jerry on the path that would ultimately defining his professional career. Jerry began working with The Florida Boys, as the quartet’s promotional director and office manager. This led to a working relationship with J.G. Whitfield. Jerry would work closely with Mr. Whitfield as the Southern Gospel music icon promoted concerts across the nation, and eventually launch what went on to become the largest and oldest Southern Gospel music publication, Singing News Magazine. Jerry served with Singing News Magazine from May 1969 until his retirement in 2010, encompassing a total of 492 issues. During his time at the magazine, Jerry created Southern Gospel music’s first National Radio Airplay Chart (1970) and the Singing News Fan Awards (1971).In addition to his work with Singing News, Jerry served on the board of directors of the original Gospel Music Association, and the board of the original Southern Gospel Music Association of Georgia. He was involved in organizing the Southern Gospel Music Guild and the modern-day Southern Gospel Music Association. He was actively involved in the building and development of the original SGMA Hall of Fame and Museum at Dollywood. Jerry was inducted into the SGMA Hall of Fame in 2011.Jerry married Carolyn Sue Rhodes on October 1, 1967. Sons Kenneth and Brett would eventually work with Jerry at Singing News, especially after the family moved to Boone, North Carolina, in 1987 following the sale of the publication to North Carolina businessman Maurice Templeton. Likewise, Carolyn was a fixture at many Southern Gospel concerts as she and Jerry represented Singing News across the nation. Carolyn passed away in July of 2015.Funeral arrangements are pending at this time. A complete tribute to Jerry will be found in the March 2023 issue of Singing News. ... See MoreSee Less
The Blackwoods of Branson extend condolences to the family of Lisa Marie Presley. Our prayers are for their peace and comfort during this time of difficulty and broken hearts. To Priscilla and Lisa Marie’s 3 daughters, may you be surrounded by God’s presence and His love!In deepest sympathy,RW and Donna Blackwood ... See MoreSee Less