Harlem Gospel Choir was founded by Allen Bailey who got the idea for the choir while attending a celebratory lunch in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. on January 15, 1986, at the Cotton Club in Harlem. He had noticed the great number of tourists lining up outside the many Harlem Churches to hear and see the church gospel choirs. Allen thought it might be a good idea to take the Harlem Church experience to the places where the tourists lived. And so Harlem Gospel Choir was born.
Allen Bailey has worked in the entertainment industry for over 50 years. He began his career in Harlem, when at the age of 13 he began to travel with Frankie Lyman and The Teenagers. Recognizing his organizational strengths and people personality, Frankie told him to "advance the tours and collect the money."
Allen was an entertainment booker while studying at Ohio State and was one of the first people to book Aretha Franklin for a college date. Don King appointed Allen entertainment coordinator for Rumble in the Jungle, the heavy-weight title fight between Mohammed Ali & George Foreman in Zaire. Allen has also acted as promotional director & advance man for major recording artists & film stars, including Lionel Richie & the Commodores, Prince, Michael Jackson, Mr. T, & Isaac Hayes.
Allen has extensive experience in combining talent management, theatrical production & fund raising. He assisted the east coast production of We are the World in 1985, & worked in a similar capacity for USA for Africa in 1986. Allen has been actively engaged in fund raising efforts for the Leukemia Society, the Cancer Foundation, & the United Negro College Fund. He was chairman for the Martin Luther King Holiday Campaign & it was through this work that the Harlem Gospel Choir was born.
Always active in the Harlem Community, Allen co-ordinated Harlem's entertainment for the Nelson Mandela celebration at Yankee Stadium, & co-directed the Harlem Jazz Festival, the largest jazz festival in the world. Until recently Allen toured full-time with Harlem Gospel Choir as the Choir's front-man & MC. Currently Allen is on stage with the Choir every Sunday at BB King Blues Club in New York City.