Freada Wallace

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Freada Wallace

Freada Wallace, also known as Big Freada (born in Longview, Texas) was a singer and pianist.

Wallace began studying music while under quarantine for diptheria at age six. She played in her school bands and majored in music at Western Kentucky University. She was working as a church secretary in Shreveport, Louisiana when she got her big break in 1961, hosting a weekly talent show on KTBS-TV. From there she moved to New Orleans and became a regular entertainer at Pat O'Brien's in the Vieux Carre. When she came to Birmingham for residency at Homewood's Domino Lounge she brought her close friend Sidney Ford with her.

In 1986 Wallace, who suffered from diabetes, became partially disabled. A series of benefits, staged by the Birmingham Entertainers Charity Fund, were held to pay for a wheelchair for her. John Andrews, chair of the fund's medical benefits committee, was found guilty of theft for stealing the funds set aside to benefit Wallace.

Cartoon depiction of Freada Wallace

During the summers Wallace performed at Asheville, North Carolina's Great Smokies Hilton and eventually moved there full-time. She founded a "Night People's Church" at Grace Episcopal Church and was hired as a minister of music at the Faith Tabernacle. She recorded a "World's Fair '82" album and another gospel album, "Ivory Palaces", after which she was invited to perform on several Christian television programs. She and her husband, John Snowden, opened Big Freada's Rib Room in Asheville, where she continued to make frequent appearances on stage.