Clara Edwards

Clara Edwards was born Clara Gerlich in Decoria Township, Blue Earth County, Minnesota. She received her education from the Mankato State Normal School and the Cosmopolitan School of Music in Chicago.[4] She married physician John Milton Edwards before finishing her degree, and the couple moved toVienna, where she continued musical studies and had a daughter. In Europe she prepared for a career as a singer, and gave concerts in both the United States and Europe before moving to New York City in 1914. Two years later her husband died, leaving her a single mother in New York city with no steady income.

Out of financial necessity, Edwards began her career as a composer and songwriter in the 1920s, joining the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) in 1925. She toured in Vaudeville at about the same time, and organized the Chautauqua Concert Company in 1934. She often collaborated with Jack Lawrence, but also wrote many of the lyrics to her own songs.

Edwards composed over 100 works and published over 60 songs. Several of her songs are sacred, and she wrote choral arrangements for some of them. She also composed music for solo piano, for children's marionette plays and animated films. Her songs have been recorded and issued on CD and used in film soundtracks and animations.

Her songs were "quickly taken up by publishers", and many famous singers performed them, including soprano Lily Pons and baritones John Charles Thomas and Ezio Pinza. They also became more successful when performed on the popular radio show The Bell Telephone Hour. They are "distinguished for their tasteful and truly lovely melodies" and considered some of the "best of the ballad style concert song[s]". They "successfully blended the styles of art song and the sentimental popular ballad".

Perhaps her most successful song was "With the Wind and the Rain in Your Hair", with text by Jack Lawrence. First published in 1930, it became a hit a decade later. Two of her other well-known songs are "By the Bend of the River" and "Into the Night"; the latter is frequently used by voice teachers as a training piece, and is included in several song anthologies.