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Roxanne R. Reed

Gospel trio. Its members were Delores [Delois] (soprano), Billie (alto), and Rhodessa (high soprano) Barrett. Hailing from the Southside of Chicago, they grew up with seven other siblings and were members of the Morning Star Baptist Church where they sang in a choir directed by their aunt. As the Barrett–Hudson Singers, Delores and Billie had performed in a group with a cousin, whom Rhodessa later replaced to form the Barrett Sisters. Delores, the eldest and the group’s leader, started singing at the age of six. Her professional career began in earnest after graduating from Englewood High School, when she became the first female to join the Roberta Martin Singers (...

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Jonas Westover

(b Ceres, CA, Apr 6, 1923). American Evangelical music director, media personality, and administrator. Barrows studied sacred music and Shakespearean drama at Bob Jones University (BA 1944) and was ordained a minister in the Baptist church. He became a full-time worker with Youth For Christ in the immediate postwar years, and in ...

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Shawn Young

(b Paducah, KY, Nov 21, 1962). American singer-songwriter, record producer, and social activist. His father was a guitar teacher, and Stephen played and sang at an early age. A respected figure in contemporary Christian music (CCM), Chapman is known for his unique mixture of country music, bluegrass, and pop-rock. The recipient of multiple Grammy Awards and Dove Awards, Chapman (along with Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith) set the standard for the burgeoning Nashville-based CCM music scene. His eclectic approach is, in part, a result of multiple collaborations throughout his career. Before becoming a CCM icon, Chapman penned songs for the Imperials, Sandi Patty, Charlie Daniels, and Glen Campbell....

Article

Frances Barulich

Firm of music and book publishers. Concordia Publishing House was founded in St. Louis in 1869 by immigrant German Lutherans for the purpose of printing their hymnals and other church literature, and takes its name from the Lutheran Book of Concord (1580). Its catalog, which has included music since ...

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Jonas Westover

(b Washington, DC, Nov 21, 1947). American hymn writer and seminary professor. She grew up studying piano, then focused on religious studies as an undergraduate at Southwestern at Memphis University, later called Rhodes College (BA 1969). She earned advanced degrees from Chicago Theological Seminary (MDiv ...

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Joe C. Clark

Record company founded by Houston-based African American entrepreneur Don Robey in 1949. It focused primarily on rhythm-and-blues and gospel music. Robey’s initial label, Peacock Records, was created to record bluesman Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. The label also recorded Big Mama Thornton’s rendition of “Hound Dog,” which was later covered and made famous by Elvis Presley. Gospel artists including the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, the Mighty Clouds of Joy, the Dixie Hummingbirds, and the Bells of Joy joined the label and provided much of its success during the early 1950s....

Article

Kathleen Sewright

(b Peoria, IL, July 14, 1939). American jesuit priest, educator, and composer. Best known for the post–Vatican II Catholic liturgical congregational music he composed as one of the “St. Louis Jesuits” in the 1960s and 70s, Foley is nevertheless primarily an educator in the field of liturgy. He earned a PhD in Theology (specialty in Liturgy and Aesthetics) from Graduate Theological Union (...

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Darlene Graves and Michael Graves

(b Alexandria, IN, March 28, 1936). American gospel songwriter, performer, producer, and publisher. He grew up on a small farm in Indiana and graduated from Anderson College with a major in English and a minor in music. He went on to receive a master’s degree in guidance and counseling and met his future wife and song-producing partner, Gloria Sickal, while both were teaching high school. Gaither started singing gospel music as a child and in ...

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Shawn Young

(b Augusta, GA, Nov 25, 1960). American singer-songwriter and author. Amy Grant is one of the most successful artists in Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) and one of the first CCM musicians to achieve major success in the general market. Grant’s love for music was crystallized when her family moved from Augusta to Nashville, the center of the gospel and country music industries. Her rise to fame began when a demo tape she made for her parents fell into the hands of Chris Christian at the Home Sweet Home recording studio where Grant swept the floors. At 15 she was offered a contract with Word Records. Word’s subsidiary label, Myrrh, released Grant’s first set of albums, produced by Brown Bannister, former leader of Grant’s high school youth fellowship. Her breakthrough effort, ...

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Paula J. Bishop

Hawaiian hula school in Hilo, Hawaii. Founded in 1953 by Edith Kanaka’ole, the school has been instrumental in the preservation and dissemination of hula and chant practices associated with Pele, the goddess of fire. Knowledge about these traditions was passed down to Kanaka’ole through matrilineal descent for at least seven generations, and she in turn instructed her own daughters, Pualani Kanaka’ole Kanahele and Nalani Kanaka’ole, who inherited the school in ...

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Sara Black Brown

A Vaishnava Hindu devotional movement dedicated to the worship of Krishna and known for the ecstatic singing of kirtan. The movement, formally known as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), was established in New York by Bengali guru A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1966...

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Kathleen Sewright

(b Wanamingo, MN, Dec 30, 1950). American liturgical music composer, workshop presenter, and recording artist. After earning degrees in psychology (BA, Luther College) and Pastoral Studies (MA, University of St. Thomas), Haugen began writing songs for Catholic and Protestant congregations. Initially influenced by the St. Louis Jesuits, Haugen writes music in a contemporary style that is accessible to the average parishioner. Of his several Mass settings, his ...

Article

Emmett G. Price III

(b Oakland, CA, Aug 18, 1943). American gospel singer, songwriter, and producer. He began piano at five and by seven accompanied the Hawkins family group. In 1967 along with Betty Watson, he founded the Northern California State Youth Choir with the aim of singing at the annual COGIC youth conference in Washington DC. As a fundraiser, the choir recorded ...

Article

Emmett G. Price III

(b San Francisco, CA, Oct 11, 1951). American gospel singer. Raised in the Ephesian Church of God in Christ, pastored by her grandfather, Bishop Elmer Elisha Cleveland, Tramaine Davis emerged as one of the most noted voices in contemporary gospel music during the 1970s. Her first recording was “I Love the Lord” as a member of the Heavenly Tones, a group that would later sing background with Sly & The Family Stone as Little Sister. In ...

Article

British firm based in Surbiton, Surrey, founded in 1995 by Martin Phelps and Alan Kempster to introduce ‘electronic hymnals’ to the UK market. The firm distributes British-made portable devices that can store and play back 3000 or more hymn accompaniments and simultaneously display hymn verses on large screens. The electronic hymnal, known as ‘Hymnal Plus’, has a broader repertory than most organists and can supplement or replace the use of an organ, especially in the increasing number of churches that lack an organist. It is also useful for worship services in schools, retirement homes, prisons, hospitals, ships, and outdoor venues where no organ is available. Additional music can be imported from iPods, MP3 players, and the like. The MIDI-equipped HT-300 model, introduced in ...

Article

Catherine Wojtanowski

(b Sarajevo, Yugoslavia [now Bosnia and Herzegovina], 1925). American singer and guitarist. Growing up in a Sephardic Jewish community, she learned Balkan folklore as well as traditional songs in the Ladino language with guidance from her grandmother. In 1946 she married a serviceman and immigrated to the United States, where she has become known as the Flame of Sephardic Music because of the strength of her commitment to this unique musical heritage. In addition to transcribing, performing, and teaching traditional Ladino material, Jagoda has composed and arranged new Sephardic songs. She also has performed material drawn from biblical verses, poems, and prayers. She has recorded several albums, which often recall her early experiences, including ...

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Horace Clarence Boyer and Jonas Westover

(b Montgomery, AL, 1919; d New York, NY, Jan 6, 2009). American gospel singer. After leaving high school he took a job in the coal mines of West Virginia and in 1938 organized a gospel quartet, the Four Harmony Kings, with his brother and two miners. When the group became established its members were Jeter (first tenor and lead), Solomon Womack (second lead), John Myles (baritone), and Henry Bossard (bass). They performed in the traditional barbershop style, in which Jeter’s light and lyrical voice, as well as his extraordinary falsetto, contrasted well with Womack’s heavier, energetic tenor. The group moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, and worked as full-time professional singers, broadcasting five days a week on WNOX. In order to advertise the bakery that sponsored their broadcasts, they changed their name to the ...

Article

Carrie Allen Tipton

(b Henry, TN, Sept 18, 1938). American gospel music television and radio host, singer, choir director, and media executive. He began singing publicly in the Methodist church as a child, although his first exposure to gospel music came in sanctified churches. His involvement with gospel music deepened in Nashville when he served as keyboard player, singer, and director for church and civic choirs while studying at Tennessee State University. In ...

Article

Sisters Pualani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele (b Keaukaha, HI, 14 Sept 1937), writer, teacher, and producer, and Nalani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele (b Hawaii, 19 March 1946), choreographer and teacher, are the daughters of Edith Kanaka‘ole, famed chanter and kumu hula (master teacher) of Hilo, Hawaii. After Edith’s death in ...

Article

Hugh Davies

Electronic organ manufactured originally in Rochdale, Lancashire, by Compton-Makin, which became J.&J. Makin Organs Ltd in 1973. In 1970 John Makin Pilling (d 1996), an amateur organist and paper manufacturing executive, acquired assets of the failing Compton Organs Ltd, pipe organ builders, and pioneers in electronic reproduction of organ tones in the 1920s. The acquisition included the electrostatic tone-wheel system of sound generation (one wheel per note) of the Compton Electrone, which remained in use in combination with microprocessor technology. Additional electronic circuitry provided a more realistic pipe organ sound quality, such as attack and decay characteristics (including the ‘chiff’ attack found in some flute stops), and soft beats for certain stops produced by a ‘chorus generator’ that adds slightly out-of-tune frequencies. In the 1980s, Makin integrated the ‘Bradford System’ of digital synthesis and in the 1990s began using digital sampling....