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Article

Roxanne R. Reed

[Delois Barrett and the Barrett Sisters]

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 (1944; see martin, Roberta ). Billie and Rhodessa received some formal training, but it was through the Roberta Martin Singers that Delores learned technique and honed her individual style, along with the unique ensemble quality known as the Roberta Martin sound. Delores continued to sing with Martin from time to time, even as the Barrett Sisters took shape. Getting their start as an African American gospel trio, the Barrett Sisters first recorded with the label Savoy (...

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 ...

Article

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.

In 1952 Peacock acquired the Memphis-based rhythm-and-blues label Duke from WDIA DJ David James Mattis. Its roster included Rosco Gordon, Bobby “Blue” Bland, and Johnny Ace. Robey later formed additional subsidiary labels: Sure Shot; Song Bird, which featured gospel music; Back Beat, formed in 1957 to meet the growing teen market; and Peacock’s Progressive Jazz label.

In 1973 Robey retired and sold the Duke/Peacock label, affiliated labels, and publishing companies to ABC-Dunhill Records. Its catalog consisted of nearly 2700 songs and approximately ...

Article

Darlene Graves and Michael Graves

[William J. ]

(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 1956 formed the Bill Gaither Trio with his brother Danny and his sister Mary Ann. He started his own publishing company in 1959. He continued to perform and compose while a teacher at Alexandria High School and in 1961 formed the Gaither Music Company to publish his works. After their marriage in 1962, Gaither and his wife wrote their first major song, “He touched me,” which was a significant hit by 1963. He re-formed the Bill Gaither Trio with Gloria and Danny, and in ...

Article

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 1979 upon their mother’s death.

The style of hula taught and performed by the school, ’aiha’a, is characterized by a bent-knee posture and vigorous movements, a reflection of the energy and power of the volcano goddess. In addition to learning hula, dancers at the school become fully immersed in the culture of Hawaii and hula. They learn the Hawaiian language and how to play the ipu (gourd) and pahu (sharkskin drum), and create their own costumes and props using the traditional materials and practices....

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 2005, can be pre-programmed for each service and is controlled by the worship leader from a wireless, LCD touch-screen handset. Tempo, pitch, loudness, musical style, choice of verses, and other features are variable; preset musical styles range from traditional, digitally sampled pipe organ accompaniment to ‘happy clappy’ instrumentals. An interactive psalm accompaniment feature is available for Anglican chant. Loudspeakers are built into the unit, which can also be connected to an external sound system. Devices have been sold in Africa, America (with revised repertory list), and Australia, as well as throughout the UK....

Article

Cedric Dent

Ring shout performers. The group formed in the Bolden community of McIntosh County on the coast of Georgia to promote the survival of the Ring shout —the oldest African American performance tradition in North America. The group performs after church worship services and on special occasions at a local church, Mt. Calvary Baptist. Because of space limitations in the sanctuary, an annex was built behind the church to accommodate performance of the ring shout, which employs call-and-response singing, percussive rhythm, and expressive and formalized dance-like movement in a counter-clockwise ring. Presumed to have died out in the 20th century, the tradition was rediscovered in 1980 when the group consented to perform at the Sea Island Festival on St. Simon’s Island in Glynn County, Georgia. The repertory is often Biblical in nature and consists of a special song type, at one time called a “running spiritual,” and believed to be a precursor to the Negro spiritual. In ...

Article

Cedric Dent

[Nightingales]

Gospel ensemble. It was formed by Barney Parks (formerly of the Dixie Hummingbirds) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1942 to sing black religious quartet music. It began as the Nightingales, with Parks as manager (he had retired from singing), guitarist Howard Carroll, and singers Paul Owens, Ben Joiner, and William Henry. It disbanded after a few years, and Parks reassembled the group in 1946, adding JoJo Wallace, Carl Coates, and the lead singer Julius “June” Cheeks. Cheeks sang with an intensity associated with the Sanctified Church, exemplifying the gospel style of quartet singing popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Audiences responded favorably to his impassioned solos leading to the group adding the word “sensational” to its name. They began recording in 1952 for Peacock Records. Cheeks temporarily left in 1954 to sing with the Soul Stirrers and again in the 1960s to sing with the Mighty Clouds of Joy. He retired in the early 1970s, after which the group continued, with Charles Johnson replacing Cheeks, and signed with Malaco Records in ...