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date: 25 January 2020

Hairston, Jester (Joseph)locked

  • Warren Fields

Extract

(Joseph)

(b Belews Creek, NC, July 9, 1901; d Los Angeles, CA, Jan 18, 2000).

American arranger, choral conductor, and actor. He grew up in Homestead, Pennsylvania, where he sang in school and church choirs. After two years of study at Massachusetts Agricultural College he transferred to Tufts University where he graduated with a music degree in 1929. In search of opportunities to sing professionally, he went to New York where he joined the Hall Johnson Choir in 1931. From that point forward, his career progressed with remarkable consistency in three streams. By the mid-1930s, he had established himself as a skillful arranger and conductor of choral music. In the latter capacity he travelled extensively in the United States and abroad until well into his nineties. His published arrangements are characterized by lively, repetitive, and often syncopated rhythms, fundamental harmonies with well-spaced modulations, and colorful melodies that are always true to their ethnic origins. Among the best known of more than ninety such works are ...

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