June 24, 2011
GOSPEL'S ROOTS go deep in Philadelphia, where many of the genre's great artists came to live and perform during the heyday of the 1940s and 1950s. Many are featured in the new history-of-gospel documentary "Rejoice and Shout," although some local disciples will be disappointed that the film makes no mention of Philadelphian Charles Albert Tindley, considered by many to be a father of gospel, if not the father. "Rejoice" assigns that honor to converted bluesman Thomas Dorsey, although writer and historian Bill Carpenter, featured in the movie and author of the gospel history "Uncloudy Days," gives Tindley his due. "Tindley was writing gospel songs - successful ones - long before the world heard of Thomas A. Dorsey.
October 20, 1995 |
Joanne R. Thompson-Mixson, 49, a former schoolteacher who was an accomplished musician as well as a composer and choir director, died Monday of complications from diabetes at her home in Chestnut Hill. Mrs. Mixson worked Sunday and into Monday morning, preparing lunches for participants in the Million Man March. She then delivered the lunches to Progress Plaza about 4 that morning. "She probably fell asleep and was too tired to take her second dose (of insulin)," her cousin, Sandra Burney, said.
April 3, 1991 |
A gospel choir at Central High School sued the School District in federal court yesterday, charging that school officials have deprived the choir of its right to sing religious songs. The student choir, formed in 1987, claims in the suit that the songs it sings are not merely religious, but are "drawn from the history of African- Americans from before slavery to the present day. " The fight between the choir and the School District has been going on for several months. District lawyers have argued that the religious songs violate the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state.
March 21, 1987 |
Soprano Joy Simpson, a Philadelphia opera singer who collapsed Thursday night during a performance in Cape Town, South Africa, remains in intensive care, according to family members who spoke with her yesterday morning. Meanwhile, doctors were trying to decide whether to operate on Simpson, who suffered a brain hemorrhage, the family said. "She was heavily sedated, but she was conscious. She knew who she was and what was wrong," said her mother, Evelyn Simpson. "I spoke to her like a mother would speak and told her we would be praying for her and for her not to worry.
February 26, 1987 |
Scott Joplin, the early-20th-century pianist who popularized ragtime, dreamed of seeing his infectious, syncopated music established as the black man's classical music. Sadly for Joplin, ragtime, born out of the South's "red-light" districts, gained respectability only after his death. Under the respectable auspices of the Wayne Presbyterian Church, the church's Oratorio Society performed a concert of gospel, spiritual and ragtime music Sunday evening in observance of Black History Month.
September 19, 1997 |
Ruth Wright Cannon, 54, a professional gospel singer, organist and songwriter, died Monday at her Glassboro home. Born in Camden, she had resided in Glassboro for more than 20 years. By age 4, she was playing the piano with one finger with her mother at home. By the time she was 8, she was sitting beside the church organist and helping out, said her sister Dorothy Mae Williams. "She was a Christian, and it was something God gave her - a gift," her sister said. "She started when she was a little thing and never took lessons.
December 1, 1990 |
Is the Central High School gospel choir a religious club, or is it a group that sings songs about black culture? During a heated two-hour meeting at Central High yesterday, school district officials told students and parents that under a new U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the choir is considered a religious student group. And if it wants to continue meeting on school grounds, it will have to change its tune. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the 1984 federal Equal Access Act requiring public schools to allow political and religious groups to meet on campuses after school hours.
January 18, 2013 |
'Sometimes things just fall out of the sky; sometimes you're tugging on it pretty hard," says Iris DeMent. She's talking from her Iowa City home about the songwriting process of Sing the Delta , her first album of original songs in 16 years and the impetus for the short tour that brings her to Wilmington's World Cafe Live at the Queen on Tuesday. "There's one song on there that there's a line that I literally, I'm not exaggerating, sat on the floor six or eight hours a day for three or four days in a row just to get that one line.
June 19, 1988 |
"I spent 40 years in Hollywood auditioning for parts against eight other dudes in the same age range and with similar looks. We were all friends, but most of them are dead now, thank goodness," actor and musician Jester Hairston says with a twinkle in his eye. "They've been dropping off in recent years. I'll be 87 in a few weeks - if I make it. " Hairston, who is celebrating his 59th year in show business, will mark his birthday on July 9. Far from thinking of retirement, the small and physically frail ("sciatica, a bad hip and heart")
November 23, 1991 |
Sitting on her living room couch, Carolyn Bryant, pastor of the Bethel Church of Christ Written in Heaven, closed her eyes, threw back her head and began a lullaby to the quiet evening air: What a friend we have in Jesus. All our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege it is to carry. Everything to God in prayer. She called it her "kitchen sink song," the one she hums when she is pondering something far beyond a mound of unwashed dishes. And after she had stopped singing, you could still hear the vibrations of her voice, as rich as a collection plate that had already been passed around.