December 27, 1988 |
The thunderous explosion of applause hit the songbird of Mount Carmel Baptist Church in West Philadelphia as she made her way down the church aisle. Bernice Burton mounted the altar and turned to the 1,200 who had crushed into the church to bask in the glory of her voice. She beamed in acknowledgment of the welcome, then began. "Come Thou fount of every blessing, to my heart to sing Thy grace . . . " As her singing filled the sanctuary, soaring from the pulpit to the last seat in the balcony, the audience fell silent, captured by that most mysterious thing: an extraordinary human voice.
May 12, 1989 |
Though well-known to live audiences, the Washington D.C.-based a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock only this year has begun to assert itself on vinyl. First came an appearance on the Folkways: A Vision Shared compilation, which paid tribute to Leadbelly and Woodie Guthrie and won a Grammy in the best traditional folk category. Then Live at Carnegie Hall (Flying Fish) captured the six-woman group (five singers and a sign-language interpreter) at a fists-clenched peak performance.
January 23, 1997 |
George Dennis Leaks, an early member of the legendary Dixie Hummingbirds and a devoted churchman and father, died Monday after a lifetime of sharing the Gospel in song. He was 74. Leaks, who lived in Frankford, was widely known for his skills as a paperhanger and painter. He refurbished homes from Philadelphia to the Main Line to South Jersey. But he always found time for the important things in life - such as his 14 children. "He loved the church and he loved his family. He taught us the values," said a daughter, Janice Leaks.
September 17, 1996 |
Major T. Hartsfield, a retired crane operator and former professional gospel singer, died Thursday. He was 76 and lived in Overbrook. Hartsfield was employed by the Delaware Alloy Forge Co. in Philadelphia for more than 30 years, retiring in 1982. He then went to work as a dispatcher until 1994 for Central City Toyota. Hartsfield was a Navy veteran of World War II. After the war, he and other men formed a singing group, "The Five Veterans," which performed in churches through the late '40s and 1950s.
April 6, 1989 |
"To be enthusiastic," Marvin M. Hecker said, "you must act enthusiastic. " "To be enthusiastic," the 500 teenagers repeated, "you must act enthusiastic. " He said it again, louder. "To be enthusiastic . . . " They said it louder: ". . . you must act enthusiastic. " He motioned for them to rise. The Future Business Leaders of America, New Jersey High School Division, did. He had them on their feet. He had them clapping. He had them yelling. "You see!" Hecker said as the noise died down.
March 20, 1988 |
W. Edwards Deming came to Philadelphia last week to preach to the converted. There he was, American industry's new cult hero, the Mike Schmidt of management, the Bogart of business, telling 500 managers from Philadelphia- area companies that they were going about their business all wrong, and they were nodding their heads in agreement and lining up afterward to have him autograph copies of his book. It's a common scene at the 24 to 30 seminars Deming gives throughout the United States each year to expound his management methods.
August 11, 1995 |
Strutting, singing, shouting. Hands waving in the air and bodies swaying. Everyone and everything moving and shaking under the lights of the open-air tent at the People's Light & Theatre Company. More than 700 people stacked the bleachers, and the overflow stretched hip to hip on blankets and grass inside the amphitheater. They had come to The Gospel at Colonus, the featured piece of the theater's third annual free fest. Gospel is a musical spiritual revival set in a Pentecostal prayer service with choir, evangelist, deacons, pastors and a preacher.
August 4, 2011
Delois Barrett Campbell, 85, a member of the award-winning Barrett Sisters trio who electrified audiences worldwide with their powerful gospel harmonies, died Tuesday at a Chicago hospital after a long illness, her daughter Mary Campbell said. The Barrett Sisters, raised on Chicago's South Side and coached to sing by an aunt, grew up to become what music critic Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune has called "the greatest female trio in gospel history. " The sisters recorded their first album together, Jesus Loves Me, in the mid-1960s.
September 13, 2011 |
WHEN Betty Spivey was 10, an elder at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church heard her "toying" with the piano keys. Obviously, Betty was not just toying, because Presiding Elder Arnold D. Nearn assigned her to play at the AME's South District Sunday School Convention that year. "Nervous and uncertain of her talent, she majestically played her first song, 'Where He May Lead Me,' which set the course for her service as a pianist and organist in God's church," her family said.
June 26, 2011 |
Rejoice & Shout , filmmaker Don McGlynn's raucous new documentary about gospel music in America, reaches all the way back to 1902, when Virginia's Dinwiddie Colored Quartet made the first African American religious recordings, almost two decades before the first jazz and blues records. Listening in on the music that came out of black Baptist and Pentecostal churches in the century since, Rejoice & Shout focuses attention on big-name and not-so-big-name gospel greats, from Mahalia Jackson and the Staple Singers to the Golden Gate Quartet and Swan Silvertones.