A singer in evangelistic meetings.

“Who are the best-known African American voices in Adventist church music?

“Some may answer with selections from among today’s well-known songsters: Wintley Phipps, Charles Haugabrooks, the Aeolians. But there is also a good case to be made for names not so well known, their music sung by saints from week to week and year to year in a thousand congregations across the breadth of our world church: “This Little Light of Mine,” “Nothing Between My Soul and the Savior,” “Go, Tell It on the Mountain,” “Give Me Jesus.” Isn’t it worth our while to remember who these individuals are? Their contributions to the spiritual growth and grounding of generations of Adventists and other Christians deserve more than the casual rendition of their songs. These composers and arrangers deserve our intelligent appreciation.

Charles Lee Brooks (1923-1989), born in Wilson, North Carolina, and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, began singing at age 4. Though keenly interested in classical music, Brooks is best remembered by Adventists as a singer in evangelistic meetings. As a personal memory, I was fortunate to serve as his teenaged accompanist during a memorable evangelistic series by E. E. Cleveland labeled the ‘Trinidad Triumph.’ Later, as an associate in the General Conference Secretariat, Brooks established the Office of Church Music and became its chair. He served as chair of the Church Hymnal Committee.”

— Excerpt from Nevilla E. Ottley-Adjahoe, “We Sing Their Songs: Significant Voices in African American Church Music,” Adventist Review, http://www.adventistreview.org

2 comments

  1. Lisa, if I’m not mistaken, Charles Lee Brooks is Aunt Beebe’s uncle or great-uncle. Everything sounds right. Her grandmother and her mother were born here in Wide-Awake. I met him, I think. I know I met his son or grandson. They came back to live here awhile, and they could “sang”.

    Liked by 1 person

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