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Gayle Murchison

composer and educator, was born in Tullahoma, Tennessee, the son of John Wesley Work Jr., an educator who became president of Roger Williams College, and Agnes Haynes, a contralto and soloist who assisted her husband in training and leading the Fisk Singers. Work was born into a musical family. His grandfather John Wesley Work Sr., a former Kentucky slave, directed a Nashville church choir whose members included some of the original Fisk Jubilee Singers. His uncle Frederick Jerome Work collected and arranged folk songs, and his brother Julian Work became a well-known composer. In 1898 Work's father accepted a teaching position at Fisk University and moved the family to Nashville. The younger Work, who began composing while in high school, matriculated at Fisk, where he earned an AB in History in 1923 but pursued formal music study in theory and voice.

After graduating from Fisk Work studied voice ...