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Melvin L. Butler

gospel singer, composer, and pastor, was born Andrae Edward Crouch in Los Angeles, California. As a child, his musical talents were cultivated under the church ministry of his parents, Benjamin and Catherine Crouch. He also benefited from attending Pentecostal services at the Emmanuel Church of God in Christ, where his great-uncle, Bishop Samuel M. Crouch, was the pastor. Crouch's upbringing was enhanced not only by his experiences singing and playing in church but also through his exposure to an array of musical styles such as jazz, blues, rock and roll, and European classical music. At the age of fourteen, he drew from these multiple influences to pen his first composition, “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power,” which would become a classic gospel piece (Darden, 276–278).

During his teenage years he formed vocal ensembles with several of his siblings most notably his twin sister Sandra He labeled one ...

Article

David Bradford

singer, pianist, arranger, teacher, writer, and assistant director of the original Fisk Jubilee Singers, was born in Nashville, Tennessee, to slave parents Simon Sheppard, a liveryman, and Sarah Hannah Sheppard, a domestic servant.

On 22 December 1871, ten African American students from Fisk University in Nashville—all but two former slaves—stood before the large, wealthy white congregation of Plymouth Church in Brooklyn and forever transformed American music. On a mission to raise money for their destitute school—formed by the American Missionary Association in 1866 to train black teachers the Jubilee Singers had struggled across the eastern United States performing choral arrangements of slave spirituals to small and largely uncomprehending white audiences On the verge of defeat the group was invited to sing at Plymouth Church by its pastor Henry Ward Beecher the most influential religious figure in America Beecher and his congregation were ...