In our first installment on the African-American spiritual, we took a brief look into the meaning and importance of these songs.
In today's episode, we hear from celebrated church musician and organist, Dr. Leo Davis, the Minister of Music at Mississippi Boulevard Church in Memphis, TN. During our conversation, he shared incredible stories about renowned spiritual composers like William Dawson and Moses Hogan.
One of my favorite stories that Dr. Davis shared was about his time heading into a music store in Chicago where spirituals and gospel sheet music was grouped together. The store's lack of distinction between the two genres infuriated Davis to point of him angrily bringing it to their attention. Davis said he would "snatch those spirituals out of the containers that had gospel sheet music, go directly to the counter and say, sir...this is NOT gospel music, this is a spiritual! Know the difference!"
Dr. Leo Davis' unwillingness to allow black music to be reduced and marginalized has proven to be quite important as we continue to celebrate this rich musical heritage.
If you are interested in hearing more from Dr. Leo Davis' interview in this week's episode of Sing to Inspire, click the audio player above.
#SingToInspire Performance of the Week
I Can Tell the World - arr. Moses Hogan
Moses Hogan Chorale, performer
Moses Hogan, conductor
#SingToInspire Pictures of the Week
Dr. Leo Davis with composer Dr. André Thomas after worship at Mississippi Boulevard Church in Memphis, TN.
Photo of Dr. Leo Davis' book, No Gimmicks, that will be released on May 1, 2016.
#SingToInspire Videos of the Week
Check out these previous episodes of #SingToInspire
Sing to Inspire: History of the Morehouse College Glee Club
Sing to Inspire: Celebration of the Spiritual - Vol. 1
Sing to Inspire: Precious Lord
Sing to Inspire: Wanting Memories
Sing to Inspire: Inspirational Conductor Surprised