Chicago Anniversaries!

Just a few iconic churches and choirs that celebrated anniversaries this month…

Prayer Center COGIC, founded by Mother Fannie Gay and still pastored by Elder G. Donald Gay (right), celebrated its 50th Anniversary yesterday with a banquet at the Lexington House, Hickory Hills, IL. Elder Gay and First Lady Margaret were feted with tributes in song and spoken word, including a beautiful gospel ballad from Elder Carlis Moody, Jr. Donald’s sisters Evelyn, Mildred and Geraldine, known as the Gay Sisters, were “America’s Singing Sweethearts” in the 1950s, producing a gospel hit on Savoy Records, “God Will Take Care of You.”

On Monday, October 26, Dr. Charles G. Hayes (left) and the Cosmopolitan Church of Prayer “Warriors” celebrated their 50th anniversary as a choir in Cosmo fashion: by hosting a no-holds-barred gospel program. The church, founded by Dr. Hayes, was originally known as the Universal Kingdom of Christ. Today, the Warriors are an internationally-known choir renowed for their cover of Rev. Maceo Woods and Christian Tabernacle’s “Jesus Can Work It Out.”

Finally, as several colleagues reminded me, this month marks the 80th anniversary of the First Church of Deliverance Radio Choir. It held its first choir rehearsal the day after the stock market crash of 1929. In 1939, the F.C.D. Choir incorporated the newfangled Hammond organ into its music ministry. Famed gospel music composer and publisher Kenneth Morris played the warbly, chirpy notes on the church’s well-known radio broadcast, though without the benefit of a Leslie speaker, which wouldn’t be commercially available until 1940. Regardless, the sound caused such a stir that those who tuned in religiously to the F.C.D. broadcast flocked to the church (below) to see just what this unusual instrument looked like!

About Bob Marovich

Bob Marovich is a gospel music historian, author, and radio host. Founder of Journal of Gospel Music blog (formally The Black Gospel Blog) and producer of the Gospel Memories Radio Show.

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