RIP Alonzo Atkins, Choir Director, Worked with Rev. James Cleveland

By Bob Marovich

JGM learned that choir director Alonzo Atkins passed away.

Atkins had a longstanding tenure working with the Reverend James Cleveland. He directed the Voices of Tabernacle of Detroit, Michigan, after Cleveland relocated to Los Angeles. When Cleveland opened his Cornerstone Baptist Church in Los Angeles, he summoned Atkins to be the church’s minister of music. Atkins also worked with the Southern California Community Choir, also under the leadership of Rev. James Cleveland.  Atkins helped with the music at Cleveland’s funeral.

In 2001, Atkins began directing Pastor John P. Kee’s New Life Fellowship Choir.

Many will also remember Atkins from his big screen debut as the choir director behind James Brown in the 1980 film, The Blues Brothers.

More information will be forthcoming as more becomes available. Meanwhile, we extend our most heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and fans of Alonzo Atkins.

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.

One comment

  1. This is to much for one day! Finding out about Rodena AND ALONZO. I remember when Rev. Cleveland died I went to the church for the service/wake. I got there REALLY EARLY and the place was empty. Rev. Cleveland’s Body was there in the casket. I walked in and to the front because I saw someone sitting on the front pew in front of it. It was ALONZO. He never looked up. I just sat there across from him and the look on his face was one I will NEVER FORGET. This man LOOKED like he had just lost his very best friend in the world. I knew then the depth of their long friendship. It was a most deep moment. After a few minutes I went back outside and waited for the service to begin. RIP ALONZO.

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