Recently, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum honored the late gospel music legend Andrae’ Crouch during the Rock My Soul: Gospel Music Celebration. Crouch was known as the “Godfather of modern gospel music” with songs that transcended cultures reaching beyond the walls of the church and throughout mainstream entertainment. His legacy lives on as his music is still being sung in churches around the world.
Some of Crouch’s longtime friends were on hand for the special occasion and everyone who turned out was there to remember all that he contributed to the music industry. The seven-time Grammy winner was honored by musical greats Donnie McClurkin, CeCe Winans and Marvin Winans who all acknowledged Crouch as the person who paved the way for them.
By Effie Rolfe,
“He set the standard so high for us and we’re still trying to reach that level,” said CeCe Winans.
What was billed as a tribute concert turned into touching moments filled with stories of humble beginnings, laced with laughter and tears as God’s presence settled into the atmosphere. “Andrae’ Couch made an indelible impression on the way we write, the way we do harmonies, chords and structure,” said Marvin Winans.
“Where would Donnie McClurkin be today had a man named Andrae’ Crouch not stopped to pray for an 11-year old boy after a concert simply stating, ‘God give to him what you gave to me,’” McClurkin shared. “After he prayed for me, God gave me the gift to play the piano and that’s how I learned to sing.”
The popular Cleveland museum made tickets available to the public as well as rolled out the red carpet. According to sources, tickets were sold out in 12 minutes and the venue was packed to capacity.
Moving to the nation’s capital — gospel music’s best were invited to the White House to serenade President Obama and the First Lady with songs of praise. The recent event was part of the In Performance at the White House series to pay tribute to the fundamental role gospel music has played in the American musical tradition and the important artists and repertoire that have marked its vibrant history. Legendary gospel artists included Bishop Rance Allen, Pastor Shirley Caesar, Aretha Franklin, Rodney Crowell, Rhiannon Giddens, Emmylou Harris, Darlene Love, Lyle Lovett, Tamela Mann, the Morgan State University Choir and Michelle Williams with T Bone Burnett as executive music director and Billy Maxwell as music director. is the 14th such program during President Barack Obama’s administration. The program will be aired on Friday, June 26 at 9:00 p.m. (ET) on PBS stations nationwide and will also be simulcast on TV One (check local listings).
As with previous White House music events, the First Lady also held a special daytime workshop for students. Mrs. Obama welcomed more than 130 middle school, high school and college students from across the country to take part in an interactive student workshop titled “The History of Gospel Music.” Beginning at 11:00 a.m. in the State Dining Room, Robert Santelli, executive director of The GRAMMY Museum® in Los Angeles, gave participating students an overview of the origins of gospel music, discussed important artists and explored the unique elements of gospel that have inspired the sound of other American musical genres. Featured performers from the evening event were scheduled to share their experiences and answer student questions about the music and entertainment worlds. Students participated from 24 schools across the country, including Los Angeles and Oakland, CA; Kahuku and Waipahu, HI; Sandy Spring, MD; Cleveland, MS; Asbury Park and West Long Branch, NJ; Somers, NY; Memphis, TN; and Falls Church, VA.
Congratulations to Frank Walton and his lovely wife, Pam Morris Walton who were recently married. Happy belated birthday to Bishop Carlton Pearson, Dr. L. Stanley Davis and Tiffany Joy McGhee — 2015 Stellar Award Winner for “Song of the Year.”
Effie Rolfe is a speaker, media personality and author of A Moment to Super Size Your Thinking. You may also contact her at effierolfe.com or on twitter.com/effiedrolfe. Listen to her show on urbanpraiseradio.org (Stellar Award Winner for Best Internet Radio Station 2015).