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Here’s some Midweek Motivation to get you through the rest of the week! In today’s Midweek Motivation, in honor of Black History Month, Reverend Ron Harrison speaks about…Thomas Dorsey!

Rev. Ron Harrison encourages us by telling the history of Gospel Music pioneer, Thomas Dorsey and his contributions to the world of gospel music. Although he got his start and initial fame in Jazz music, playing for Ma Rainey, after a spiritual awakening, he began to focus on writing and arranging religious music. He wrote more than 1,000 songs, including classic hymns like “Precious Lord’ and “Peace in the Valley.” During his time as Music Director of the Pilgrim Baptist Church in Chicago, he began fusing elements of jazz, rhythm, blues and melody into traditional hymns anthems commonly sung in the black church. He encouraged musical improvisation and personal participation like clapping, stomping and shouting. Mainstream churches considered these demonstrative expressions as “unrefined” and “undignified” because they were used to the more somber, white, European style of worship. This NEW style of gospel music slowly gained acceptance and in 1932, Thomas Dorsey founded the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses, an organization dedicated to training gospel musicians and singers. This organization remains active present day! It was because of Thomas Dorsey’s musical genius that the black church experience was uniquely and forever changed. That’s why he’s known as “The Father of Gospel Music”.

(Originally aired on 2-21-24)