Dr. Zachery Tims, megachurch pastor and TV/radio host, has died

GMF is sad to share that WFTV in Orlando has confirmed that Dr. Zachery Tims, senior pastor and founder of New Destiny Christian Center (NDCC) in Apopka, FL, has died.  The cause of death is not available at this time.  He was 42.
Dr. Tims founded NDCC in 1996.  It has grown to a congregation of over 8,000 people, according to the church’s website.  He was not only a well known pastor, but an author, life coach, prominent TV personality and frequent host on TBN’s “Praise the Lord.”
In addition to pastoring, Dr. Tims released a music project on the Zion Records label in 2006 entitled ‘Dr. Zachery Tims Presents’ A New Praise.  Most recently, he was the host of the Orlando radio show, “102 Gospel Jamz.”
Please join GMF in keeping his family and church in your thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.

Delois Barrett Campbell’s life celebrated with rousing musical, moving homegoing

Aretha Franklin, President Obama among scores who offered tributes

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

Delois Barrett Campbell
Delois Barrett Campbell

People from all over the country packed the pews of Trinity United Church of Christ Tuesday and Wednesday evening to celebrate the life of gospel music way-paver, Delois Barrett Campbell, the “Royal Lady of Gospel.”  Many around the world watched online; so many in fact, that Trinity’s website crashed due to the volume of viewers.  Lady Delois, of the internationally renowned Barrett Sisters and formerly of the trailblazing Roberta Martin Singers, passed August 2.  She was 85.

Tuesday night’s musical tribute was a celebration of lively music and hearty laughter as Lady Delois was fondly remembered for her vocal prowess, her elegance, and her endearing presence.  Musical salutes were given by Chicago’s First Church of Deliverance Choir, psalmist Tanya Ray, the Gospel Music According to Chicago (GMAC) Choir, and Quinton Washington, who sang in Jennifer Hudson’s absence.

Brown Sisters of Chicago
The Brown Sisters

In salute to Delois Barrett Campbell and The Barrett Sisters, who are cited as influences on today’s gospel sister groups, the sensational Brown Sisters took to the platform and immediately brought the crowd to its feet with a medley of the Barrett Sisters’ “I’ll Fly Away (Lord, Give Me Wings)” and “I’ve Got A New Home.”  The remaining sisters Rodessa Barrett Porter and Billie Barrett GreenBey stood, swayed, clapped, and grinned as the Browns led the celebratory audience down memory lane.

Other musical performances were given by the amazing Kim Stratton, Cathy Townsend, Rev. Issac Whittmon, Chris Gardner, Reginald Finley, Wooten Choral Ensemble, Penny Jeffries, Milas Armour, Pastor Ray Berryhill and Evangel World Outreach Ministries, Dexter Walker & Zion Movement and Lady Delois’s cousin Ron Barrett.

It was the Rev. Stanley Keeble’s recounting of Jessy Dixon’s “The Wicked Shall Cease from Their Troubling” that caused the church to explode in praise.  Keeble opted not to sing the song, but no sooner than he completed his remarks and laid the mic down, the church became one huge mass choir and broke spontaneously into the song’s chorus.  Pastor DeAndre Patterson, one of the evening’s emcees, brought Keeble back at least twice to sing the verses, and the house erupted in jubilation.  The Campbell daughters as well as Barrett Sisters member Tina Brown were among the many dancing in the spirit.  It was just the kind of rejoicing that Lady Delois would want – and perhaps prayed for – at her homegoing.

Sue Campbell-Ladd, daughter of Delois Barrett Campbell
Sue Campbell-Ladd

The evening was not without laughter as Lady Delois was remembered for her big hair and long eyelashes, her skills in the kitchen (especially her soul food), and her sense of humor.  The evening’s funniest remembrances were shared by her oldest daughter, Dr. Sue Campbell-Ladd, who recalled her mother’s enjoyment of talking on the phone, insistence that her daughters “learn to be on time,” and love of sports, particularly the Chicago Bulls.

“When my father would walk into the living room, he’d say, ‘What’s the score?’  My mother would say, ‘186 to 42.  The Bulls are winning.'”  The audience roared.  Ladd added, “They were always winning–to her.”

Other warm memories were expressed by gospel music historians Nash Shaffer and Professor L. Stanley Davis, radio personalities John Hannah and Effie Rolfe, Bishop Larry Trotter, and the evening’s emcees Pastor Patterson and Art Norman.  A host of notables were also in attendance.  Among those I spotted were Caravans members Inez Andrews and Delores Washington, Lady Lou Della Evans-Reid, Walt Whitman, Rev. Jolinda Wade, Ricky Dillard, Lexi, Pastor Dan Willis, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Calvin Bridges and Bishop Otto Houston, III.

In a rousing finale, the Barrett Sisters–Porter and GreenBey along with Tina Brown, who was hand-picked by Lady Delois as her stand-in vocalist–were escorted to the pulpit, donning the royal color of purple like the rest of their family and friends, to perform their popular number “Jesus Will,” backed by the Trinity United Church of Christ Choir.  The bereaved sisters were embraced by a standing congregation and uplifted by supernatural strength; in response, they delivered a healthy dose of encouragement in their own classy and musically excellent way.

‘Twas the night of a fitting tribute to a royal lady.


Wednesday’s homegoing service of nearly four hours was the continuance of celebration thanking God for the life and legacy of Delois Barrett Campbell.  Prominent clergy, politicians, and gospel singers came to pay homage while the main floor and balcony of the Trinity UCC sanctuary was again filled with family, friends, and admirers.

Anthony Heilbut
Anthony Heilbut

Among the numerous spoken-word tributes was a beautifully delivered recitation of “God Saw You Getting Tired” by Lady Delois’s 13 year-old granddaughter, Nailah Harris, and an audio message from the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin.  George Nierenberg, who directed the critically acclaimed 1982 documentary, Say Amen, Somebody, which skyrocketed the Barrett Sisters to international fame, shared accounts of his personal interaction with Lady Delois and her sisters during the making of the movie.  Anthony Heilbut, author of The Gospel Sound, escorted the congregation to yesteryear, playing Lady Delois’s very first solo recording with the Roberta Martin Singers in 1947, and her last, about 50 years later.  This was one of several highlights, as members of Wednesday’s audience could be heard saying, “Go ‘head ‘Lois,” “You betta sing!” and “That’s alright, Mama” while listening to her voice soar and then settle back into sheer sweetness on the recordings.

Romance Watson
Romance Watson

Other musical highlights include vocalist Kathy Taylor’s passionate delivery of “The Corinthian Song.”  It was rafter-rattling; many of the worshippers could have used a psalmic selah afterwards.  “He Looked Beyond My Faults,” a flawless performance by Lady Delois’s contemporary, Romance Watson of the famed Roberta Martin Singers, was accompanied by a thunderous standing ovation that continued as he exited the sanctuary.  (He apologized for being hoarse.)  I can only imagine that Lady Delois brought the house down in like fashion with her God-given singing virtuosity at the many funerals for which she sang through the years.

Daughters Mary and Sue
Daughters Mary and Sue

Angela Hunt, the Caravans’ Delores Washington, the Carson Sisters, Tina Brown of the Barrett Sisters, and Pastor DeAndre Patterson also comforted the family with musical selections between tributes, readings, and words of comfort from Trinity’s pastor, Rev. Otis Moss, III.  One special reading was a letter of condolence from President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama.

As the evening drew to an end, those “Sweet Sisters of Zion” graced the pulpit to perform the final musical tribute, “God Be With You Til We Meet Again.”  Despite being grief-stricken, when the Barrett Sisters opened their mouths, their countenances lifted and their harmonies rang.  As they approached the final notes of the song they’ve closed concerts with time and time again, Ladies GreenBey, Porter and Brown bowed.  It was a most moving moment for me.  This time, I sensed that they bowed not to receive recognition from their audience of admirers for a job well done. Rather, they bowed in salute to gospel music royalty – for her job well done.

The Barrett Sisters
Members of The Barrett Sisters singing group, Rodessa Barrett Porter (foreground), Billie Barrett Greenbey (right), and Tina Brown (left).

Delois's coffin exits sanctuary
Family and friends prepare for the recessional as Trinity’s choir sings “I’ve Got A New Home”.

Horse drawn carriage carries casket
Lady Delois is escorted to Oak Woods Cemetery, her resurrection site (as described by Apostle Richard Henton), on Thursday, in a horse drawn carriage.

Photos by photographer David Spearman where noted.  GMF thanks him for granting us permission to publish the photos with this story.

Gospel Legend Delois Barrett Campbell of The Barrett Sisters: Labor to Reward

Delois Barrett CampbellGMF learned from Bob Marovich at The Black Gospel Blog that gospel legend Delois Barrett Campbell of The Barrett Sisters and formerly of the Roberta Martin Singers entered into eternal rest today.  She was 85 years-old.

I cannot say enough about what Mother Delois meant to me on a personal level.  I have not known a more genuine, kind-hearted, faith-filled, and tenacious person.  Our conversations and exchanges are ones that I will keep private, hold dear, and cherish always.

Delois Barrett Campbell was rare and is irreplaceable.  I love you, Mother Delois.

The Campbell and Barrett families have our sincerest, heartfelt sympathy.  We do rejoice, however, that Mother Delois has gone from the labors and cares of this life to rest and reward.

Arrangements are as follows:

Musical Tribute
Tuesday, August 9th
7 PM
Trinity United Church of Christ
400 West 95th Street – Chicago

Wednesday, August 10th
6 PM
Trinity United Church of Christ

Homegoing Celebration
Wednesday, August 10th
7 PM
Trinity United Church of Christ

Thursday, August 11th
Oak Woods Cemetery

Please read more about her passing and career at The Black Gospel Blog and www.cbsnews.com.

Kirby Powell of gospel quartet, The Powell Tradition, has passed

GMF is sad to report that Kirby Powell, lead singer of Robersonville, NC quartet gospel group The Powell Tradition, passed Wednesday.  He was 29 years old.
The Powell Tradition is a family group consisting of brothers and cousins who were exposed to music as toddlers and who have been singing together as The Powell Tradition for more than 24 years. The group’s recordings include It’s Been Too Long and Personal Diary.

At the time of Powell’s passing, the group was prepping for an appearance on Bobby Jones Gospel next month as well as a live CD/DVD recording this fall.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Kirby’s wife and his entire family, friends, and The Powell Tradition.

Funeral Arrangements:

Saturday, July 23 
6-8 PM
Roberson Chapel
4014 US Hwy 64, Robersonville, NC 

Sunday, July 24
2 PM
South Creek High School (formerly Roanoke High)
21077 Hwy 903, Robersonville, NC

Funeral Arrangements for Bishop F.C. Barnes of “Rough Side of the Mountain” Fame

Arrangements for Bishop F.C. Barnes have been announced by Glessa Morris, booking manager for Luther Barnes Song Ministries.  Barnes passed Monday morning.  He was 82. (See related post here.)

Memorial Service
Friday, July 15th
7-9 PM
Red Budd Holy Church
1108 Luper Street – Rocky Mount
Saturday, July 16th
11 AM
Red Budd Holy Church

Arrangements are by Hamilton Funeral Chapel in Wilson, NC.

Bishop, singer, and patriarch Barnes has passed

GMF is sad to report that Bishop Faircloth Barnes passed early this morning.

Bishop F.C. Barnes was the founder of Red Budd Holy Church in Rocky Mount, NC.  He is most recognized, however, for his rise to gospel music fame in 1983 with the blockbuster hit, “Rough Side of the Mountain,” recorded with Rev. Janice Brown.

Singing was seemingly always a family affair for the bishop.  Through the years, in addition to his own group, Bishop F.C. Barnes and Company (his nieces), Bishop Barnes was featured on projects with Luther Barnes, his son; The Sunset Jubilaires, his brothers; and the Red Budd Gospel Choir, which consists of his granddaughter, nieces, and other family and friends.  His sons Samuel, Melvin, and Tony were musicians on several of the recordings.

Recently, Bishop Barnes appeared on Darrell Luster’s (God is God) He Won’t Change album, putting his signature down home flavor on the title cut.

Please keep the entire Barnes family as well as the church family in your thoughts and prayers.

GMF will post arrangements as information becomes available.  Update: Arrangements have been announced.  Click here for service times.

Viola Crowley of the Clara Ward Singers has passed

Joseph Middleton of The Golden Era Gospel Blog reports the passing of Viola Crowley of the famed Clara Ward Singers.  Crowley sang lead on several of the group’s songs including “Traveling Shoes” and “We’re Marching to Zion,” in addition to serving as the group’s pianist for a time.  Read The Golden Era Gospel Blog’s announcement here:  R.I.P., Viola Crowley of the Clara Ward Singers.

GMF sends its condolences to the family of Viola Crowley. 

 Photo:  The Clara Ward Singers with Elvis Presley in 1969.  Viola Crowley is fourth from the right (beside Presley).

Willie Carrington, founding member of The Mighty Harmonaires, goes from labor to reward

Willie Carrington

GMF extends its sympathy to the family of Mighty Harmonaires’ original member, manager, singer, and lead guitarist Willie Carrington, who passed away Wednesday, June 15th. 

Carrington founded the quartet group more than 40 years ago, which over the years has consisted of family and close friends.  Carrington’s son Richard, the group’s current lead guitarist, also served a brief stint with the Brooklyn Allstars as bassist.  In addition to their travels along the east coast, the Harmonaires are heard live each Sunday morning on Roxboro, NC’s WRXO (1430AM) and WKRX (96.7FM). 

Carrington will be remembered for his love of God, love of people, and love of music.  Below is the obituary from the Hester, Whitted & Daye Funeral Service website.



Deacon Willie Richard “Mena” Carrington, Jr., age 79 of 300 Newell Street in Roxboro left to be with the Lord on June 15, 2011 at Duke Medical Center. He was a life time member and Deacon of the Prospect Hill Baptist Church where he served for many years. 
He was the manager, leader and retired lead guitar player for The Mighty Harmonaires of Roxboro, NC for over 40 years. 
He leaves to cherish his memory two children–his daughter, Cynthia Petty and husband Steven; his son William “Richard” Lee Carrington, Sr. and wife Antoinette both of Roxboro, NC; and six grandchildren–Tiffany Cash (husband Steve); William Richard Lee Carrington, Jr. “RJ” (wife Terri); Cinzia Petty, DeAngelo Lunsford, Stavonna Petty and Alicia Toler.  He is also survived by six great grandchildren.  Carrington is survived by three sisters–Essie Edwards of Baltimore, MD; Lucille Bailey and Virginia Lester of Roxboro, NC; two sisters-in-law–Hallie Blackwell of Roxboro, NC and Mattie Howard of New Jersey; three brothers-in-law–Gaither Williams, Jr. of Pennsylvania; Jerry Williams and Clarence Blackwell, Sr. both of Roxboro, NC. 
Saturday, June 18th
1-8 P.M. (the family will be at the funeral home 7-8 P.M.)
Hester, Whitted & Daye Funeral Service – 603 South Main St, Roxboro
Sunday, June 19th
2 P.M.
Prospect Hill Baptist Church – 301 Bethel Hill School Road, Roxboro

Funeral Services for Alfred “Gino” Smith of the Gospel Keynotes

Thanks to TBGB for passing along arrangements for Alfred “Gino” Smith, baritone singer for the Gospel Keynotes.  Smith passed Saturday, April 2, 2011, in Rochester, NY.

The funeral is today, Saturday, April 9, at 11am, at Rock of Ages-Christ Good Shepherd Church.  The church is on 1000 Winton Road North in Rochester.  Interment will be in Falls Cemetery.  Memories Funeral Home is in charge of the service.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to:
The Family of Alfred “Gino” Smith
c/o Memories Funeral Home
1005 Hudson Avenue
Rochester, NY 14621-3739

He is survived by his wife, Pat; three sisters; two brothers; six grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Funeral Services for Willie Claud Ligon, Brother of Mighty Clouds’ Joe Ligon

The homegoing service for Willie Claud Ligon will be Monday, April 11, 2011, at 10am, at Second Mt. Nebo Baptist Church.  The church is at 11118 Yukon Avenue, Inglewood, CA.  Interment will be in Inglewood Park Cemetery.  Services have been entrusted to Simpson Family Mortuary.

Ligon passed April 2, 2011.  He is the younger brother of Joe Ligon from the Mighty Clouds of Joy.