Sensational Nightingales to be inducted into NC Music Hall of Fame

The Sensational Nightingales are among seven artists to be inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame for 2017.

The Gales have been on the gospel highway for more than seven decades and are treasured both nationally and abroad.  “It’s Gonna Rain,” “Prodigal Son,” and “At the Meeting” remain among their most requested songs.

induction ceremony is set for October 19, 2017, at the Kannapolis Performing Arts Center in
Kannapolis, NC.  Other 2017 inductees are R&B singer/songwriter Anthony Hamilton, country singer/musician Bucky Covington, blues singer/guitarist Etta Baker, country songwriter/musician Jim Lauderdale, R&B songwriter/musician Richard Lewis Spencer, and bluegrass band The Steep Canyon Rangers.

Sensational Nightingales to give free live concert in Burlington – May 19

Mark your calendars for Thursday, May 19, 2016.  The Sensational Nightingales will appear live in concert at the Allred New Mission Baptist Church.  The service begins at 7:30 PM, and the church is located at 244 Kerr Chapel Road in Burlington, NC.

Admission is free, and a love offering will be received.

The service, hosted by James Dixon and Pastor Jimmy Richmond, also features gospel singer Evangelist Barbara Dixon.

Charles Johnson of the Nightingales, Revivers passes on

Charles JohnsonGMF is sad to share news of the passing of singer/musician/songwriter Charles Johnson, formerly of the Sensational Nightingales and Charles Johnson & The Revivers. Johnson passed this morning (Monday, October 6). He was 83 years old. He is survived by his wife and six children.

During my childhood, I regularly attended concerts featuring the Sensational Nightingales. Johnson was indeed one of the most unique and earnest voices in gospel quartet music.

Read more by Barbara Huffman and see homegoing arrangements at

The “Gospel Memories” Radio Show with host Bob Marovich will feature an extended set of Johnson’s recordings this Saturday (October 11).  The show airs at 10 am central time and can be streamed live at

The Sensational Nightingales to celebrate 67th anniversary – Nov. 3

Click flyer to enlarge

66th Anniversary of the Sensational Nightingales – Nov. 4, 2012

Brother Joseph “Jo Jo” Wallace and the Sensational Nightingales invite you to “praise the Lord Jesus” with them at their 66th anniversary appreciation celebration.  The event takes place this Sunday, November 4, 2012, at the Durham Amory, on the corner of Morgan and Foster Street, in downtown Durham, NC.

In addition to the ‘Gales, the Swanee Quintet, Brooklyn Allstars, and Luther Barnes and the Sunset Jubilaires are among the concert headliners.

The program starts at 3:30 PM (doors open at 2:30 PM).  Advance admission is $20 (at the door, $25).  Ticket purchase locations are listed on the flyer.
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Ernest James, formerly of the Nightingales and Hummingbirds, has died

James (bottom left) with ‘Gales

Death has visited the quartet community again this week.

The Black Gospel Blog’s Bob Marovich informed us of the passing of quartet veteran Ernest James, formerly of the Sensational Nightingales and the Dixie Hummingbirds.

GMF offers condolences to family and friends.

Earlier this week (June 25), GMF reported the passing of Ben Chandler, longtime member of the legendary Pilgrim Jubilees.

The Nightingales celebrate 65th anniversary with musical on Nov. 6

 Click flyer to enlarge for ticket information

Related Story
Recap: An Evening with Brother Joseph “JoJo” Wallace & Friends

Appreciation musical for Nightingales’ “JoJo” Wallace set for this Saturday

GMF reminds you to show your support for one of NC’s own pioneering gospel singers, Brother Joseph “JoJo” Wallace, lifelong singer and guitarist of the world renowned Sensational Nightingales.

What:  “An Evening with Brother Joseph Wallace and Friends”
When: Saturday, June 11, 2011, at 3 P.M.
Where:  Union Baptist Church, 904 N. Roxboro Street – Durham, NC
Admission: FREE; an offering will be received for the Joseph Wallace Scholarship Fund

You can read GMF’s recent post announcing the appreciation musical and guests here: Nightingales’ Joseph “JoJo” Wallace to be honored with musical celebration.

Pictured in the circa 1954-55 photo are, clockwise from top:  Willie “Bill” Woodruff, Carl Coates, Joseph “JoJo” Wallace, Ernest James, and Julius “June” Cheeks.   GMF thanks Opal Nations for verifying this caption.

Nightingales' Joseph "JoJo" Wallace to be honored with musical celebration

The Sensational Nightingales were one of the fiercest quartet-styled groups of gospel’s golden age, and he’s been singing and playing professionally with them since 1946, just as that era in gospel music history was budding.  On Saturday, June 11th, quartet legend Brother Joseph “JoJo” Wallace, who is still a lead singer and guitarist for the internationally known quartet will be celebrated for his 65 years of ministry with the group.
“An Evening with Brother Joseph Wallace and Friends” takes place at Durham, NC’s Union Baptist Church on 904 N. Roxboro Street and starts at 3:00 PM.  Tributes by The Sensational Nightingales, Darrell and Ricky Luster, John K. Thorpe, New Hope Person Baptist Church Male Chorus under the direction of Libra Nicole Boyd, The Hillian Sisters,  Billy Warden, Evangelist Carolyn Satterfield and others are planned.  A couple of surprise musical guests are also expected to pay tribute.
The event is free and everyone is invited; a freewill offering will be received.  Proceeds go to The Joseph Wallace Scholarship Fund.

Top: Pictured in the circa 1954-55 photo are, clockwise from top:  Willie “Bill” Woodruff, Carl Coates, Joseph “JoJo” Wallace, Ernest James, and Julius “June” Cheeks.   GMF thanks Opal Nations for verifying this caption.

Bottom:  Brother Joseph “JoJo” Wallace ministers in concert with The Sensational Nightingales.

North Carolina adds its name to roster of recording mass choirs

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever  

In a time when many choirs are taking a back seat to church praise teams and ensembles, North Carolina Community Mass Choir (NCCMC) is emerging as a fresh voice in its subgenre.   NCCMC (not to be confused with the North Carolina Mass Choir of the early 1990’s), may not be on your radar like Mississippi and Georgia Mass, but it certainly has an impressive team of singers and industry notables at its helm, starting with its visionary Dr. Thomas L. Walker. 

Walker is the pastor of Rocky Mount’s Ebenezer Baptist Church.  He is also a notable gospel singer, perhaps best known for his circa 1980 smash hit album One Day At A Time, which earned gold record status.  It was he who formed the choir in 2008 to sing for the National Black Caucus, at the request of Congressman G.K. Butterfield.  NCCMC was under the musical direction of James Bellamy and award-winning songwriter and super-producer Ray Braswell, Jr. (Keith “Wonderboy” Johnson & the Spiritual Voices, F.C. Barnes, Ministree, and others).  According to Braswell, who is the choir’s current president, NCCMC had a different moniker at that time.

“The choir was originally named The Promise Choir until leadership changed and I sought after reconstruction for the choir’s growth,” comments Braswell.  “Then I met with Malaco’s producer and artist, Darrell Luster of Durham, and great songwriter, Brian Foster of Henderson.”  

Darrell Luster, formerly of Charles Johnson & The Revivers and The Sensational Nightingales, is the choir’s CEO and primary lead vocalist.  Foster, who is also a musician and leader of the praise and worship group Josiah, is the vice president. Since its founding, NCCMC has performed on Bobby Jones Gospel, and has provided vocals on projects by The Sensational Nightingales (Live in Rocky Mount), Darrell Luster & F.C. Barnes (“He Won’t Change”), and Lil’ Blair & The Fantastic Heirs.  

More recently, the 30+ member choir completed its own debut recording, and according to Braswell, there is something on it for gospel music lovers of all kinds.

“We are taking choir music back to the roots to bring back the traditional sound,” he says.  “Our CD is full of traditional, praise & worship, and contemporary music, so it’s not just for the seasoned saints. It’s definitely for all listeners.”  

NCCMC is currently seeking additional voices as it preps for the upcoming CD release and a DVD recording. Braswell invites interested singers to choir auditions on Saturday, May 28, at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Rocky Mount.  Click the flyer above for details.