In July of 1976, my mother, Elouise J. Brown was allowed by God to form the first Gospel Choir at BAFB. By “Gospel Choir”, I mean in the realm of the black worship experience in America.
My parents had served as church pianists for years in Charleston, SC from preteens to young adults. Mom had formed or served with children’s choirs at the various bases that we lived at over the years and played and sang with Cantata and other choirs. WE, her children, we’re members of choirs since we could walk and talk. but her tradition of music, Gospel music, had generally remained at home.
My mother, even in a wheelchair, is a hard working woman. She has done hair, taught Sunday School, been awarded several commendations for her volunteer work and helped my father in his 31 year career in the Air Force. She still creates jewelry, bangles, bows and corsages, boutonnieres and other crafts to give away, or for church events. She helps the crochet and knitting teacher at her Senior Center to teach others to enjoy her favorite work short of music.
Until recently, she had continued to play for the Agape Choir, the children’s choir she had formed in the 80s . Even though we belonged to another church, my daughter sang her first solo as a three year old for the Agape Choir. She stopped singing with the gospel choir about four years ago as her voice gave out. My Mom has had three heart attacks and a stroke over a ten year period. Every day that she rises is a miracle!
This 40th anniversary is a bittersweet celebration. You can’t have a 40 year marriage without some fussing and fighting. A separation occurred for a while. She went back. She couldn’t help it. She loved that child too much to stay gone.
I was her first soprano, and occasional tenor. There were six of us, including the pianist. We grew to a high of 50 over the years, collapsing to about 20 now. I still call this my choir. I’ve moved in, but the desire to serve God as a psalmist never left me. My mother put that desire there.
She may not realize it, but her struggle to start and nurture the choir was my example for a career, volunteerism and teachung. If God told you to do it, nothing will stop you. If you have a desire to do something, nothing will stop you And – when it is time to let it go, move in. The next thing is coming, and nothing will stop you.