The Master Singers

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  • I'm Gonna Sing 'Til The Spirit Moves Moses Hogan
  • Hear My Prayer Moses Hogan
  • Live A Humble Trad. arr. Jester Hairston
  • I Want Jesus Trad. arr. Jester Hairston
  • Poor Man Lazrus Trad. arr. Jester Hairston
  • Oh, Rocka My Soul Trad. arr. Jester Hairston
  • Hold On! Trad. arr. Jester Hairston
  • In Dat Great Gittin' Up Mornin' Trad. arr. Jester Hairston
  • i Odense - Amen arr. Jester Hairston
  • We Shall Walk Through The Valley In Peace arr. Moses Hogan
  • Abide With Me Lyte/Monk, arr. Moses Hogan
  • I'll Make the Difference Moses Hogan
  • The Battle Of Jericho Trad. arr. Moses Hogan
  • Like a Mighty Stream Hogan/Jacobson, arr. Moses Hogan
  • Elijah Rock Trad. arr. Moses Hogan
  • My Soul's Been Anchored Trad. arr. Moses Hogan

Jester Hairston (1901-2000)

Born in a time and place where Jim Crow laws prevailed and both the segregation and disenfranchisement of blacks was commonplace, the North Carolina native was born the grandson of slaves. Jester Hairston's grandparents worked the fields of the Hairston Plantation in Belew's Creek. His parents left the South in search of greater instructive opportunities for their young son, migrating north to Homestead Pennsylvania in the early 1900's.

Despite the systematic economic, educational, and social hurdles he faced, Hairston would go on to graduate as a cum laude music major from Tufts University, attend the famed Juilliard Institute of Music, and eventually become one of the greatest choral music directors of our time. As a composer, conductor, actor and educator, what Jester Hairston left behind was a gift to all people – music and film-buffs, seekers of equality and freedom, and more broadly, teachers and learners of "the arts" – we were bequeathed with his love of music.

Dr. Hairston was most notably known for his work in assisting in the choral arrangement for renowned Broadway musicals like "Green Pastures," and "Carmen Jones," as well as the composition of "Amen" from Sidney Poitier's "Lillies of the Field." He landed roles on popular radio and television comedy series like "Amos and Andy" in 1951,"Tarzan's Hidden Jungle" in 1955, and "Amen" in 1986. Many of the characters he portrayed were seen as demeaning to African-Americans, but Jester Hairston made no apologizes for his choices. "We had a hard time then fighting for dignity . . . We had no power. We had to take it, and because we took it the young people today have opportunities," said Dr. Hairston.

In his dynamic lifetime, Dr. Hairston composed or arranged over 300 gospel Spirituals for many popular Hollywood films, worked with famed actors and composers like John Wayne and Dimitri Tiomkin, and in 1937 became one of the founding Black members of the Screen Actors Guild.

The Jester Hairston story is one that is filled with triumphant highs and disparaging lows. His journey has led him to far away lands: transcending stereotypes and blazing the trail for others who dare to follow. But after peeling back all of the distinctions that have come from a lifetime of honors, awards, and achievements, you will find that Jester Hairston is still embraced, celebrated, and remembered as a lover of people with a melodic soul for spiritual music.


Moses Hogan (1957-2003)

A native of New Orleans, Moses Hogan spent most of his career in that city except for music studies (principally piano) at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and The Juilliard School. He also studied at Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge) and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. He won first place in the 28th annual Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Competition in New York and soon achieved an international reputation as pianist, conductor, and arranger.

Hogan was one of America’s most admired choral arrangers of the younger generation, building on the tradition of predecessors like Harry T. Burleigh and R. Nathaniel Dett. He founded the acclaimed Moses Hogan Singers in 1993, and was subsequently appointed Artist-in-Residence at Dillard University in New Orleans. In 1995 he arranged and performed several pieces for the PBS documentary The American Promise. At the height of his career, he died unexpectedly on February 11, 2003 at the age of 45.

Hogan’s sensitive settings, more contemporary in sound than those that held sway for decades, are accessible without sacrificing dignity. They have become favorites of high school, college, church, community, and professional choirs, as well as with audiences worldwide. In addition, his arrangements have been generously praised by critics in the New York Times and Gramophone magazine, among others.

Surely one of his finest legacies was editing the Oxford Book of Spirituals, first published in 2001 and recognized today as one of the most comprehensive anthologies of spirituals ever assembled.

Source: National Endowment for the Arts (