September 27, 2020 would have been choir day for the New St. James Sr. Choir, which has had a long and prestigious history with the church, Wynne, Cross County, and the surrounding area.
The choir has served as the foundation of the church’s music ministry.
The New St. James Choir was formed in 1950 after being a part of the Miles Chapel CME church choir. The choir first started by sing songs by notes reading notes from hymn books. So God gave someone the vision for St. James to start it’s own choir.
Mother Ellen Pearson Jeffery was one of the great pioneers that help get the choir started after she came to New St. James from Union Valley.
For many years New St. James had only two (2) choirs. The Sr. Choir and the Jr. Choir, which Mother Ellen Jeffery started many years ago, with some of the members who currently sing in the choir still to this day.
After Pastor E. N. Johnson was elected in June of 1991, New St. James began to grow, and with that growth, three other choirs were formed. New St. James’ music ministry now consists of four choirs: the Sr. Choir, the Male Chorus, the Young Adult Choir and the Jr. Choir.
The Sr. Choir once had a guest appearance many years ago on the Rev. Oris Mays Gospel Show that use to air every Sunday morning on Channel 5. Also, for years under the leadership of Pastor Stegall, the choir had a standing invitation every May to travel to Kansas City, Kansas to fellowship with Rev. Elijah & First Lady Fredell Collins at the Mt. Calvary MB Church.
Musicians and Directors
The Sr. Choir has had many anointed and talented musicians throughout the years.
Among them were Bro. Neal Williams, Bro. Shaw, Rev. John Easter, Rev. Nathaniel Hull, Rev. Waymon McKissick, Bro. Jonathan Griggs, Bro. Greg Franks, Sis. Sirica McKissick, Bro Jamar Haggans, Bro. John & Bro. David Pruitt, Rev. Isaac Taylor, and Bro. Michael Oates.
As of 2020, drummer Sis. Tiffany Jackson, bassist Bro. Torey Turner, and pianist Bro. Brandon Tabor serve at the choir’s musicians.
Choir directors included: Mother Ellen Jeffery, Sis. Pearl Irby, Sis. Mary Ann Moore, Sis. Carolyn Jackson, Sis. Cathy Williams, and Sis. Frankie Tabor.
As of 2020, Bro. Brycial Williams serves as the choir’s director.
Choir Members Past & Present
The Sr. Choir has had many members that were pioneers as well and they have gone on to see the Lord and sing in His heavenly choir:
- Bro. Claude “Boy” Harris
- Bro. Tony Hinton
- Sis. Forrestine Williams
- Sis. Bertha Lee Sublett
- Sis. Lillie Caffey
- Sis. Emma English
- Sis. Jennie Lee Butts
- Bro. Robert Futch
- Sis. Dorthula “Ms. Dot” Settles
- Sis Pearlie May Irby
- Bro. Frank Settles
- Sis. Joyce Ann Marrs
- Sis. Rosie Lee Everett
- Bro. Redell Cummings Sr.
- Sis. Clarice Baldwin
- Bro. Ceasar Hubbard
- Sis. Carcena Hall
- Sis. Bernice Oates
- Sis. Bertha Wren
- Bro. James Williams
- Sis. Erma Williams
- Sis. Mary Lou Heard
- Sis. Lois Turner
As of 2020, a few of the original members of the Sr. Choir who are still around include Sis. Gennie Williams, Sis. Willie B “Pee Wee” Marrs and Sis. Mary Ann Moore. Sis. Moore remains an active member who is still singing with the choir and serves as the current president.
Other former notable choir members who served an integral part of the choir’s history include: Sis. Gloria Lofton; Sis. Mary Ishmon; Sis. Ruby Bolden; Sis. Marilyn Tucker; Sis Alice Cummings; Sis. Wanda Moore Little; Sis. Vella Jeffery; Sis. Stephanie Moore; Sis, Bobbie Jean Williams; Sis. Clemie Irby; Sis. Carolyn Morris; Bro. Charles Wren; Bro. Charles Marrs; Sis. Judy Marrs; Sis. Ann Crutcher; Sis. Lou Bertha Sikes; Sis. Pearlie Flowers; Evangelist Eulene Carter; Sis. Gloria Carter; Sis. Sandra Carter Futrell; Sis. Donna Gatlin; Sis. Jalisa Marrs and Sis. Tamika Leak; just to name a few.
The officers for this choir for 2020-2021 are president Sis. Mary Moore; vice president Sis. Mary Jackson; secretary and treasurer Sis. Ester Johnson-El; and choir director Bro. Brycial Williams.
All of our past and present choir members, choir directors, musicians and pastors, has been very instrumental in making up the history of this great body of worshipers.
The choir would like to take this time to thank all of you as well for being a part of our choir history.
What memories from the choir do you treasure the most? What songs they have sung do you wish you could hear right now that could help you through this pandemic? Please leave a comment below.
Sis. Frankie Tabor contributed to this article.