The Department of Music is under the day-to-day leadership, guidance and oversight of Leona Fitzhugh, the Director of Music.
The purpose of the Department of Music is to provide music for regular and special programs of the Church and to provide musicians for all services. This includes providing oversight, execution and coordination of a well-rounded program of music to meet the diverse tastes and interests of the Mount Carmel membership. Components of a well-rounded program include: (1) multiple choirs or choral groups spanning a wide range of age groups of the membership and singing a variety of types of religious and spiritual music; (2) vocal and instrumental education and training; and (3) continuous music appreciation events, programs, information and experiences for members and the community.
The Choirs of Mount Carmel
The Mount Carmel Baptist Church has five choirs under its Department of Music. These diverse groups are the Gospel Chorale Ensemble, the Gospel Chorus, the Male Chorus, the Sanctuary Choir, and the Children and Youth Choir. The music they perform includes anthems, spirituals, great hymns of the church, traditional and contemporary gospel. Each singing aggregation brings varied forms of music expressions that lend a well-balanced music program to the church.
The Gospel Chorale Ensemble
The Gospel Chorale Ensemble was organized in 1969 and received in 1970. The group of young people who desired to study God’s word was known as the “Secret Place”. A few members approached Reverend Patterson to add a gospel choir to the Music Department. The choir chose Deacon Lamont Flowe as Director. The Ensemble rendered service in singing ministry throughout the United States. It developed an evangelistic ministry, prayer partner plan, and it witnessed the calling of nine members to the preaching ministry. Persons who served on the music staff are Reverend J. Curtis McLean, Robert Bates, Charles Kelly, Josepha Hammond, Henry Osborne, Reverend Nolan Williams, Jr., Paul Cleveland, Patricia Harris and Sandra Collins. The Ensemble served under Director/Accompanist Leona Lowery, until the return of Deacon Flowe to Directorship. The choir’s motto is, “God Never Fails”.
The Gospel Chorus
The Gospel Chorus was formed in 1927 under Rev. William H. Jernagin. A group of singers from various churches in the community met with members of Mount Carmel and organized the Community Chorus. Later, this chorus was changed to the Mount Carmel Gospel Chorus. Directors and pianists who served the chorus were Bertie Earle, Reverend Dearing King, Reverend Moses Beasley, Willie Edmunds, Rev. H.V.C. Diggs, Dr. Otrie Hickerson Smith, Albert Jones, Dorothy J. Davis, Christine Glover, Gloria Lewis, Arnold Lee, Edith Pettus, Henry Osborne, Louise Wilkerson, and Deacon Lamont Flowe and Leona Lowery. The choir has been selected as “Choir Emeritus” status.
The Male Chorus
The Male Chorusstarted in 1950 at the end of Rev. William H. Jernagin’s era. This group of men was organized under the direction of the late Malcolm J. Taylor, Sr. Men were drawn from the fellowship to utilize their musical skills and talents. Over the years these men have rendered service at churches throughout the metropolitan area. Musicians and directors who served the choir were Malcolm Colbert, Jr., Arnold Lee, Albert Jones, Rev. Nolan Williams, Jr., Leona Lowery and Deacon Lamont Flowe.
The Sanctuary Choir
The Sanctuary Choir (formerly the Senior and Chancel Choirs – combined in 1989). This choir has well over 70 years of church music history. Many members grew up within the walls of Mount Carmel from childhood to adulthood. The choir was formed to bring Christian unity and skill and talented members together under the directorship of dedicated leaders such as the late Daisy M. Young, Malcolm Taylor, Sr., Fleming W. Brown, Willie Toye, Whyethia Knight, Dorothy J. Davis, Edward Jackson, Samuel Bonds, Louise Wilkerson, James Taylor, Alton Street and Michael Clarke, Ph.D., who over the course of time have continued to keep the spirit of great music alive in our church. The choir is currently under the directorship of Leona Lowery-Fitzhugh.
The Children and Youth Choir
The Children and Youth Choir. Our young people choirs have served our church music life for many decades. Stemming from the Sunday Church School, Junior Church, Children Prayer Meetings and other children and youth endeavors, music play an important role in all programs geared to the young. Over the years choirs were developed under the leadership of Marion Redd, Doris Seymour, Christine Glover, Wyethia Knight, Betty Dixon, Gloria Jackson, Otrie Hickerson, Patricia Harris, Louise Wilkerson, Dorothy J. Davis, Deacon Lamont Flowe, Rev. Nolan Williams, Jr., Gloria Renee Williams, Josepha Hammond, Robin Jones, and Julie Taylor. The goal of the choir is to prepare and develop future leaders in the field of music as we serve the church of God.
Deacon Lamont Flowe currently serves as the Director of the Gospel Chorale Ensemble, the Male Chorus, and the annual Brotherhood Choir.
Choir alumni return for the annual Choir Day celebration.
The Department of Music hosted a special concert honoring Nelson Mandela.
Guest drummers perform with Mount Carmel percussionist James Parker, Jr. (right).