Mon Jun 18
12387 Cedar Road
Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
Join us as celebrate and explore the agony and ecstasy of gospel music on Monday, June 18 when Dr. David Thomas will deliver a “Master Class” on the history of gospel music. This will be a multi-media event, with video and sound clips, as well as a gospel choir on the legendary Nighttown stage.
Join us as celebrate and explore the agony and ecstasy of gospel music when Dr. David Thomas will deliver a “Master Class” on the history of gospel music. This will be a multi-media event, with video and sound clips, as well as a gospel choir on the legendary Nighttown stage.
By its very definition, the term gospel means 'good news,’ music that is deeply rooted in the rich traditions of the African-American church. During the late 1800s, African-American churches in the southern United States started fusing various styles of music into their worship services, including African-American spirituals, hymns, and sacred songs. At the heart of the gospel music tradition was the use of a choir. The types of music sung by the gospel choir followed the call-and-response format similar to that used in traditional hymns and sacred songs.
The traditional structure of gospel music changed in the late 1930s with the birth of ‘gospel blues,’ which combined blues and jazz with traditional gospel music. Later on came other variations, including ‘gospel quartet,’ ‘contemporary gospel,’ ‘praise and worship’ and in the late ‘50s and early 1960s, ‘soul music’ appeared, as best exemplified by the music of Ben E. King (Stand by Me), Aretha Franklin and many other Motown and soul artists.
Dr. David Thomas has a Bachelor and Master degrees in Music Education from Case Western Reserve, as well as a Master degree in Music Composition from Cleveland State University. David did post-graduate work at the Royal Holloway College (U.K.), Camden University (London), then completed his course of studies in the doctoral Music program at Kent State University.
David is a piano, organ and keyboard specialist with the ability to play five other instruments. Music, composed by David Thomas for choir and orchestra, entitled “The Creation Sermon”, had excellent reviews and repeat performances by popular demand. He has directed The Cleveland Chamber Symphony Orchestra. He is co-author of a book entitled “A Child’s First Book of Spirituals”, which is the recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award.
David has toured with Major Harris and recorded with the world renowned Saxophonist Phil Woods & The Saint Thomas Quartet. He has performed with other artists including Jennifer Holiday, Roz Ryan, James Cleveland, Dizzy Gillespie, Albert Ayler, Jean Carne, David Ruffin, Grover Washington, David Sanborn, and Gerald Levert.
David is a member of the music staff at Southeast Seventh Day Adventist Church. He served as the director of music at the Morning Star Baptist, Saint Timothy Baptist and Associate Minister of Music at Olivet Institutional, and Liberty Hill Baptist Church. He is presently a worship leader at South Euclid United Church of Christ, a faculty member at Richmond Heights Schools System and music director of the Cleveland All-City performance after school program.