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Memorial Service announced for Kenny Taylor; musical tributes held this weekend

Industry icon Kenny Taylor dies

Kenny Taylor

The memorial service for Kenny Taylor, will be held July 12 at First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Upper Marlboro, MD. The services for the musician, promoter, manager and producer will take place at 7 p.m. The memorial, the official family remembrance will culminate activities that have celebrated Taylor’s life since his passing on on Saturday, May 27.

A musical tribute was held Sunday, June 11 by the Music Ministry of Greater First Baptist Church (GFBC) in Washington, D.C., where Taylor had served as a musician since 2015.  As Taylor’s mother and father looked on, friends and fellow musicians paid tribute to Taylor.

Dr. Viola Bradford served as worship leader and said about Taylor, “He was a conventioneer,  a great supporter of our conventions.” She went on to say, “He supported everybody and their ministry.”

There were musical selections the Men’s Choir and the Gospel Choir of Greater Faith.  Dr. Blanche Hammond, GFBC minister of music lent direction and GFBC organist Janet Johnson musical support to the choirs. Lula McLaughlin sang, “I Never Lost My Praise” which seemed to epitomize Kenny Taylor who was known for his infectious smile and laughter.

First Lady Bonita Ridley performed a stirring solo, a song that Kenny Taylor had picked for her to solo as part of the choir. Lucius Manley sang, “Grace,” one of the last songs that Taylor taught the choir. The choir has sung “Grace” every Sunday since his passing.

Organists Harold Watson, Rev. Willie B. Allen and Solomon Sparrow gave their melodious offerings to the tribute with Sparrow taking to the piano for a rousing medley of songs.

Solomon Sparrow plays in tribute to Kenny Taylor

Solomon Sparrow plays a medley of songs

Ron Magnus, General Counsel, GMWA and Chairman D.C., Host Committee, Gospel Music Heritage Month Celebration, paid tribute to Kenny (who faithfully served on the committee) and recalled the many artists Taylor was connected to, including Dottie Peoples. Magnus said it seemed that Kenny knew everyone.

Ron Magnus speaks at Kenny Taylor tribute

Ron Magnus pays tribute to his friend, Kenny Taylor

Dr. Emory Andrews spoke in tribute and remembered the support Taylor gave to him and the Oxon Hill Choir. Andrews took to the piano to sing in memory of his friend.

Dr. Emory Andrews plays piano at tribute

Dr. Emory Andrews plays in tribute to Kenny Taylor

Mother Shirley M. K. Berkeley spoke on behalf of the national and local Gospel Music Workshop of America. She recalled meeting Kenny as a youth and his interest in music.  Mother Berkley said, “Kenny may not have been a recording artist, but he had an art, which makes him an artist.”

Rev. Nathaniel Morris drove in from New York to pay his homage to his friend. Morris, the original soloist for “God Is” with Rev. James Cleveland sang the classic with passion and brought the room to its feet.

Nathaniel Morris sings God Is

Rev. Nathaniel Morris sings ‘God Is’

Dr. Winston Ridley, Jr., GFBC pastor closed out the evening after the choir offered a resolution to Deacon and Mrs. Taylor. Dr. Ridley spoke of Taylor’s eternal home and said, “There’ll always be worship in heaven,” and that Kenny Taylor’s love for music would continue.

Dr. Ridley and the Taylors at Kenny Taylor tribute

L-R: Solomon Sparrow, Dr. Hammond, Deacon Taylor, First Lady Ridley, Dr. Ridley, Ron Magnus and Mrs. Taylor after the musical tribute

In Baltimore, MD, gospel music singer, Eric Waddell & The Abundant Life Singers paid tribute to their Manager and friend. The tribute was dubbed, “The Hour of Power: The Kenny Taylor Edition.”

First Baptist Church of Glenarden is located at 600 Watkins Park Dr., Upper Marlboro, MD.

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