It is with a special delight that we recognize one of the most eloquent and effective ministries of the church. We speak, of course, of its ministry in music. At the heart of this ministry is our Senior or Sanctuary Choir.
There is no music to compare with that which utters praise unto God. Music has been the language of the angels. It is not without meaning, therefore, that the first Christian anthem was sung by a heavenly choir of angels. Its message was “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). Having rendered its service this choir returned to heaven. But through such choirs as ours and those of the past, its message continues to ring joyously through the earth.
Mark's Tabernacle Baptist Church choirs have a rich history. In 1945, the Mark’s Tabernacle Baptist Church Senior Choir was organized by Sis. Thelma Hunter Sims with eight members. Pianists from 1945 to the present included Sis. Thelma Hunter Sims (1945-75), Sis. Kay Finnell, Sis. Odessa Weeks, Bro. Tyrone Harrison, Bro. Gene Acree, Evangelist Susie Moore Carson, Bro. Steve Adams, and Sis. Dianne DuBose. Former members of the Senior Choir were as follows: prior to 1961: Sis. Mamie Stokes, H. T. Brittain ; (1961) Sis. Pearl Favors, Sis. Inez Shank, Sis. Jennie Wallace, Sis. Madeline Hunter Adams, Sis. Willie Mae Pope, Sis Thelma Hunter Sims, and Sis. Daisy Cleveland; (1962) Sis. Louise Laymon, Sis. Thelma Hunter Sims, Sis. Jennie Wallace, Sis. Mabel Hunter Curry, Sis. Johnnie Mae Mays, Sis. Madeline Hunter Adams, and Sis. Elizabeth Gresham. Sis. Homaselle Bradley and Sis. Verna Bradley sang in the choir but were members of Trinity Baptist Church, another one of Rev. Charles Turman’s churches.
In 1975, the Senior Choir president was Sis. Johnnie M. Mays, and in 1976 Sis Daisy Cleveland was Senior Choir president.
Other members who sang in the choir in the subsequent years were Sis. Kay Finnell, Sis. Peggy Ann Sims, Sis. Alicia Finnell, Sis. Erica Favors, Bro. Willie James Kennedy, Bro. Raymond Campbell, Sis. Dean Campbell, Sis. Betty Gartrell, Bro. Leroy Shank, and others.
In 2005, Rev. Pitts reorganized the church choir with some of our current choir members. After a brief vacancy, a mixed choir began to sing.
In 1968, the Primary/Junior Choir was organized by Sis. Kay Finnell. President of this choir was Bro. Willie James Kennedy, secretary was Sis. Peggy Miller, and Sis. Kay Finnell was advisor and pianist. Bro. Billy Gartrell was choir director. In 1977, Sis. Shirley Barksdale became secretary of this choir.
In 1994-95, Dea. Billy Gartrell, then Bro. Billy Gartrell, was choir director of the Youth Choir. Members of the choir at that time were: Cherelle Shank, Monique Pender, Tequilla Hill, Nish Hill, Shan Hill, Jeannie Booker, Tunisia Gartrell, Jennifer Shank, Shabakka Shank, and Monique-Trang Campbell.
In 2008, the choir was reorganized as the Youth Choir by Sis. Terri L. Thigpen and later directed by Bro. Maceo Mahoney.
Because of the encouragement of Sis.Wingfield, on March 5, 2012, the senior choir reorganized with Sis. Kay Finnell as president and Sis. Christine Wingfield as vice- president. Bro. Murray Butler was secretary, and Sis. Gladys Mays and Sis. Ann Sims as treasurer.
Sis. Christine Wingfield, President - 2017,18
Sis. Kay Finnell, Vice President- 2017,18
Sis. Erica Favors, Secretary-2017,18
Sis. Cherelle Wiggs, Treasurer
Dea. Arthur Wingfield - 2017,18
Dea. Albert Shank- 2017,18
Sis. Linda Campbell
Bro. Trodondric Anderson
Bro. Maceo Mahoney
Sis. Dianne DuBose, Minister of Music
Rev. Cornelius Williams - October, 2017,18
Bro. Darrieat DuBose, Percussionist- 2017,18
Bro. D’Mytri Wiggs, Percussionist
Dea. Murray Butler-2017
Sis. Alicia Finnell - 2018
Sis. Darien Todd - 2018
Back Row L-R: Dea. Murray Butler, Sis. Kay Finnell, Bro. Calvin Wylie, Sis.
Marcia Whimbush, Dea. Arthur Wingfield, Sis. Cherelle Wiggs, Dea. Albert Shank
Front Row L-R: Sis. Erica favors, Sis. Christine Wingfield, Sis. Margene Wylie.
Couple in Front: Pastor and Mrs. LaRay Tillman