ANDRAE CROUCH ~ A SALUTE TO A MUSIC LEGEND
Music was and will always be my first love. This is not surprising being a preacher’s kid whose mother is a musician and was minister of music at my father’s church. Church was the beginning of music for many great music artists of all genres. I always loved the fact that mother could play the piano. I wanted to play as beautifully as she but could not grasp the skill of it.
One day, as a child, I remember seeing a man on television talking about how he was with his father at church when he was a child. Instructed to play the piano during a service, he went to the piano and God just gave it to him. He was able to play the piano. From that day on, during every choir rehearsal, I would go downstairs in the basement of the church, and sit on the piano, and beg God to bless me as he had blessed that man on the television. I would close my eyes and bang some notes out but never produced anything worth listening to. I guess that wasn’t my blessing to have. But I could sing.
The youth choir would march in on a song that I loved, “Soon and Very Soon. “ I was too young to be in the youth choir but begged my mother to change the age requirement so that I could sing that song and march in like the teenagers and my older cousins. She finally gave in.
There was another song that they would sing, “Take Me Back.” I was too young to understand the meaning of the song, but was aware the adults felt something special about it.
My mother would always cry when she would solo a song titled, “Through it All.” I couldn’t understand, then, why she would always cry when she sung those words. I, then, lived to be an adult.
My grandfather directed the male chorus. The male chorus at Second Baptist Church in Steubenville, OH, was extremely talented. They were excellent in all that they would sing, but I remember one song that they sang almost boastfully, titled, “We Are Not Ashamed.”
About 10 or so years ago, I joined the Word Church of God in Christ, in Columbus, OH, under the teaching of Pastor Eddie Tyes Parker, III. I quickly found that great teaching was only part of the package. Pastor Parker is a lover of music and it wasn’t long before I became a part of his music ministry. Being apart of his ministry, I learned that my pastor was not just a local preacher man. He travelled and ministered, not just to different cities and states, but countries, and had many friends and ministries internationally.
One of my pastor’s great friends happened to be the man whose inspiration and music had filled so much of my childhood. He was a man with tremendous talent and gift, represented well by nine Grammy awards. He was a man that had worked with and won the respect of iconic mainstream music artists such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Elton John. He was a pastor and was unmistakably inhabited by the spirit of God but still grounded enough to make time for fun, and laughter. This man was Pastor Andrae Crouch.
Pastor Crouch could sit, play, sing, and rehearse without exhaust. New songs poured out of him as if he were a lyrical fountain, creating chord progressions complex enough to keep the most magnificent of musicians duped at least for a little while. It was in meeting this man, that I found myself, in the company of and on stage with gospel greats that I had only seen on album covers, television, or heard playing through my parents’ car speakers or home stereo. Tramaine Hawkins, Tonex, Donnie McClurkin, and Sandra Crouch, Pastor Crouch’s sister, are just a few.
Pastor Crouch was the best man at the 25th anniversary and vow renewal of my pastor and his beautiful wife, Lady Teresa Parker. It was in a rehearsal for this event that Pastor Crouch shared a song he had been working on. It would become his most recent Grammy-nominated song, “Let the Church Say Amen.“ Being able to share time and space with him will forever be a priceless memory.
Pastor Andrae Crouch was truly a music legend. He will be greatly missed.