It is with great sorrow and deep sympathy that I announce the passing of one of my greatest influences in music Professor Alfred White. I was either 18 or 19 when I was introduced to the world’s famous Institutional Church of God in Christ located in Brooklyn New York.
I remember going to that church for the first time for one of their Sunday night radio broadcasts along with some church friends of mine. I was told that their services and choirs were off the hook.
When we arrived at the church, cars were lined up for blocks at a time. Getting out of the car you could hear people inside the church praising God to the highest.
I couldn’t wait to get inside. Once in, the choir was up singing. I never heard a choir sing like that in life. Under the leadership and Pastor, the late Bishop Carl E. Williams Sr., this church welcomed all denominations of people.
I was amazed to see people from Broadway plays, celebrities, recording artists, actors, etc.
This was the church to be in on Sunday nights. Me being a keyboard player and an organist in my home church checked out the musicians who were accompanying the choir.
I listened carefully and immediately I had to know who was the organist? I’ve never in my life heard or seen anybody on the planet as tasteful, soulful and just plain funky as Professor Alfred White.
It was then I realized what great gospel playing was all about. Alfred changed my life musically forever. It’s because of him I’m able to hear music from a whole new perspective. I’ve attended Sunday night services after that for the next 12 years.
Along with his brother, director, composer, producer and Bishop Professor J. C. White director of the choir, they were known as the Dynamic Duo. There’s Batman and Robin, The Green Hornet and Kato, and then theirs J.C. White and Alfred White.
Can’t use one without the other. After service I introduced myself and told the Professor that I would see him next Sunday for Sunday morning service.
I told him I was a keyboard player as well and would love to jam with him after church. Immediately after church I approached Professor White and asked him was he ready to jam. He said wait until everyone leaves so we can play without interruption.
He didn’t seem to interested at the time to jam with me, but once we started playing together, which was over an hour, we clicked like peanut butter and jelly. We exchanged numbers and became close friends and eventually Brothers from another Mother.
After a short while I met his daughter Desire’ White who sang and recorded with the world’s famous Institutional Children’s Choir. Desire’ recorded the hit song “How Much More”.
Desire’ as you know is the original member of Don Blackman and the Family Tradition. We released an album for GRP/Arista records back in 1982 entitled “Blackman”.
On a personal note, I for one have lost a Brother, a Friend, a Teacher and a Mentor. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends and the gospel world home and abroad. Please pray for his family in their time of sorrow.
God bless each and every one of you!
Click on anyone of these links to see the late Professor Alfred White on the organ with the original Institutional Church of God in Christ Radio Choir perform “One More Day” “Anchor By and By” and “Hold On”.