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Presence Of Young Singers Encouraging

By Charles Cooper

Hello everyone. Hope you’re having a good week.

Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the Arkansas Gospel Singing Convention at the Oak Bowery Baptist Church near Conway, Ark. This church has hosted the convention several times in recent years and they really go all out to make everyone welcome.

The food was excellent and plentiful and was served in their spacious fellowship hall. The church has a large auditorium and possibly the best acoustics I’ve seen in several years. I haven’t been active this year and from the people who came up to shake my hand and ask where I had been, they’ve noticed my absence.

Six other states, Alabama, Mississippi,Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma were represented. I got to meet a song writer, whose songs I have been familiar with ever since I’ve been singing, Doc Dooley from Greenville, Texas. He is eighty-nine years old and still going strong. He is one of the last of the old time Stamps Quartet and I learned of the death of a friend of his and mine, Loy Hooker.

Doc told me a story about how he and his brothers, all singers and musicians, reacted when he was a teenager. He had written a song and asked his brother what he thought. His brother told him that he had better wait until he knew more before attempting to write a song. It’s ironic that nobody ever heard of his brothers, but the name Doc Dooley has been known for over sixty years in gospel music.

My old friend, Marty Phillips, owner of Jeffress-Phillips Music Company, and I directed a song together. His cousin, State Senator Jimmy Jeffress, and I had a long talk and he asked about Jamie, who had been one of his voice students when Jamie was a teenager.

My Cherokee friend from Oklahoma, David Leach, asked  where I had been all year. He is a good singer and promoter of gospel music.

Joe Windham from Longview, Tex., repeated the story to someone of how one of my columns went to someone in Mobile, Ala., who sent him a copy because I had mentioned his name in the column. Joe is a great promoter and travels to most of the southern state conventions. He is also  a good singer, with several CDs of his songs to his credit.

It was an all around good day for me.

Also, the National Gospel Singing Convention will be held in Nashville, Ark., this November and the president, Melba Bounds, invited me to attend.

There were several young singers and musicians in attendance and this is encouraging. The story I hear all over is that the singings are losing ground, as so many of the older ones are passing away and not enough young people seem to have interest in our  music. This is unfortunate because so many people have been influenced over the years by gospel music, including me. Today, our new pastor, David Mosley, told me that he credits southern gospel for leading him into the ministry.

I know some of you are saying that Cooper needs to get back to Yalobusha County. I’m doing just that in future columns. I know that Aaron Baddley has a lot of information that he is willing to share with me just as soon as I can get down to talk to him. I’m sure that many of you have memories that would be interesting, so let me hear from you.

My email address or write me at P. O. Box 613189, Memphis, TN 38101, and have a great week.

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