Psalm 100 in the King James Version reads: “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands; Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.”
What began as the vision of three men, all with roots in Pittsburg, has, in less than two years, swelled to more than 20 members. Rev. Jerral Walker, Rodney Neal and Wayne Wallace wanted to create a gospel choir that would include local God-fearing men. In November of 2015, the three men did just that forming the Morris County Male Chorus.
“When I came to this area to pastor (at the Union Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Omaha), God gave me a vision to pastor for the community and I reached out to different men from various churches in the area,” Walker said. “I talked to them and told them what I would like to get started. All of a sudden God blessed us and we went from three to 21.”
The Morris County Male Chorus includes local pastors Jerral Walker, Lon Buford, Shawn Brunson, Anthony Walker and Albert Henderson and Bishop Charlie Young as well as members Dennis Martin, Roy Gilmore, Paul Hall, Rodney Neal, Wayne Wallace, H.B. Barber, Alford Mitchell, James Barnner, Kenny Webster, Jake Ingram, Shawn Hines, Paul Parker, Thomas Rodgers, Jeremy Hollaway and Adrea Washington. Musicians for the group include Christian Buford, drummer, and Finetta Ivy, who plays the piano.
Our youngest member, Christian Buford, will be a junior at Paul Pewitt High School this fall,” Walker said. “We are hoping in the near future there will be other young men who want to join. Christian has given us a lot of life and I love Sister Ivy as she has to put up with us men.”
Chorus members, which include six pastors and seven deacons, represent several area churches including Union Chapel and Omaha First Baptist and Naples’ churches Norris S. Curry CME, Williams Chapel Baptist, Now Faith Baptist and Morning Star Baptist Church. Members also represent New Life Baptist Church in Pittsburg and the New Victory Church in Daingerfield.
“It makes it very special to have all these pastors who are Godly shepherds for their Lord,” Walker said. “Our main goal is to make a huge impact in the Naples-Omaha area. Our group has grown because the men saw we were leaders for Christ and they got involved and joined us.”
“Our music ministers to the community,” Walker said. “We want it to have an impact on the lives of those who do not know Jesus in the communities and abroad and encourage the ones who do know Jesus. We don’t have a lot of funds, but once we get to where we have more funds, we want to impact the lives of the poor and needy. We want to reach out to as many people as we can regardless of their ethnic background or where you come from. We want to show love as we worship.”
Walker, a 1983 Pittsburg High School graduate, attended the University of North Texas and later moved to Houston and became a licensed barber. After several years, the Camp County native moved back home with his wife, Georgia, a Morris County native, to raise a family. Some 12 years ago, he answered God’s call and entered into the ministry. At the time, he was under the leadership of Rev. Patrick Lloyd at the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Pittsburg. Seven years ago, he became Union Chapel’s leader.
“When I look back at my life, I’m so thankful for God’s mercy,” Walker said. “I just hope my story can help others. What we are doing with the Male Chorus is about way more than just singing. We want to save lives for Christ.”
The group plans to continue traveling to other neighboring churches to sing and also has plans of providing a scholarship to the Morris County senior with the highest GPA in 2018.
“We want to do what we can first in our own backyards, but we also want to be active throughout the community,” Walker said. “For these young people, there’s so much out there for them to get into that’s not good so we want to do whatever we can to deter them and encourage them.”
The male chorus practices every other Wednesday night at Union Chapel Baptist Church. Anyone who would like to join the Morris County Male Chorus is asked to contact Rev. Walker at (903) 960-2896 or any of the pastors at the other churches.
By MARLENE BOHR