REV. ANTHONY B. VINSON SR. , International Director of Music & Christian Arts Ministry for the AME Church . Director, AME Mass Choir. Anthony B. Vinson, Sr. is a native of Indianapolis, IN and matriculated at The New England Conservatory of Music and at Boston University School of Theology. He has served in Music Ministry for over 30 years and has 13 years of pastoral experience. He presently serves as the Minister of Music for the St. John AME Church in Aurora, IL as well as providing musical and artistic leadership for the Fourth Episcopal District and the Chicago Annual Conference of the AME Church. He now serves at the Director of Music & Arts at St. John AME Church, Aurora, IL.
MELONIE DANIELS WALKER– Masterful agility, unbelievable pitch accuracy, soothing tone quality, and a five (5) plus octave range are the words that quantify the voice of Melonie Daniels. Born with an incredible instrument, Melonie quickly found her niche in the arena of music. She was able to forge her signature sound during her formative years as a budding vocalist in the local church and school choirs. She later seasoned her craft with the group David Gates & Love, Peace, and Joy Singers. Melonie Daniels has amassed a wealth of musical knowledge through study and experience. Melonie’s musical expertise secured her position as the Chief Background Vocalist, Vocal Director, and Vocal Arranger for Mariah Carey, where she worked diligently during her twelve (12) year tenure. With Mariah, Melonie made several major television appearances such as the Oprah Winfrey Show; The World Music Awards in Monaco; VH1 Diva Tributes to Aretha Franklin and Diana Ross; Grammy Awards 1992 and 1996; American Music Awards 2002; and the Lady of Soul Awards. Melonie has been favored to work with a broad spectrum of vocalists and musicians including Edwin Hawkins, Donald Lawrence, Karen Clark Sheard, Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, Luciano Pavarotti, Michael Jackson, Ricky Martin, Ashford & Simpson, Liza Minnelli, BB King, George Michael, Gloria Estafan, Michael Bolton, C+C Music Factory, Kim Burrell, Marvin Winans, Daryl Coley, Fred Hammond, Shirley Caesar, Marc Anthony, Jessica Simpson, Toni Braxton, Wynton Marsalis, Tyler Perry, and super-Producer Rodney Jerkins; to name a few. In addition, Melonie made appearances in two movie productions; “Keeping The Faith” and HBO’s “Angels in America.”
DAVID WALKER – has served in several musical capacities for various churches such as: Elizabeth Baptist Church, The Enon Church and Ministries, The Move of God, North Avenue Missionary Baptist Church, Born Again Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Faith Apostolic, Deeper Life In Christ Ministries, Covenant Ministries and All Nations Life & Praise Center. He also has been favored to direct on several recordings, including Pastor Keith Brooks and New Creation’s “Testify”, as well as Dottie Peoples’ “The Water I Give” and Dottie Peoples first independent endeavor, “Do It”. David recently served as Director and vocal coordinator for LaShun Pace’s Live Recording, “Reborn” (February 28, 2011). David currently serves along side, the living legend, Rev. Milton Biggham, as the Minister of Music for the world renowned Georgia Mass Choir. In 1993, God richly smiled upon David, giving him divine favor in gathering an anointed aggregation of singers â€“ David Walker & High Praise (DWHP) â€“ as a voice proclaiming the good news of God through music. DWHP has been blessed to minister to many audiences around the Atlanta area, as well as various cities and states around the country. In 1994, DWHP had the opportunity to share their ministry with Dr. Bobby Jones in Nashville, Tennessee during his Annual Gospel Explosion. DWHP was nominated for Best New Artist for the 2004 Atlanta Gospel Choice Awards. They have also served on selective programs with various artists such as, Albertina Walker, Dorothy Norwood, Leanne Faine, Kim Burrell, Dorinda Clark Cole, Karen Clark Sheard, Ricky Dillard & New Generation, Hezekiah Walker & Love Fellowship Crusade Choir, and James Hall & Worship & Praise just to name a few. He serves as Music Director of the Turner Chapel AME Church.
DR. W. JAMES ABBINGTON– Abbington’s research interests include music and worship in the Christian church, African American sacred folk music, organ, choral music, and ethnomusicology. Along with his roles at Candler, where he has taught since 2005, Abbington is executive editor of the African American Church Music Series by GIA Publications (Chicago). In addition to writing and editing, he has produced numerous recordings under GIA.
One of the nation’s most respected choir directors, musicians and authors, Abbington is a popular speaker, performer and conductor at universities, conferences, symposiums and churches around the world. From 2000 to 2010, Abbington served as co-director of music for the Hampton University Ministers’ and Musicians’ Conference, and as the national director of music for both the Progressive National Baptist Convention and the NAACP. In 2010, Hampton’s Choir Directors and Organists Guild honored Abbington by naming their Church Music Academy after him, and in 2015, he became the second African American to be named a Fellow of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.