Spreading the gospel with songs and music
Editor’s note: The fourth edition of Susie Sansom Piper’s Black History Month series “On The Other Side of the Tracks” looks back to music and entertainment.
Two singing groups who left their marks on years past were the Rockdale Gospel Singers and The Hardeman Echoes.
ROCKDALE GOSPEL SINGERS— The Rockdale Gospel Singers originated in the 50s.
Their purpose was to spread the gospel through songs.
With Frankie Moore McDonald as piano accompanist, they rendered services in the community and many surrounding towns.
This group was composed of Myrtle Mae Tindle, Imogene Gray, Etta Mae Walton, Minnie Mullins, Charles Etta McFarland, Laura Mae Monroe, Eva Morgan and Lillie Johnson.
THE HARDEMAN ECHOES— On Oct. 4, 1980, at Springfield Baptist Church, a group of inspired men and women came together for the purpose of organizing a gospel singing group.
At the first meeting, 12 people were present and called themselves the Rockdale Community Choir, because it was composed of members f rom four local churches.
Two weeks later it was unanimously voted to change the name to The Hardeman Echoes in honor of Doris Hardeman who was instrumental in organizing the group.
Their purpose was to sing and serve to benefit the community and surrounding areas and give glory to God.
The original group was composed of Charles C. Wesley, Freddie Gray, Larr y D. Williams, Imogene Gray, Carol Ann Williams, Doris Phillips, Barbara McKee (organist), Jo Ann Bradford (pianist), Evelyn Moultrie, Doris Nell Turner, Mae Joyce Cashaw, Coleman Burgess, Doris Hardeman, Ocie Bowens and Rev. James Green.
Others who later joined the group were Lula Mae Rivers, Uneeda Page, Rev. A. Bradley, Larry Jackson, Debra Green, Rose Wilhite, Brenda Harris, Marie Russell and Joyce Ford.
The group no longer exists bec ause many members are deceased or have moved away from Rockdale.