Chattanooga Now Former Chattanoogan headlines Hymn Festival

Chattanooga Now Former Chattanoogan headlines Hymn Festival

November 11th, 2011 by Susan Pierce in Chattnow Music


What: Harvest Hymn Festival.

When: 3 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Memorial Auditorium, 399 McCallie Ave.

Admission: Free.


Dr. David Oliver, a former Chattanoogan who is organist at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, returns home Sunday to play the Harvest Hymn Festival.

The annual community Thanksgiving concert is presented by the Chattanooga Music Club in Memorial Auditorium. The featured organist will play the Austin pipe organ, which club members restored.

"Dr. Oliver was one of two winners of the Chattanooga Music Club's scholarship in 1977," said Evelyn Gibbs, club member. "He was a student of Dr. Jim Greasby's. The other winner that year was Michael Thompson, an oboe player."

Oliver will be the featured soloist on "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" and on his improvisations on "Great Is Thy Faithfulness," as well as accompany the audience on five congregational hymns.

The organist will share the stage with the Chattanooga Choral Society for the Preservation of African American Song, directed by Roland Carter. Carter is Holmberg Professor of American Music at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

The Choral Society will present favorites such as "God's Gonna Set This World on Fire," "Sing to the Lord a Marvelous Song," "Dwell in the House" and "Rise, Shine for the Light Is a'Coming," featuring soprano soloist Wilma LeSure. The program will conclude with the audience singing Carter's famous arrangement of "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

Oliver is the first black organist to play in the organ concert series at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City. He presented five concerts during the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, has been featured on the "Pipedreams" nationally syndicated radio series and is director of music ministries at the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel.