Avenue L Missionary Baptist Church is gearing up for the second annual Ruth Hall Faithful & Dedicated Image Honor Awards Banquet set for 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Old Central Cultural Center, 2627 Ave. M, in Galveston. Tickets are $30 per person. For tickets, call 409-974-4083 (no tickets will be sold at the door).
Hall was a longtime, faithful and dedicated church musician for half a century or more. In 2015, the Ruth Hall Award was born. The first recipient was Florence Hilton of Avenue L and from there the banquet was put into place. In 2016, 12 individuals were honored and that was the beginning of the banquet.
One night as I was resting, God gave me a vision of people working in His field of music. So, the next thing I did was contact my pastor, the Rev. E.R. Johnson, along with Hall’s living brothers, Paul Thomas, Dallas resident, and Lawrence Thomas (now deceased) and George Thomas, of Houston, and the vision became a reality.
Hall’s entire family has a rich history of musical talents. A passion for teaching sacred music and voice was also her gift. Hall taught the choir hymns, anthems and gospel music that was our musical repertoire. Hall would practice the Sanctuary Choir every week for regular church services, and for special afternoon programs such as our church anniversary and black history programs, which were both in the same month of February.
For those special programs, Hall would play a hymn of preparation and the choir would sing an anthem for the occasion. One thing I will always remember about Hall is that she would teach the sanctuary choir the difference of each song and break it down to what hymns and anthems stood for. Avenue L, and those who knew her in the community, whenever she was needed to play for a funeral — white or black — it did not matter — she would be there (walking). She never complained or made any excuses. She was just “faithful and dedicated” to the end. I’m honored to have known her.
Each year the banquet will honor choir members of Avenue L and individuals from Galveston and Galveston County, and other cities in Texas. Musicians and singers have a responsibility to keep telling the good news of serving a mighty God and we should never forget Jesus Christ in the music.
The 2017 award recipients are Sherman Boyer, Joyce Lacy, Girtha Lynn Fields, John Cooks, Delores “Dee” Florence, Gloria Ellisor, Eural Stinson, Mae Walker, Lena Cunningham, Tyrone Williams, Gloria Woods, and Shirley Sanders.
So, the invitation is yours Saturday. Come out and help us salute the 2017 recipients.