TBR — Richmond, VA – A special tribute for “Professor” Harold S. Lilly, Sr., is set for Saturday, October 4, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. at Fifth Baptist Church, 1415 West Cary Street in Richmond, Virginia’s West End Randolph Community.
“Professor” Harold Lilly, a Richmond native, grew up in the Jackson Ward neighborhood. Regarded as a child prodigy, he has served the city’s church, school system, civic and political community for over 60 years. His legacy is one of Richmond ’s hidden treasures. Educated in the Richmond Public School System, Mr. Lilly was influenced by such Richmond music legends as Perzelia Goodwin, Marie Goodman Hunter and Robert J. Jones, to name a few.
Having Pentecostal roots at Jerusalem Holy Church , under its Founder Bishop Annie Chamblin, Mr. Lilly was self taught from the age of 4. His gift and ability to flawlessly execute the most difficult of sacred, secular, traditional and contemporary gospel music on the pipe and Hammond organs, respectively, has been and continues to be, awe inspiring.
From early in his life, time and time again, Lilly was called upon to assist at the piano for programs, school events and even was selected to play for his own baccalaureate service (Maggie L. Walker High School) held at Dogwood Dell in June, 1963.
His exceptional talent and gift on the organ was introduced to the city in the early 1970’s at the historic Richmond Mosque Auditorium, featuring Mr. Lilly as Guest Organist for the Emancipation Proclamation Service for the Baptist Minister’s Conference. As a result of his stunning performances, he was highly sought after to present ground breaking performances in traditional and non-traditional venues around the city and beyond. He worked for many years demonstrating and selling Hammond , Allen and Rodgers organs in association with Richmond ’s historic Walter D. Moses, Baldwin and Corleys Music stores.
He was the featured instrumental artist in editions of The Ebony Fashion Show, as well as two Broadway productions of the musicals “Purlie” and “Momma, I Want To Sing”, all held at The Richmond Mosque Auditorium in the early 1970’s and was a featured guest artist for the 2010 Richmond Folk Festival.
Musical genes were not confined to Mr. Lilly. His artistry has been passed to his children, Allison and Harold Jr. Allison is a gifted soloist who has travelled extensively and performed with the dynamic duo “Mary, Mary.” Harold, Jr. is a writer and composer working out of Los Angeles , CA , producing works for Ruben Stoddard, Beyoncé and, most notably, receiving a 2005 Grammy Award for his composition “You Don’t Know My Name” as sung by Alicia Keys.
Mr. Lilly has served as guest organist for a host of churches in the Richmond metropolitan area, most notably serving for 22 years as Minister Of Music at Mt. Olive Baptist Church . He has also had significant organist duties at Richmond ’s Mosby Memorial, Rising Mt. Zion, Bethlehem , Sharon and Morning Star Baptist churches, along with an 8 year position at Broomfield C.M.E. Church . In addition, he served for 33 years for the City Wide Revival, 22 years for The Baptist Ministers Conference, and 16 years for Emancipation Day Celebrations in the Mosque Auditorium and local churches. He continues to serve as guest organist and lecturer for workshops in the City of Richmond and throughout the nation.
Joining in the celebration will be organ Maestros Milton Marriott – First Baptist Church Southside, Kevin Puller – Fifth Baptist Church , and Ms. Zolandra Friday – Grayland Baptist Church . Anticipated groups to appear include, Larry Bland & Promise, Rev. D. Kay Logan & Nu Beginning, The Celebration Male Chorus and a special Community Choir, under the direction of Rev. Annesto Younger with Organist Lloyd Dunaway and other musicians, representing many of the church music programs with which “Professor” Lilly has worked.
Admission is free to the public.