A constellation of stars from the holy and secular world came out to pay homage to the supremely talented gospel giant Andraé Crouch, who was laid to rest at the West Angeles Church of God in Christ on Wednesday. Crouch was a singer, songwriter, conductor, arranger, and choir director who earned the title “father of modern gospel music.”
Bishop Kenneth Ulmer officiated the services and Pastor Marvin Winans gave the eulogy, flanked by a veritable who’s who of the gospel world, according to Christian Today, including:
Rev. Jesse Jackson, Dr. Bobby Jones, Kirk Franklin, CeCe Winans, BeBe Winans, Shirley Ceasar, Donnie McClurkin, Fred Hammond, Hezekiah Walker, Ledisi, Bryan Duncan, Yolanda Adams, Kurt Carr, Donald Lawrence, Karen Clark-Sheard, Dorinda Clark-Cole, Kim Burrell, Byron Cage, Edwin Hawkins, Lynette Hawkins-Stephens, David and Nicole Binion, Erica Campbell, Smokey Norful, Richard Smallwood, Israel Houghton, Tata Vega and an 80-voice choir. Members of the choir have sang with Crouch throughout the years and are flying in from all over the world for the funeral.
The funeral also featured video tributes by Bishop T.D. Jakes, Kenneth Copeland, Michael W. Smith, The Pointer Sisters, Bill Gaither, The Winans Family, Bishop Clarence McClendon and Bishop Noel Jones.
On Tuesday, a memorial service was held at the same venue, where hundereds of fans, Crouch’s contemporaires, and celebrities including Prince, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Tyler Perry, Queen Latifah, and siblings Marvin and BeBe Winans, came to pay their repects.
”Andraé was that bridge. He brought old and new, cutting edge and traditional, together,” Marvin said, as quoted by Christain Broadcast News.
”He broke that wall of segregation, you know, where black gospel wasn’t being played or being accepted. He wrote songs that broke that door and so we owe so much to him,” BeBe said.
Crouch had a foot in the both the gospel and secular worlds of music, and he collaborated with some of music’s biggest stars including Michael Jackson (“Man In The Mirror”), Quincy Jones, Diana Ross, Madonna (“Like a Prayer”) and Elton John.
Crouch was celebrated and honored in life as much as in death: he was inducted into the Gospel Hall of Fame in 1998, garnered seven Grammy Awards, six Dove Awards, and was nominated for an Oscar for his musical work on “The Color Purple” (he wrote the iconic song, “Maybe God Is Trying To Tell You Something” from that film).
Before his untimely death on January 8, Crouch and his twin sister, Sandra Crouch, were pastors at the New Christ Memorial Church in the Los Angeles suburb of San Fernando.
Crouch died at Northridge Hospital Medical Center after suffering a heart attack. He was 72.
View a clip from the Andraé Crouch memorial service below: