African American Music in Happy Valley
Blues and religious music traditions remain strong among African Americans in Happy Valley. Ray Lipford was born in Ferguson in 1943 and learned to play the blues from listening to his father and to musicians he heard on the radio. Today he plays guitar at the Laytown Mennonite Brethren Church. Mrs. Amy Hendrix, a fellow Laytown member, was born in the West End community in 1926. She recalls being the president of the church's first choir at a time when people "made music with just their hands and feet." Born in the community of Boomer in 1920, Rev. Montreal Howell explains the role that Christian Harmony Music, a form of shape note singing, played in church as well as the home.
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