Photo by Maurice Fitzgerald
Photo by Maurice Fitzgerald

The Cathedral Choir and Men’s Chorus of John Wesley AME Zion Church recognized an outstanding leader as “Our Hidden Gem,” in a program last month recognizing and paying tribute to the renowned organist, pianist, teacher, director and composer Salone T. Clary Sr.

He received his BS degree in Music Education from Norfolk State University. He continued his studies at Virginia State University and received his master’s degree in music education with emphasis on performance. He has done postgraduate studies at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. with a major in choral composition and piano. For 56 years, he has been married to Carolyn Steverson Clary, and they have four children, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

For more than 60 years, Salone Clary has shared his musical talents with students in the public schools of D.C., Maryland and Virginia. He has been elected into the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). He has served as choir director and organist in many church in the D.C. area and has been associated with John Wesley AME Zion Church since 2003.

Clary is a first-class composer whose first publication of choral music was published by Warner Brothers, New York. Later his music was accepted for publication by GIA Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois. His published choral works are “I Want to Live with God.” “Give Thanks to God,” “Where Shall I Go,” “The Blind Man Stood on the Road and Cried,” Let’s Have a Union,” “Is There Anybody Here Who Loves My Jesus” and “My Lord’s Risen from the Dead.” Also published by Warner Brothers was “When You Hear Those Bells.”

The musical tribute was held at John Wesley AME Zion Church with a large number of people in attendance. Delores Lancaster served as master of ceremonies; Everett Williams, minister of music at Asbury United Methodist Church in D.C., played the organ prelude; Rev. Dr. Christopher Zacharias, pastor of John Wesley AME Zion Church, gave the call to worship, invocation, Scripture reading and welcome; and Earl Simmons, president of Cathedral Choir and Men’s Chorus, gave the choir welcome. The choirs were joined in the concert by members of the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church.

The choirs sang 10 songs written and arranged by Salone Clary in several parts, Brandon Holley, a student of Clary, played a piano solo, Consolation in D Flat Major by Franz Liszt. Soloists who sang during the concert included Eugene Thomas, tenor, Catherine Hinton, soprano, and Karen LaCount, mezzo-soprano soloist.

Closing remarks were presented by Simmons as Clary was presented with a plaque of tribute and thanks for all he has done for John Wesley AME Zion Church and the D.C. community.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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