Albert Earle Mayes, Jr.
1923 - 1984
Albert E. Mayes, Jr., an advocate for higher standards in Seventh-day Adventist church music was a singer and choir director, known primarily for his involvement in establishing the SDA Church Musician's Guild (CMG) a group that he and Oliver S. Beltz formed in Califorrnia in 1970. When it became a national organization, he served as its first president.
Albert was born in Kansas City, Kansas, on September 19, 1923, one of three children and the only son of Albert Earle and Elizabeth G. Baker Mayes. From his earliest years, he demonstrated an interest in music, first standing on a box holding a stick to direct his little friends in singing when he was only four years old. By the time he had reached his teenage years, he was torn between two goals: preaching and the singing ministry. Arthur L. Bietz had been his pastor and Lon Metcalf his voice teacher, each inspiring him toward these two goals.
While in his teens, Albert started a male quartet with three friends and, emulating the a cappella singing of the King's Heralds of the Voice of Prophecy, assisted Bietz, in his radio ministry in the San Francisco Bay Area. The four of them went to Pacific Union College after graduation where they sang on campus and represented the college as The Knights of the King. After they left college, they would sing together during the next 38 years, whenever possible.
While attending PUC, Albert met Carol Hallock, initially a pre-nursing and later journalism student, who was also a talented singer and pianist who sang in the a cappella choir and a women's trio. After they married in 1944, and he graduated with a degree in relgion in 1945, he served as a pastor in San Jose for three years until 1948. A son, Albert Earle III, was born in 1947.
Because of a need to get medical attention for their young son and a desire to study toward a degree in Sacred Music with Dr. Charles Hirt at the University of Southern California, Albert decided to move to Los Angeles, where his parents then lived, and soon found employment in the business office of the White Memorial Hospital. From there he took several positions as a medical office business manager, always involved with directing a church choir on Saturday as well as Sunday. During this time they had a daughter, Sharon Rae.
Because of his love for teaching music and directing choirs and wanting to make music his full-time career, he returned to PUC for a degree in music education, teaching voice lessons at the college, while engaged in a house painting business as well. After graduating from PUC with a second degree in music education in 1954, he took a call to teach choral organizations at Glendale Academy, where he spent five successful years.
He then taught voice and music history at La Sierra College, now University, and directed choral organizations at Lynwood Academy. During this time he was leading the choir at the White Memorial Church and studying toward a doctorate in sacred music at the University of Southern California, as well as beginning to work with Oliver S. Beltz.
Albert had met Beltz and worked with him in a choir camp held for members of the Loma Linda and White Memorial church choirs in the late 1950s and the 1960s. That work led to the founding of the Church Musicians Guild in 1970 and the formation of the CMG as a national organization in 1976, in which he served as its first president, despite declining health.
His major professor at USC, Dr. Charles Hirt, wanted to waive the only remaining requirement toward his doctorate, the dissertation, in lieu of Albert's work in establishing the SDA CMG and his many lectures in connection with that effort, but typical of Albert's dogged determination, he continued to insist that he must finish every detail.
The Mayes enjoyed a happy and productive marriage. Carol's musical ability and primary interest in writing and editing proved to be a great complement to Albert's musical talents. She assisted by singing in his choirs and supported him without reservation as he taught, pursued his education, and worked with the CMG. Beginning in 1973 and continuing for six years, she wrote, edited and produced The Score, newsletter for the guild.
Because of financial considerations, as well as a need to remain in the Los Angeles area, Albert had accepted an offer to teach in the Los Angeles public school system in the San Fernando Valley, where he became a Master Teacher, known for his work with boys' changing voices. While conducting a large boys glee club in which voice ranges were changing almost daily, he began teaching them SATB music, switching their voice range whenever necessary. He became so well known for his success in this endeavor that he was invited to bring his boys' glee club to the Lucerne Music Festival in Switzerland in 1974.
Tragically, at about this time his kidneys failed, and he was forced to go on dialysis three times a week. This did not deter him, and he arranged to have dialysis while in Europe on tour with his choir. Prior to this tour, his boys' glee club was invited to sing at Dodger Stadium. He continued to teach for another five years, when he was finally forced to retire. But even under these circumstances, he remained a pillar of strength to others until his death in Norhridge, California, on March 21, 1984, at age 60, following a ten-year battle with kidney failure. He was survived by Carol and their two children.
source: Information provided in interviews with Carol Mayes by Dan Shultz in 2003.
Albert E. Mayes, Jr.
Albert Mayes lived sixty years. Longer than some; not as long as others. But live he did. Whatever, wherever, with whomever - all were accompanied and accomplished with flourish and determined intensity. His serious concern with and commitment to excellence in church music values were not a reflection of turbulent, or even quiet desperation. Rather, he wanted all who came to worship in Jehovahs sanctuary to capture the exciting beauty he had discovered previously in the music to be played or sung by instrumentalist or choir.
As a close friend and late associate of Dr. Oliver S. Beltz, Brother Mayes became a modern Elisha to Elijah, for he wore with faithful integrity the mantle he inherited from the founder of the Guild. The alliance was cemented further when, in 1976, he became the first president of the Church Musicians Guild when it became a national association.
Albert was born September 19, 1923, in Kansas City, KS, and died in Northridge, CA, March 21, 1984, after waging a 10-year battle with kidney failure.
He was born to lead, to teach, and became a "pillar" of strength to many within his radius of influence. Although an exceptionally fine tenor and conductor, his paramount strength lay in his keen insight and ability to communicate with others, either one-to-one, or one-to-the many. He was no stranger to the pulpit, and ever personified a respectful deference toward both the message and the messengers of God's Word. Never was he less than a Christian gentleman who could listen to a contrasting (perhaps "untenable") opinion but without a desire to "fell" his conversational controversialist or minimize his self-worth.
While studying theology at Pacific Union College, he met Carol, his bride-to-be, of a ready pen. Theirs was a happy merger of "words and music," which, among other events, gave birth to two children, Albert III and Sharon. Following two years in the ministry Albert returned to PUC with family to pursue another degree, a Bachelor of Arts in Music. Teaching young men and women high standards of conduct through music was his forteand became his life work.
He continued his studies at the University of Southern California, working toward a doctorate in sacred music, until 1973, when illness prevented completion of this objective. The inordinate degree of courage that marked his personal battle was an inspiration to all. His enthusiasm for life against overwhelming odds was contagious, and readily surfaced in his interpersonal relationships with friends of longer standing or acquaintances just recently met. His was an exuberance that could not be denied.
I knew Al Mayes for 12 1/2 years. We first met in the home of Oliver and Dorothy Beltz one Sabbath afternoon in the fall of 1971. My intermittent association continued with meetings at summer music camps, institutes, CMG meetings, and in my home. He could revel in choral beauty and instrumental precision as he did at one concert at Redlands University, annually called the Feast of Lights. Although not given to shallow sentimentality, he was not embarrassed by tears of joy as he witnessed the triumph of God's love in the lives of men and women he wanted so much for Christ and His Kingdom.
And now he rests a little while from his labors. His works do not. It is planned to hold the annual EVENSONG festival of hymns and anthems in the Campus Hill Church [Loma Linda] on Sabbath afternoon, May 19. This will be a memorial to the faithful work accomplished by both Dr. Beltz and Brother Mayes.
The Score, magazine of the SDA Church Musicians Guild
Dr. Beltz is usually the one singly given credit for founding the Guild, but Albert Mayes seems to have been equally responsible. Clearly, it was Dr. Beltz's great knowledge of and commitment to Sacred Music that was the impetus for this organization. But Albert's vision of the great potential for an association and his efforts towards that end are directly and indirectly responsible for all which has been accomplished to date by this organization. Even though Albert's role was slowed by health problems around the time it became a National Association and he had to step down from the Presidency he continued to share his wisdom and great love of sacred music with the present board and [was] an inspiration to those of us who knew him.
Both the tribute and editorial comment are from the April 1984 issue of The Score
Albert E. Mayes, Jr.
1923 - 1984
His voice is still but listen to
the echoes of that sound,
And catch the inspiration of
a heart that knew no bounds.
As one by one our voices join
with him in songs of praise
To glorify God's holy name -
a mighty chorus raise.
His voice will live within our hearts
in buoyant clarity,
And we shall all go singing on
through all eternity.