Albert E. Mayes, Jr.
1923 - 1984
Albert Mayes was born to teach 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 teens, he was torn between two goals: preaching and the singing ministry. Dr. 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 of his friends, emulating the a capella singing of the King's Heralds of the Voice of Prophecy, and assisting their pastor, Arthur Bietz, in a radio ministry in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The four of them went on to Pacific Union College after graduation, representing the college with their male quartet, The Knights of the King, during the next several years. Two entered the preaching ministry, two became teachers. They continued to sing together whenever opportunity allowed, even after they moved on to other careers during the next 38 years.
While attending PUC, Albert had met a young lady who sang in the college trio, Carol Hallock, whom he married in 1944. He first studied theology with a minor in music, and took a call to the ministry in 1945, to San Jose in the Central California Conference, where he and his family spent the next three years, and their son was born. Carol's primary interest was writing and editing, which proved to be a great complement to Albert's musical talents.
Because of a need to get medical attention for his 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. By this time he had a small daughter as well as his son. Still consumed with a 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 was then called to teach voice and music history at La Sierra College and direct choral organizations at Lynwood Academy. During this time he was directing the choir at the White Memorial Church and studying toward a doctorate in sacred music at the University of Southern California, as well as working with Oliver S. Beltz to establish the Seventh-day Adventist Church Musicians Guild, serving as the first president of the National SDA CMG. 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 with 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.
For financial considerations, as well as a need to remain in the Los Angeles area, he had by this time taken a call to 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 on a daily basis, 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, but this did not deter him, and he arranged to have the dialysis treatments while on the European tour. 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 1984.
source: Information provided by Carol Mayes 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 Jehovah’s 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.