In Memoriam: Carl G. Harris Jr., 1935-2013

HarrisCharlesDr. Carl G. Harris Jr., university organist and professor of music at Hampton University in Virginia, died late last month in Hampton. He was 78 years old.

Dr. Harris was a native of Fayette, Missouri. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas, and a master’s degree in music history from the University of Missouri. He was the first African American to earn a doctorate in music from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

Before joining the Hampton University faculty 15 years ago, he was chair of the music department at Norfolk State University and a professor of music at Virginia State University. In addition to his university work, he served for 20 years as minister of music at the Bank Street Memorial Baptist Church in Norfolk.

Below is a 2012 video of Dr. Harris playing a medley of hymns at a memorial service.

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  1. Dr. Harris was always the consummate musician! He could walk with kings and not lose the common touch. Dr. Harris inspired many students and adults. May he rest in peace.

  2. Dr. Harris was an educator who was able to inspire & motivate students to reach their full potential as a human being and accomplished musician. Much of my success as a musician is because of his guidance.
    Rest in peace my professor, mentor and friend.

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