Though a religious songstress, with some importance in the american artistic scenery, her repertoire, perhaps based in this circumstance, blends rhythms and subjects.
McKinney (1886-1952) taught voice, conducting, and theory, as a member of the music faculty of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas (USA).
T.L.Holcomb, executive secretary of The Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, in 1935 called McKinney to be the first music editor; his task was “produce and promote the right kind of music” for churches; he compiled and edited The Broadman Hymnal (1940), the most widely used hymnbook in Southern Baptist churches; it helped to standardize worship and hymnody among Southern Baptists.
In 1941, McKinney was the first secretary of the newly established Church Music Department, and organized the Church Music Emphasis Week, at Ridgecrest.
From 1950, he served as the first music editor of The Church Musician periodical.
McKinney was director of music in various churches, and pursued an active career of composing 149 gospel hymns and songs; some of his best remembered are “Glorious Is Thy Name”, “Breathe on Me”, “Satisfied with Jesus” and “Wherever He Leads I’ll Go”.
The B.B.McKinney Research Foundation, at the Oklahoma Baptist University, is a center for studies in Southern Baptist church music.
With Thomas Andrew Dorsey, since 1937, she was an exponent of Gospel song, taking black music to white audiences, in the United States and Europe.
Actually called the “First Lady of Gospel”, she has performed in Broadway musicals, on television, and on several movie soundtracks.
She has served on Durham’s city council, and now leads a church.
She wrote her autobiography, “The Lady, the Melody, and the Word” (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1998).
This vocal group, that sings a cappella, proclaims Adventist doctrines by popular rhythms (jazz and R&B) to form secular fans’ congregations.
Dorsey (“Nassau”, pp.67-68), blues pianist, in 1931 began to compose and publish religious songs. In 1932 wrote “Precious Lord”, the song that has become one of the best known and recorded, and model to the gospel song.