UMKC Conservatory Alum Carl G. Harris, Jr. Passes


Carl G. Harris, Jr., 78, (DMA, 1972) died in Hampton, Virginia.  He was the organist and professor of music at Hampton University, where he had taught for the past 15 years.  Dr. Harris was the first African American to receive the terminal degree from the UMKC Conservatory.  He was born in Fayette, Missouri, the first born of three children to Carl G. Harris, Sr. and Frances Margaret Harris. He graduated cum laude from Philander Smith College in 1952 and received his master's degree in Music History and piano at the University of Missouri-Columbia. 

Prior to his appointment at Hampton University, Dr. Harris served as a professor and head of the Department of Music and Conductor of the Concert Choir at Norfolk State University and Professor of Music and Conductor of the Concert Choir at Virginia State University, Petersburg. 

A living legend among his peers and students, Harris used his craft throughout the music community. He served as the minister of music emeritus at Norfolk's Bank Street Memorial Baptist Church where he served the congregation for more than 20 years. He also served on the Commission on Accreditation for the National Association of Schools of Music, the Norfolk Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and as a review panelist for the Virginia Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

Harris was an honored member of the Tidewater Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, American Choral Directors Association, Choristers Guild, Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma Band Fraternities, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Lions Club International and various other organizations.

He was the recipient of numerous honors and awards including the "Living Legend Award" in church and choral music presented by the Choral Directors/Organists Guild of the Hampton University Ministers Conference, the "Distinguished Contribution Award" from the National Association of Negro Musicians for his performance, promotion and preservation of African-American music.  Dr. Harris received the Alumni Achievement Award from the UMKC Conservatory in 1982.

For more information, please contact:

Name: Dana Self
Phone: 816-235-2949