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Delano O'Banion

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Information about Delano O'Banion

Profile image of Delano O'Banion

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Music Instructor
Choral Director
Classical Singer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Comfort Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Guatemala
Favorite Quote:
An Unexamined Life Isn't Worth Living.

Birthplace

Born:
11/3/1936
Birth Location:
Chicago, Illinois

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Music Instructor
Choral Director
Classical Singer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Comfort Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Guatemala
Favorite Quote:
An Unexamined Life Isn't Worth Living.

Birthplace

Born:
11/3/1936
Birth Location:
Chicago
See how Delano O'Banion is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Delano O’Banion was born on November 3, 1936 in Chicago, Illinois. He attended Chicago public schools from elementary through high school. While a student at Phillips High School, he played the clarinet and bassoon in the Phillips Concert Band. As a senior at Phillips High School, O’Banion became a student assistant band director and drum major under Professor Earl Madison. In addition to singing various classical styles of choral music, he learned to sing oratorio and opera in the Hartzell Methodist Church’s Young People Choir (1951-1955). During this period, he received a scholarship to study voice with Madame Elsa Harthan Arendt at the Sherwood Music School in Chicago, Illinois.

In 1955, O’Banion received an academic music scholarship to Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. While at Fisk University, O’Banion toured the United States and Europe with the famed Fisk Jubilee Singers. During his junior year at Fisk University, O’Banion sang as guest soloist with the Tuskegee Institute Choir at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. In 1958, O’Banion worked with renowned musician, composer and conductor Professor William L. Dawson.

Upon graduation from Fisk University in 1959 with his B.S. degree in music, O’Banion began a teaching career that spanned forty-six years. O’Banion became quite active as a classical soloist, singing oratorio, opera, recitals, and major orchestral works throughout the Midwest. In 1961, along with several alumni friends from Fisk University, O’Banion established The John Work Chorale. His love for conducting this choral group became his primary work. The John Work Chorale specializes in preserving nurturing the perpetuation of singing Negro Spirituals in the original style of the Fisk Jubilee Singers. O’Banion also served as the choral director at Marshall High School for several years.

O’Banion served as minister of music for Grace Presbyterian Church (1960-1966), and serves as minister of music at Hartzell Memorial United Methodist Church, (1977-present). In addition to his work as minister of music, O’Banion serves on the board of the Chicago Dance and Music Alliance, the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Board of Trustees at Hartzell Memorial United Methodist Church. O’Banion has received numerous awards for excellence in music, education, and community service.

O’Banion was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 15, 2006.

See how Delano O'Banion is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Delano O'Banion's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Delano O'Banion lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Delano O'Banion talks about his mother, Sarah Breckenridge O'Banion
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Delano O'Banion talks about his father, Julian O'Banion
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Delano O'Banion describes being named after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Delano O'Banion describes his family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Delano O'Banion describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Delano O'Banion talks about his earliest childhood memories of growing up with three brothers
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Delano O'Banion talks about his childhood neighborhood and early school years
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Delano O'Banion remembers Christmas celebrations as a child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Delano O'Banion talks about his experience at Doolittle Grammar School and why he started singing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Delano O'Banion recounts his experience at Doolittle Grammar School and joining the band at Phillips High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Delano O'Banion talks about learning to play to clarinet and his early music teachers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Delano O'Banion recalls his favorite teachers from Doolittle Grammar School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Delano O'Banion remembers joining the band at Phillips High School in Chicago, Illinois where he served as Earl Madison's student assistant
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Delano O'Banion recalls being offered a full scholarship to attend Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee as a Jubilee Singer
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Delano O'Banion talks about the history of the Fisk Jubilee Singers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Delano O'Banion talks about composer William L. Dawson
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Delano O'Banion talks about minstrelsy and the Fisk Jubilee Singers' initial perception as a minstrel group
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Delano O'Banion describes touring in Europe with the Fisk Jubilee Singers in 1956
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Delano O'Banion talks about the pathos of spirituals and the impact of spirituals on American music
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Delano O'Banion describes his decision to major in music at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Delano O'Banion talks about studying conducting under John Work and William L. Dawson while a student at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Delano O'Banion talks about John Work, III's reorganization of the Jubilee Singers and the ensemble's 125th anniversary concert
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Delano O'Banion describes the universal impact of spirituals as well as his experience in the Jubilee Singers
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Delano O'Banion talks about the difference between gospel songs and spirituals
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Delano O'Banion talks about the music at Hartzell Memorial United Methodist Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the origin of spirituals
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Delano O'Banion talks about the career of composer William L. Dawson
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Delano O'Banion talks about African American composers like Scott Joplin
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Delano O'Banion describes singing at Radio City Music Hall with the Tuskegee Institute Choir in 1958
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Delano O'Banion distinguishes between anthems, spirituals, and gospel songs
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Delano O'Banion talks about the Jubilee Singers' repertoire, and the difference between spirituals and art songs
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Delano O'Banion talks about his early teaching career at Beidler Elementary School and Marshall High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Delano O'Banion talks about the founding of the John Work Chorale in 1960
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Delano O'Banion sings excerpts from a gospel song, a hymn, and an anthem
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Delano O'Banion describes various career opportunities in his life
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Delano O'Banion talks about the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's collaboration with the John Work Chorale in Brazil
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Delano O'Banion talks about the John Work Chorale and how his trip to Brazil influenced his direction of the group
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Delano O'Banion talks about directing the choir at Hartzell Memorial United Methodist Church in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Delano O'Banion talks about teaching at Marshall High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Delano O'Banion describes directing the Theater-In-The-Streets program in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Delano O'Banion talks about returning to Marshall High School to teach music after studying at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Delano O'Banion talks about pilot program of Theater-in-the-Streets in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Delano O'Banion talks about his legacy at Marshall High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Delano O'Banion talks about his retirement and his parents' careers
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Delano O'Banion emphasizes the value of education
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Delano O'Banion describes his future aspirations
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Delano O'Banion describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Delano O'Banion talks about the blessings in his life
  • Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Delano O'Banion talks about how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 4 Story: 15 - Delano O'Banion reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Delano O'Banion narrates his photographs
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Second slating of Delano O'Banion's interview
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Delano O'Banion talks about his name and his three brothers
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Delano O'Banion describes the impact of his brother's death on his family
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Delano O'Banion describes his mother, Sarah Breckenridge O'Banion
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Delano O'Banion describes his father, Julian O'Banion
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Delano O'Banion talks about his childhood in Chicago's Lake Meadows neighborhood
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Delano O'Banion remembers his close relationship with his father
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Delano O'Banion describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Delano O'Banion talks about his parents' separation after his brother's death
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Delano O'Banion talks about his religious upbringing in Hartzell Memorial United Methodist Church in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Delano O'Banion recalls singing at an early age
  • Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Delano O'Banion talks about the church choir's repertoire at Hartzell Memorial United Methodist Church in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Delano O'Banion talks about the music program at Doolittle Grammar School
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Delano O'Banion talks about Earl Madison's band program at Phillips High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Delano O'Banion describes his experience at the Sherwood Music School in Chicago, Illinois where he studied with Elsa Harthan Arendt
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Delano O'Banion talks about his vocal training with F. Bertram Briess and Elsa Harthan Arendt
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Delano O'Banion describes his admiration for William McFarland, Roland Hayes, and HistoryMaker William Warfield
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Delano O'Banion recalls receiving a scholarship to attend Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee after singing for John Work, III
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Delano O'Banion describes his experience at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Delano O'Banion recalls the campus environment and his professors at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Delano O'Banion talks about John Work, III, the director of the Fisk Jubilee Singers
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Delano O'Banion talks about the original Fisk Jubilee Singers, pt.1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Delano O'Banion talks about the original Fisk Jubilee Singers, pt.2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Delano O'Banion describes campus life at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Delano O'Banion recalls touring in Europe with the Jubilee Singers, pt.1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Delano O'Banion recalls touring in Europe with the Jubilee Singers, pt.2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Delano O'Banion talks about working for the Sante Fe Railway as a college student
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Delano O'Banion remembers joining the Tuskegee Institute Choir at Radio City Music Hall in 1958 to sing 'Old Man River'
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Delano O'Banion talks about limited opportunities for African American singers in the 1950s
  • Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Delano O'Banion recalls his music education at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Delano O'Banion talks about the impact of Charles S. Johnson's death on Jubilee Singers director John Work, III
  • Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Delano O'Banion remembers his good friends at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 8 Story: 12 - Delano O'Banion talks about William L. Dawson's residency at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Delano O'Banion contrasts the Tuskegee Institute Choir and the Jubilee Singers, and the conducting styles of John Work, III and William L. Dawson
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Delano O'Banion describes the compositions and musical arrangements of William L. Dawson and John Work, III
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Delano O'Banion talks about Thomas A. Dorsey and William L. Dawson
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Delano O'Banion describes the impact of his experience in the Fisk Jubilee Singers on the John Work Chorale
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Delano O'Banion talks about William L. Dawson's well-known compositions and arrangements
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Delano O'Banion describes the challenges of his early teaching career in the Chicago Public School system
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Delano O'Banion talks about how the John Work Chorale was invited to perform in Brazil with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Delano O'Banion recounts the formation of the John Work Chorale
  • Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Delano O'Banion recalls how Theodore Charles Stone, president of the National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM) inspired him to become a singer
  • Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Delano O'Banion talks about the John Work Chorale's temporary hiatus, and the group's longevity
  • Tape: 9 Story: 11 - Delano O'Banion describes the challenges of syncing musicians with dancers while on tour with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater in Brazil
  • Tape: 9 Story: 12 - Delano O'Banion talks about his teaching career at Beidler Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Delano O'Banion talks about his teaching career at Marshall High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Delano O'Banion describes how he is a combination of his mentors
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Delano O'Banion describes how he transformed the band program at Marshall High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Delano O'Banion talks about his theater career
  • Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Delano O'Banion talks about his graduate studies in social psychology at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Delano O'Banion talks about his return to Marshall High School in Chicago, Illinois after completing his graduate studies
  • Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Delano O'Banion remembers a mentee named Clarence Thomas
  • Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Delano O'Banion talks about the ethos of his singing and his connection with audiences
  • Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Delano O'Banion describes the expansion of his vocal range under the tutelage of F. Bertram Briess
  • Tape: 10 Story: 10 - Delano O'Banion sings an excerpt from Handel's 'Messiah'
  • Tape: 10 Story: 11 - Delano O'Banion reflects upon his career
  • Tape: 10 Story: 12 - Delano O'Banion talks about his desire to travel the world
  • Tape: 10 Story: 13 - Delano O'Banion reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Delano O'Banion talks about the importance of Negro spirituals