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A professional music career spanning sixty years winds down for Olivette Evans Hester who is retiring as Inspirational Choir Director at Macedonia Baptist Church.
In honor of her legacy, Pastor Shane B. Scott and the Macedonia congregation will salute Mrs. Hester’s accomplishments during the choir’s 41st Annual Musical on Sunday, July 15, at 5 p.m., in the sanctuary located at 1744 East 114th Street in Los Angeles.
“We invite the entire Los Angeles community to join us in this celebration. Olivette is a legend and we love her, so it’s a bittersweet moment for us. It’s bitter because there’s absolutely none like her. But it’s sweet because she’s now able to rest and see a transition happen,” said Pastor Scott.
“I have been in church my whole life,” commented Mrs. Hester, “and I don’t know anything else, I do know I have really enjoyed the journey.”
Mrs. Hester’s long stint at Macedonia was only one highlight of her musical career. A prodigy at a young age, she began playing at 4 years old and was soon accompanying musicians at Providence Baptist Church in Texas where he father, the Rev. S.A.J. Evans, served as pastor.
“I played naturally by ear but my parents insisted I take lessons to learn to read music,” she recalled. “My father also conducted revivals all over Texas and I went along with him in the summers to play as he sang after his sermon.”
In addition, the family performed as the Evans Five, a musical group comprised of Pastor and Mrs. Evans along with their three children.
In 1953, Pastor Evans accepted spiritual leadership of Macedonia and Mrs. Hester became the first organist. “I started under Mrs. Fannie Mae Smith who was the director of music and I learned so much by working with her.”
Mrs. Hester also witnessed the construction of Macedonia’s current edifice that was built during the tenure of her father and an annex added four years later.
During her career, Mrs. Hester said she had the opportunity to collaborate with some of the greatest names in LA gospel history.
“I interacted with Thurston Frazier, Albert Goodson, Margaret Pleasant Douroux, Gwen Lightner, Cora Martin and Robbie Preston, and I still occasionally work with her daughter, Rodena Preston. They were all instrumental in where I am now,” said Mrs. Hester.
Moving on to the next phase of her life, Mrs. Hester plans to see more of the U.S. “I‘ve traveled to Australia, London, Paris, the Virgin Islands and Hawaii several times. Now, I want to visit the southern states in this country.”
For more information about Mrs. Hester’s tribute, call Macedonia Baptist Church at (323) 569-9561.