The Amazing Jester Hairston :::

The gentleman in this video might look familiar to you, in the 1980’s he played an older man name Rolly Forbes in 110 episodes of the sitcom “Amen”.

In this clip he’s directing the Rowan University Chamber Choir along with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in the massive Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City.

Jester was 93 years old when this was filmed in 1994!

Born in 1901, the grandson of slaves, Hairston had an amazing career that spanned movies, television and music composition. He passed away in 2000.

Jester’s film career started in 1936 and his last movie credit was in 1999!

My personal connection to this video? I’m actually in it, 2nd row in the baritone section!

You can see me at the 5:01 mark, right behind Hairston’s shoulder. That young kid….

I was a freshman at Rowan University, there on a music scholarship to study opera. My professor Dr. Eugene Simpson was also a composer / arranger of Slave Spirituals, a genre of music that was the pre-curser to modern church gospel music.

I’m amazed that Jester was out and about, still conducting and doing cool stuff well into his 90’s.

What an neat guy, what a great honor to sing with him in this setting!

Someone posted this video to YouTube, and I’m grateful they did.

Ben Alexander

September 29, 2021

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