The Continuo Mourns
January 23, 1940 - February 22, 2006
"All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music " - so was the
life of Joseph Agee who lived a life of performance and celebration.
Dr. Joseph Agee, born in Jackson, MS, was early educated in the public
schools of Mississippi and graduated in Music from Jackson State University
as a member of the "Diamond Dazzles" Class of 1963. While a student at
Jackson State, he was appointed student organist his senior year by
his organ teacher, Dr. Robert Henry (himself a student of Arthur Poister),
and Jackson State University President, Dr. Jacob L. Reddix. This was the
beginning of a stellar life in performance for a talented young artist who
became noted as one of
America's most gifted and versatile musicians. His advanced educational
pursuits directed him through Wayne State University and Central College,
both of Detroit, MI. He studied organ at Christ Church Cranbrook,
Birmingham, MI; choral techniques at Southern University, Baton Rouge,
LA; and piano and voice at the Julliard School of Music in New York
City. Realizing that it is possible to fly without motors, but not without
knowledge and skill, Dr. Agee studied with private teachers in piano: Mischa
Kottler of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; Professor Robert Hams at Julliard;
and Ms. Ethel A. Woods, Sherwood School of Music, Chicago; in voice with
Professor Celeste Cole, Wayne State University; and in organ with John Grain,
St. Joseph's Episcopal Church, Detroit.
Through a career of great musical skill, Dr. Agee performed innumerable
solos, piano concerts, and organ recitals. He was quite celebrated as
an accompanist at the organ with Ms. Ernestine Ross at the piano for
weddings and special occasions locally and throughout the nation. As
an accompanist, whether organ or piano, his role was unending. Two of
his most notable performances were at the historic Orchestra Hall and
at the Joe Louis Arena, in Detroit, MI.
Dr. Agee began his career as Chair of the Department of Music at
Okolona Junior College, Okolona, MS. As a public school teacher, he
worked in the Detroit Public Schools and served as pianist for a 150-
voice male choir at Greater North Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Detroit.
Upon his return to Jackson, he worked in the Jackson Public
Schools. At his church in Jackson, Black's Chapel Missionary Baptist,
he founded, organized, and conducted "The Agee Ensemble", a 55 voice
male choir distinguished for its performances. For many years before
uniting with Black's Chapel, Agee served as Choirmaster at St.
Mark's Episcopal Church, served for ten years as organ
and piano performer on Channel 12 Television's "Songs for Sunday,"
served as pianist for New Mount Zion Baptist Church, and
provided services for a variety of local churches and schools who would
request him on short notice. Local churches kept a high demand for his
services as a Choral and Music Director. A member of the American
Guild of Organists. in 2005 he joined the
faculty of Tougaloo College as instructor in voice, and college
Dr. Agee loved his artistry and was honored as Outstanding Young
Man for Past and Present Community Achievements in America, and was
nominated and received the Daviticus Award "Best Gospel Pianist" from
the Gospel Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in Detroit. He enjoyed
travelling and pursuing his hobbies of photography, meeting people,
building stereo sets, reading, and listening to good music. This
book of Joseph Agee's musically accomplished life may well be closed
with the quote "It is Well with My Soul."
- from the funeral obituary, modified by Glenn A. Gentry