Congratulations to Rev. Dr. Dwight Andrews, Gospel Choice Awards 2015 Chosen Pastor and Thomas A. Dorsey Award Winner
The Thomas A. Dorsey Award recognizes an individual who is a trailblazer in the Gospel Music Industry. The recipient for this year’s award is Rev. Dwight D. Andrews, First Congregational Church United Church of Christ.
Dwight Andrews, composer, musician, educator, and minister, joined the Emory College faculty in 1987. A native of Detroit, Dr. Andrews is an associate professor of Music Theory and African-American Music at Emory University and senior minister of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Atlanta. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the University of Michigan. He continued his studies at Yale University, receiving a Master of Divinity degree and a Ph.D. in Music Theory.
The roles of educator, artist, and pastor are well aligned with his advocacy of ministries devoted to the whole person — mind, body, and soul. Under his leadership, the membership at First Church has grown, and the foundation for the next century of service has been carefully laid. Dr. Andrews oversaw the renovation and restoration of the historic church building, which was built in 1908. A three-story award-winning new structure was added to provide a place and space for 21st century mission and ministry.
During his tenure, the congregation increased its footprint in downtown Atlanta with the creation of a “campus” concept replete with a garden, and the acquisition of an additional building used for various outreach programs and cultural events. The “Commons,” as it is now called, supports ministries addressing obesity in young girls, grass-roots community groups, music instruction, and concerts of noted local and national artists. The creation of a modern urban church campus and innovative and relevant ministries will help to ensure First Church’s second century of service to Atlanta and the world.
As a musician, Dr. Andrews has appeared on over 25 jazz and “new music” recordings. Also, he has been recognized for his collaborations with playwright August Wilson and director Lloyd Richards, having served as musical director for the Broadway productions of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” “The Piano Lesson,” and “Seven Guitars,” and the Broadway revival of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” featuring Whoopi Goldberg and Charles S. Dutton. He provided the music direction for the Broadway revival production of “A Raisin in the Sun,” starring Sean Combs, Phylicia Rashad, Audra McDonald, and Sanaa Latham. His film credits include “The Old Settler” starring Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen, “The Piano Lesson,” HBO’s “Miss Evers’ Boys” and the PBS documentaries, W.E.B. Dubois: “A Biography in Four Voices and Homecoming: The Plight of Black Farmers in Georgia.”
Andrews, the first Quincy Jones Visiting Professor of African-American Music at Harvard University for 1996-1997, has also delivered the Alain Locke Lectures there. He was the artistic director of the 1998 National Black Arts Festival and is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes. Andrews is the creator and host of a new television magazine entitled Art and Soul, which explores the religious and spiritual perspectives of well-known artists from a variety of different disciplines. He was just awarded the Yale Divinity School’s prestigious Lux et Veritas Award and is honored to be the Spelman Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the Arts for 2015-2016.
Andrews is currently writing a book on the musical and spiritual path of six jazz masters — Duke Ellington, Mary Lou Williams, Dave Brubeck, John Coltrane, Yusef Lateef and Albert Ayler.