In Memoriam

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Monday 1st December 1997

Rev Donald Vails passes away

RECORDING artist and National Minister of Music for the Gospel Workshop of America, the Rev Donald Vails, died September 10th, aged 49 after a long illness. Vails recorded numerous albums for Savoy Records. CR

Reader Comments

Posted by Dea. A.H.Gregory in Honolulu, HI @ 19:46 on Feb 11 2015

Whenever I hear Min Vails and the Voices of Deliverance Choir sing, "I Want To Be A Follower of Christ", I still break into tears. That is one of the first Gospel records I ever owned when I was waffling about giving my life to Him!

Posted by Carl D. Larkin in memphis, TN @ 01:52 on Nov 27 2014

Donald was truly anointed with a musical talent only given by the creator. I had the pleasure to sing and direct the Voices of Deliverance, and I learned so much from him. In spite what people thought or said about the mistro, you could not take away from his gift GOD had given him. Donald and I became good friends and we spoke often after I moved from Detroit. I often think of his memory and miss his BIG smile and BIG glasses (lol). I never judged him nor thought ill of him. He was a GREAT man to many ... and that's more that could be said for a lot of us.Rest well my friend and I pray that we meet in Heaven singing in that awesome angelic choir.

Reply by L.D. Sykes in Montgomery, Ala & Indy @ 00:56 on Dec 20 2014

I just was sing.. "Since I Met Jesus"...Donald & I met in Indy in the late 70's..He was so much fun to be with..
After I moved to Montgomery... I surprised him when he came to town... and it was just like we had seen each other the week before..He is truly missed..

[report abuse]

Posted by N McLeod in Ft. Washington, MD @ 16:22 on Nov 17 2014

I met Donald Vails later in life, however I am blessed to have known him and his music. He ran the music department at Ebenzer AME in Fort Washington, MD. His music to this day moves me and keeps me in positive spirits. I wanted let his family and friends know that although he may not be with us, his music, his love and spirit lives on as an inspiration to millions, myself included.

Posted by Bettye Yancey Thomas in Atlanta, GA @ 02:37 on Oct 16 2014

I first met Rev. Donald Vails in Sunday School at Second Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA. He was 10years old and I was 8. All of us looked up to him because he played for Sunday School and kind of made attending fun. When he was promoted to Junior Class all of us were upset that we had lost our friend. I remember Mrs. Smith comforting us by saying he's not dead he just going to an older group you all will get over there soon enough. He played for all of our Programs and taught us our songs. As Teens we all still, enjoyed attending Vacation Bible School.
We all grew up and went our separate ways but we always remembered those Friendships of our Youth.
Each Year up until the Year before he Passed he came to Atlanta for my Choirs Anniversary at Tabernacle Baptist Church- The Voices of Tabernacle. I attended his Funeral and for some reason today he has been in my Spirit. Gone ole friend but always Remembered!

Posted by Henry McClendon, Jr. in Detroit, MI @ 04:07 on May 18 2014

I was honored to be one of the 300 members of the Operation Love Children's Choir that met in a building on the corner of State Fair and Helen in Detroit, MI. Ed Smith managed our group and Donald Vails was our musician and director. I was always amazed at what he could do with a Hammon organ, his vocal range, and his gift for teaching music. I appreciated him, and was honored to have known him. I look forward to seeing and hearing him again in glory!

Posted by Donna J. Byrd in Detroit/Lincoln Park, MI @ 22:55 on Jan 22 2014

I first heard Donald when he was playing at New Grace in Highland Park, MI. Shortly thereafter, I started attending New Light Baptist Church and it was something about the music that sounded so familiar, only to meet Donald, the late David Ball both through my late best friend, Cornell E. Talley, Jr. did I find out that Donald had been at New Grace prior to coming to New Light where the Choraleers were founded in the basement of New Light. Those were the days! Donald, Cornell, David, James Allen, and many more became my new family after moving here from Cincinnati, Oho in 1969. My relationship with Donald was just a continuation in Gospel Music which started with my mother, the late Mildred B. Marshall- Byrd who played the piano & organ at the First Baptist Church of Hazelwood for 65 uninterrupted years until God called her home in 2002. Along with the late-great Charles Fold, Harold Smith, and many more, my life has been blessed with some of God's greatest musicians/maestoes; I miss all of you dearly. See you in the Rapture. Donald, I can still hear your "stomp!"

Posted by TalentedHands in Atlanta @ 17:02 on Nov 15 2013

I am sad to announce that Donald Vails mother Sadie Vails George passed this morning

Posted by Abraham J. Thomas in Miami @ 04:54 on Oct 22 2013

As a radio announcer for Gospel Music 1490, I fell in love with Home Over The Mountain. I still believe that it one of the most spirit filled instrumentations I have ever had the the joy of litening to. I played it over and over and over. And, to this very day U-Tube it. To God be the Glory for the Great things he has done through the music ministry of Donald Vails.

Posted by Darrell L. Taylo Sr in Sun City, AZ @ 20:31 on Jan 30 2013

I knew Donald as a child. He and my mother, Rev. Thelma Taylor, who at the time was the Minister of Music at New Grace Missionary Baptist Church in Highland PK, MI, started the youth movement in our church with a handful of kids that quickly grew into what is now called a"mass" choir. And Donald's musical genius touched so many including me and I was only maybe 8 or 9, but I can still hear his voice today singing such songs as " GOD Will " and Peace Be Still. I will carry these these songs with me the rest of my life. Mom passed a coupla yrs after Donald did and I know that HEAVEN has been, and still is rejoicing.

Posted by Juan B. Hendrix in Atlanta, Georgia @ 23:40 on Nov 8 2012

Donald Vails was my cousin, and a great inspiration and model of a psalmist and truly one of Gods Chosen! Heavily missed but never forgotten!

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