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Hunter's Chapel Church has ministered to the Como, MS community from this same spot for more than 175 years. On the headstones in the cemetery on it's southern side you'll see familiar names like Strickland, Turner, and Boyce - families synonymous with the sounds of the North Mississippi Hill Country going back generations. Music has been at the heart of the church's ministry since the beginning. The Hunter's Chapel Male Chorus recently celebrated a remarkable milestone - the group has been making a joyful noise for over a century. The Hunter's Chapel Singers sang with church member "Mississippi" Fred McDowell on his landmark gospel record, Amazing Grace, recorded in 1966. McDowell, Napolian Strickland, Otha Turner, Jesse Mae Hemphill, RL Boyce, and many more pioneers of the North Mississippi sound shared these pews on Sunday mornings.
The Wilkins family is a strong contender for being the "First Family" of Memphis music. Patriarch Rev. John Wilkins has served from the pulpit of Hunter's Chapel for over 3 decades. The family's talents branch throughout the Memphis gospel world. His daughters, Tangela, Joyce, and Tawana, his grandchildren, and even great grandchildren are all involved in the music ministry of local congregations. It should come as no surprise then to learn that Rev. Wilkins' father was Rev. Robert Wilkins, a first generation bluesman who, after witnessing a murder while performing on Beale Street in Memphis, gave up the secular world, became a minister, only recording sacred music from that day forward. Rev. Robert Wilkins became a favorite of young, white, blues musicians during the folk revival decades later. In 1962, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards named their band after one of Rev. Robert Wilkins' songs. And they paid tribute to Wilkins by recording his song, "Prodigal Son."
Director - Christian Walker
Produced by Waheed AlQawasmi "WA Films"
Cinematographer - Jordan Danelz
Camera Operator/Editor - Jared B. Callan
Special thanks to Pigeon Roost Collaborative and Inherent Media.