Founded on February 2, 1978, by the late Reverend Ernest Davis, Jr., The Wilmington Chester Mass Choir has established themselves as one of the nation’s premier choirs. The choir comprised of dedicated individuals from Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, showcases a blend of talent from various church affiliations.
The choir’s ministry has continued to grow over the past two decades, even after the loss of their founder. In 1991, prior to his death, founder, Rev. Davis, hand-picked Rev. Christopher Squire to lead the ministry. During Rev. Squires tenure the choir has had four Musical Directors: Willis Hickerson Jr., the late Min. Ernie Saunders, Musical Director Tamba Giles, and current Musical Director Derrick L. Clements. This consistency has helped the choir to maintain their commitment to excellence.
To date, the choir has recorded 10 projects. The first project, Victory Shall Be Mine recorded with Sweet Rain Records, featured the choir favorite Ride On King Jesus. This first album was the genesis to one of gospel music’s greatest collaborations: the choir sound of Wilmington Chester Mass Choir, the vocal ability of Rev. Daryl Coley, and the song writing talents of Carol Antrom with the hit tune Sovereign.
The title song of the second project, He’s Preparing Me has become a gospel classic. This album also showcased the talent of the Rev. Daryl Coley. He’s Preparing Me spent over 70 weeks on the Billboard Magazine Gospel Charts. In 1992, He’s Preparing Me won the Stellar Award for best song of the year.
In 1991 when R&B vocalist Patti Labelle needed a choir to record the hit When You’ve Been Blessed, Feels Like Heaven, she called the Wilmington Chester Mass Choir.
Included in the choir discography is the Stellar Award nominated project Stand Still, featuring the incomparable vocal talents of Ms. LeCresia Campbell. Stand Still is still one of the most requested selections when the choir ministers.
The choir’s seventh live recording entitled, Hosanna And They Sang the Word, featured some of today’s most notable gospel music directors and songwriters including the late Minister Ernie Saunders, Minister Jeffrey LaValley, Becky White, and Maurette Brown Clark. In 2000 Hosanna And They Sang the Word was nominated for the coveted Grammy Award in the category of Gospel Album recorded by a Choir or Chorus.
Thou they have received numerous Stellar and one Grammy Award nominations over the years, the real joy comes when they are afforded the opportunity to minister to the community through a scholarship program and holiday food drives. The ministry of the Wilmington Chester Mass Choir has taken them from New York to Los Angeles, Chicago to the Virgin Islands, and Phoenix to Atlanta. Whether it’s Madison Square Garden, the Wachovia Center, The Apollo, the State Prison, the local high school, the local concert hall, or your local church, the Word of God goes forth when The Rev. Ernest Davis, Jr.’s Wilmington Chester Mass Choir be begins to minister in son.
Major Broadcast Appearances include:
Internationally televised The Bobby Jones Gospel Show
Nationally televised Stellar Awards
Nationally televised Singsation
Regionally televised United Negro College Fund Telethon
Nationally televised PBS Special Gospel Celebration
Victory Shall Be Mine (1988) Sweet Rain Records
He’s Preparing Me (1990) AIR
Stand Still (1992) AIR
Change Will Come (1994) AIR
Live featuring He Shepherds Me (1996) AIR
Fear Not (1998) AIR
Hosanna And They Sang the Word (2000) AIR
Live In Concert (2002) AIR
It’s Not Over (2007) Emtro Records