The Gospel Jubilators


This Piedmont area a cappella group has been singing together since 1972.  The current group consists of Harry Leak, Danny Massenburg, Don Adair, Fredrick Tyson and Fulton Waddel.

Harry Leak is the oldest participating member. “We all have a strong belief in God,” says Harry. “Most of us come from different church backgrounds, but all of us have shared experiences. The traditional gospel music is just a continuation of what the group’s original purpose was. We try to maintain that style of music.”

The group sings in the traditional jubilee style which dates back to the 19th century. Groups like the Fisk University Jubilee Singers brought the style to a broader audience.

“The guys enjoy what they do,” adds Leak. “I wouldn’t keep doing it if I had not enjoyed it. It’s been a rewarding experience.”

In the jubilee tradition the group wears uniforms to set themselves apart. The music is sung in an equally formal style with tight arrangements that discourage improvisation. According to Leak, it’s all in service to the message. “I like the sincerity you can hear the words. There is nothing more sincere than hearing the singing.”

The group sings in church settings and wherever they can be of service. “We do nursing homes, we do community programs,” says Harry Leak. “We’ve done Merlefest and IBMA in Raleigh. We’ve even done concerts with Elvis impersonators, because Elvis did some gospel back in the day.”