Meridian native leads choir opening DNC

Meridian native Jonas Crenshaw leads the Mother Bethel AME Church Choir in Battle Hymn of the Republic at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pa. (Photo source:

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WTOK) Meridian native Jonas Crenshaw, who now lives in Philadelphia, Pa., conducted the Mother Bethel AME Church Choir Monday as it opened the Democratic National Convention.

Crenshaw is the historic church's director of music and worship arts.
Mother Bethel is the founding church of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the U.S.

The choir sang Crenshaw's arrangement of the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Crenshaw told Newscenter 11 he just found out Sunday night that the choir was asked to sing, so he caught an emergency flight from Mobile Monday morning to be there in time for the event.

Keith Ivy, formerly of Meridian, is a musician at Mother Bethel AME and another Meridianite, Tyrone Neal, sings with the choir.

Crenshaw says during the past year and a half, Mother Bethel AME
has performed with Phillip Bailey of Earth, Wind, and Fire, Chrisette Michele and Eric Benét, among others.

He said the choir sang at the Freedom Fund Banquet of the NAACP National Convention last summer and two weeks ago recorded with Smokie Norful, Myron Butler, and the AME Church International Mass Choir.