The E. L. Cole Chorale

It  was June, 1967, at 837 Florida Street when The Salem Gilfield Youth  Choir originated under the leadership of choir director, Harold Tyrone  Plunkett, and Mrs. Joy M. Harvey (Plunkett), the pianist.  This sincere  desire to sing praises for the Lord and fellowship together grew from  taking part in the Youth Choir on Young People’s Day Programs.  It was  then, that the group started working for God in the spring time of their  youth.  Later, their request to serve as part of the church ministry on  the 3rd Sunday of each month was granted.  The E. L. Cole Chorale did  their first Musical Concert on August 23, 1970.

plunkett family

Choir Directors

(L)  Mr. Thaddeus Fields, Youth Choir Director, and son of  Mr. & Mrs. Plunkett

R) Mrs. Joy Plunkett, Pianist, Organist, & Youth Choir Director

(Seated) Mr. Harold Plunkett , Youth Choir and Mass Choir Director. He was Choir Director Emeritus before his death.

In January,  1976, the church family moved to 3176 Kimball Avenue.  The Youth Choir  continued working together to the glory of God by sharing and uniting  their voices in songs and praise.  They continued to maintain the rich  heritage of music literature that was inherited from Mrs. Marguerite  Purdy, Mrs. Elmertha Cole, and Kathryn Rivers Johnson, Mrs. Joan R.  Williams. Others inspirational supporters were Mrs. Eudora Tribble, and  Mr. A. C. Williams.

These  Chorale singers were often invited to share their talent by  participating on various church programs and services around the city,  and they also had the opportunity to compete with some of the most  prominent churches throughout the city.  They were known for their many  spiritual renditions, and had the honor of performing the famous  spiritual by William Dawson, “Soon Ah Will Be Done” at The Orpheum  Theatre.

As The Youth Choir membership increased, and because of  the variety of ages, a new name was needed.  In 1984, The Salem Gilfield  Youth Choir voted to change their name to The E. L. Cole Chorale.  This  name, E. L. Cole Chorale was recommended by Dexter Hamilton as to  tribute to Mrs. Elmertha Cole.  Mrs. Cole served as Choir Director and  Organist of Salem Gilfield, and she also taught piano and voice lessons  to many of the children at Salem Gilfield, and neighbor children, as  well.  Her leadership, training, and spiritual guidance will live  forever.  In 1987, The E. L Cole Chorale merged with the Senior Choir  members, and became The Salem Gilfield Mass Choir

In 2002, Mr.   Plunkett resigned as director of the E. L. Cole Chorale and Mass  Choir.  He had served as the Director of the Youth and Young Adult  Choir/E. L. Cole Chorale for over 30 years, and was instrumental in  establishing The Salem Gilfield Mass Choir by combining The E. L. Cole  Chorale and The Senior Choir.     He was truly an inspiration and a  blessing to The Salem Gilfield Music Ministry.  Although, he retired  from his directing duties, he continued to serve as Director Emeritus,  and to sing with The Mass Choir on special occasions until his illness.

Under  the direction of Mrs. Joy Plunkett, a Youth and Young Adults Choir was  re-established, and they continued to sing every third Sunday, and on  special occasions.   As the interest and desires of others grew to help  spread the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the name was  changed from The Youth and Young Adults to The Voices of Salem  Gilfield.   Bro. Thaddeus A. C. Fields became the Director.

We are truly blessed to have received the proper musical training at Salem Gilfield Baptist Church and – “TO PASS IT ON.”



Compiled by

Mrs. Joy M, Plunkett

August 2005