Rev. Alexander Hamilton honored by County Board of Supervisors
Arranger for Aretha Franklin’s ‘Amazing Grace’
OW Staff Writer | 2/14/2019, midnight
In celebration of Black History Month, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas presented recently a scroll to the Rev. Dr. Alexander Hamilton, who arranged the late Aretha Franklin’s Grammy-Award winning gospel album “Amazing Grace,” among many other stellar musical achievements.
“I commend you for a long-lasting and outstanding career in the music industry, and for all that you have done and continue to do in the lives of musical artists all over the world,” Ridley-Thomas said.
In accepting the honor, Dr. Hamilton said, “As long as God gives me a finger to play with and a mind to think with, he’s got me and I’ll be making His music as much as I can.” He was joined by his wife, Lady Alicia Hamilton, as well as several friends and choir members. He said he has made a lifetime of conducting God’s music through them.
Dr. Hamilton has played, conducted and arranged scores for numerous music icons, including Lola Falana, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Lou Rawls, The Staple Singers, Sammy Davis Jr., Liza Minelli, Natalie Cole, Etta James, James Cleveland, Bessie Griffin, Shirley Caesar and Mahalia Jackson. He also co-wrote the gospel hit “He’s A Miracle Worker” with Eddie Kendrix.
On the big screen, Dr. Hamilton can be seen directing the choir in “Amazing Grace,” which documented the recording of the Queen of Soul’s 1972 platinum selling album. The film’s producer, Alan Elliott, said of Dr. Hamilton: “His work is a monument to himself, to God, to the community of Los Angeles, and to the world.”
Last week, “Amazing Grace” kicked off the 27th Annual Pan African Film Festival on through Feb. 18 at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. Ridley-Thomas called it a “musical experience that takes you to a different level.”
Dr. Hamilton began his career at the tender age of 9 years old. As a child, he was a student of the late Hall Johnson, a well-known musical writer and arranger.
For 45 years, Dr. Hamilton served as the director of The Voices of Inspiration community choir, The New Generation Singers, and the Immanuel Gospel Community Choir. Dr. Hamilton and The Voices of Inspiration Choir have recorded several albums, including “Glory, Hallelujah!,” “God Can” and “Praise Him Till.” Under his direction, The New Generation Singers recorded and released an album entitled “Safe in God’s Love.”
Currently, Dr. Hamilton is the Pastor of Philadelphia Church Fellowship of Los Angeles.