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In Memory of Mr. Noel Dexter

Noel Dexter, Renowned Composer

(Contributed by Dave Goss, Beatrice Anderson & Roy Shaw)

(On behalf of the Church Of God in Jamaica)

Since the passing of Noel Dexter several persons and groups have paid tribute respecting his outstanding contribution to the country in the field of music, and his sterling musical accomplishment with the University Singers.

There are yet many, many who are not aware of his early Christian nurturing by, and his God blessed contribution to the Constant Spring Road church of God, pastored then by the late Rev. Dr Cleve E Grant, followed by his wider contribution to the National Church- The Church of God in Jamaica.

Noel, who was a boarder in a home within close proximity to the church was impressed and inspired by the beautiful singing of both the choir and the congregation that he started to attend the Sunday morning services. He committed his life to Christ and was later baptised by our pastor Rev Grant.

He soon took on leadership of the Youth Fellowship and became involved in the music ministry of the church under the directorship of the Organist and Choir Director –the late Mr Frank Downie.

Mr Dexter grew in stature in his leadership and musical roles and thus became the chosen candidate to succeed Mr Frank Downie as the congregation’s Music and Choir Director. His musical talent underpinned by his youthful exuberance gave rise to an excellent church choir and the formation of a youth choir. Other congregations were encouraged to form their youth choirs as well. (Mention must here be made of the late Mrs Beverley Dexter who sang with the senior choir before becoming his wife)

In August 1962 The National Youth Council of The Church of God in Jamaica held a convention to celebrate Youth Week. Noel Dexter was asked to form a Choir from the composite of the Youth choirs of the Church of God congregations in Kingston for the purpose of performing during the Sunday service of the convention. This choir was composed of around twenty youths. So successful was their performance, and the thrill of singing together was so encouraging that their teacher Mr Noel Dexter decided to form a permanent singing choir, giving birth to The Youth Fellowship Singers of The Church of God in Jamaica.

In October of the same year (1962) the choir had its first concert at the High Holborn Street Church of God, which was a tremendous success.

The Choir’s repertoire grew, the quality of singing improved and its commitments increased even more. Invitations to sing came from many concerts of the island and in a few years the choir had covered most of the parishes giving concerts, singing in Evangelical Meetings and performing along with groups in many concerts.

In 1968 The Choir went on a most successful tour of the United States of America, and in two weeks performed in New York, Washington,D.C., Detroit, Chicago, Lansing, Lancaster and in Maryland. In 1970, at the invitation of the Jaycees, the Choir spent three profitable days in concert in Grand Cayman. The performance was so well received that an invitation was extended for their return.

In the mid 1960’s the Choir entered the National Festivals and emerged with many top awards Listed among some of the critique of their concerts are- “High quality of singing”, “Sheer musical talent”, Delightfully presented

Mr Dexter took leave from active service to the Church to assist in a regional programme on music in the Caribbean, and from there he was invited by the University of the West Indies to become the Director of Music in the Creative Arts Department.

We as a Church honour the long association with the late Noel Dexter, and pray for continued spiritual blessings for his daughter-Carol Ann and grandson – Jhada.

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