Billups, Kenneth

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Dr. Billups is an outstanding Black American, a gifted artist, and a constituent of Hon. William (Bill) Clay. He is a native of St. Louis, Missouri, born April 15, 1918. He was the second son of the late Rev. and Mrs. Louis Billups. He was educated in the St. Louis Public Schools and graduated from Sumner High School. His college training began at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo where he played varsity basketball and earned a Bachelor's degree in Biology.

Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois is where he earned a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees, 1945-47. Further graduate work was done at Washington University in St. Louis, MO.

A tribute to Dr. Billups musical expertise is the fact that for several summers he was a visiting professor of voice, composition, and choral technique at Northwestern University, Lincoln University and Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas.

He loved music throughout his life. He sang in the choirs at Antioch Baptist Church where he was baptized by the late Dr. William L. Perry and went through every department of the Sunday School from Cradle Roll to Adult.

His work in the musical world included his service as Minister of Music and director of the Chancel Choir at Antioch and as choral director and music teacher at Sumner High School before becoming Supt. of Music for the St. Louis Public School System.

Born to the union of Kenneth and his wife, Florence White Billups, were four children, Kathleen, Karla, Karyl, and Kenneth Jr.

He was recognized by and received awards from these and other organizations: City of St. Louis, National Urban League, Northwestern University, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, St. Louis American Newspaper, St. Louis Argus Newspaper, National Association of Negro Musicians, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Missouri Music Educators, National Guild of Community Music Schools, and the Antioch Baptist Church. Lincoln University conferred on him the Doctor of Humane Letters degree in 1978 of which he was most proud.

Dr. Billups states that his trademark has been coming forth with unusual musical ventures such as the Legend Singers; God's Musical World, which is a KTVI Channel Two weekly musical program, the Wings Over Jordan Choir, and guest choral director for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra on more than 20 occasions.

Dr. Billups wrote six original pageants, "Rolling Along in Negro Song", 1945; "NOAH" ;"Alpha to Omega",1974; "Sumner High School 100th Anniversary Festival, 1974" and "The Magic of Black Music" presented at Westport Playhouse in 1982.

DR. KENNETH BILLUPS              




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