Brazeal Dennard Dies

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    Awake for Brazeal Dennard will be held July 8, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, 18700 James Couzens, with funeral services taking place the next day, beginning at 11 a.m. Mr. Dennard, founder of the Brazeal Dennard Chorale, died July 5. He was 81.

    Dennard, who held a master’s in music education from Wayne State University, was a member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; a music teacher in the Detroit Public schools for many years especially at Northwestern High School; and was adjunct faculty member at Wayne State. He founded the Brazeal Dennard Chorale in 1972.

    He was born Jan. 1, 1929 and lived his entire life in Detroit. Prior to attending Wayne State, he was in the military, where he served as a chaplain’s assistant and was responsible for the music for all chapel services.

    His musical influences include his mother, Bertha, and Mrs. Johnnie L. Reed. He began studying piano at a young age and for several years studied under the tutelage of Dean Robert L. Nolan, one of Detroit’s foremost music teachers. Nolan was a taskmaster who demanded and expected the very best from his students.  At the Robert Nolan School of Music, Mr. Dennard not only studied piano but also began studying voice.  He became an excellent tenor and sang solo as well as choral parts of major choral works in the Robert Nolan Choir. He later was in demand as a tenor soloist with many other choral ensembles and orchestras.

    Among his many awards and accolades, he received the Detroit Urban League’s Distinguished Warrior Award in 2008, as well as honorary doctorate degrees from Olivet and Marygrove colleges which honored his contributions to choral music, education and service to the musical community.

    He is survived by his nieces, Kristen Lynette Dennard, Geraldine Kidd, Sharon Dozier,  Barbara LaSalle, Jean Holmes, and Kathy Perkins; nephews Eric Douglas Dennard, Quentin Wayne Dennard and Thornton Perkins; several great-nieces and nephews and many others.

    Arrangements are being handled by Swanson Funeral Home. Memorial contributions are being accepted payable to the Hartford Memorial Baptist Church in support of the creation of the Brazeal W. Dennard Archives at the Detroit Public Library.

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