New Orleans gospel group the Zion Harmonizers was founded in 1939 by Benjamin Maxon, nine years before current group president Brazella Briscoe was born in Gretna.
“Dad would play religious music when we were very little, and we heard this group the Zion Harmonizers, and an affiliated group, the Dixie Hummingbirds,” Briscoe, now 65, recalled. “My brother and I would imitate these two groups, just walk around and sing.”This year the group celebrates its 75th anniversary with a new album, “Bringing in the Sheaves.” They will perform their distinctive, faith-filled harmony on Sunday, May 4, at 1:50 p.m. at the Gospel Tent.
While working at a shipyard in 1941, Maxon met Sherman Washington, to whom he passed on his presidency. Sherman and the Harmonizers DJ’d a gospel radio hour show every Saturday on WYLD starting in 1956. “After Katrina we kinda lost touch with the radio station, which was bought out by Clear Channel,” said Briscoe. CLICK HERE to read the rest of the article at The Advocate…
Or watch this video of the Zion Harmonizers with special guest Aaron Neville:
Washington served as the Zion Harmonizer’s president from 1941 until 2007, when he appointed tenor Briscoe. “I would go to (Washington) to for advice. He became my mentor and guided me along whenever I had a situation I didn’t understand,” recalled Briscoe. Washington passed away in 2011, but the Zion Harmonizers continue to rehearse at his house with permission from his widow.