In Psalm 150 of the Bible, it says “Praise him with the sound of the trumpet.” Gospel brass shout band Mangum & Company, led by trombonist Cedric Mangum, does exactly that, and not just with a trumpet but a full-on honkin’ brass band. The musicians represent many of Charlotte, North Carolina’s United House of Prayer congregations.
These “trombone choirs” are a sacred musical tradition, and it’s truly a joyful noise that they create. The church was founded by Cape Verde spiritual leader Marcelino Manoel da GraÃ§a (a.k.a. Daddy Grace) in Wareham, Massachusetts in 1919, focused on the ecstatic experience in worship. Their all-day, all-night services were propelled by the jazz instrumentation of the time, set to traditional gospel hymns. Trombones lead the way with a central melody, with others going off on roof-raising solos. This tradition continues in more than 130 United House of Prayer congregations across the U.S.
The shout band was first introduced in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1926 and huge parades with marching bands became commonplace in the religious and cultural life of the city. There are currently almost 20 shout band ensembles statewide. Cedric Mangum began playing music early and learned all the instruments before becoming lead trombonist. At age 13, he was already leading his band, the Charlotte Mother House’s legendary Bailey Clouds of Heaven, which he still helms today. As he explains, “Our music feeds the soul,” he says. “It’s designed for the soul, and that’s what draws the people.”
Trombone Shout Band, Charlotte, NC – by HistorySouth