Professor Samuel Bennett, lead organist and church musician at Bethel AME Church, was honored last Sunday with a proclamation from San Francisco City Hall for his commitment to music and church service.
Supervisor London Breed presented Bennett with the proclamation, in front of the congregation. .
Born and raised in Middleton, Ohio, the 85-year old Bennett, learned how to play the piano at age 11. He went to school at Miami University of Ohio, where he earned a degree in music. He also received a master’s degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music.
He worked at Miami University of Ohio as an assistant professor and supervised the student teachers. He taught solo voice, choral literature and choral directing. During his musical career, he sang the national anthem for President John Kennedy, performed at Carnegie Hall and the United Nations, and he was a member of the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, under the direction of Robert Shaw.
He performed at President Lyndon B. Johnson’s memorial service, held at Miami University.
Professor Bennett was on the musical staff at Bethel AME Church in San Francisco from 1990 to 2006. He came out of retirement and can be seen playing the church organ every Sunday.
“I have a love for music and how it affects people,” he said.