Jester Hairston is the first person who helped me to feel (and imagine) the joy that Jesus Christ's resurrection brought to the world, and to understand to a degree what a glorious, pivotal moment His resurrection was for all humankind. I felt it from the tip of my teenage head to the tips of my teenage toes when we sang his song, "Amen".
Jester had come to our town in the 1970's to lead a choir (and a huge audience) in song. I am glad we were in the audience, because it was unforgettable. My musical mother had heard of Jester because he was famous for the many hats he wore: actor, songwriter, and choral conductor, and he arranged many Negro spirituals from his youth. Sidney Poitier freely admits that is was Jester Hairston's behind-the-scenes voice, which he lip synched in the movie, "Lilies of the Field".
When you watch the above video of him conducting "Amen" you will see why my mother insisted that we all go ~ it wasn't an event to be missed. He traveled the world giving this concert. I was in high school when we went to hear him, but I still remember the chills and the teary eyes that I had when he had us refrain from clapping during "Amen" until the moment when he sang, "He rose on Easter!".