Musically Yours
James A. Hyter.

James in Downtown Memphis

James Hyter was an accomplished bass-baritone vocalist who served as both a performer and civic leader in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. Most Memphians know Hyter as "Ol' Man River" for his long time soloist role with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra at the Sunset Symphony. From 1978 through 1998, he lent his deep, resonant voice to the familiar words of Jerome Kern's classic "Showboat" tune at the Memphis in May event, while tens of thousands of people screamed for encore after encore.

Although fame came relatively late in life for Hyter, he had already been singing "the low notes" for most of his life. On February 2, 2009, Mr. Hyter had reached the age of 87. A resident of Memphis since he was a week old, he began singing in the Centenary United Methodist Church choir while in grammar school. He also sang with the Booker T. Washington High School Glee Club under the direction of the late Emma Corporal.

After high school, Hyter spent three years serving in the army. Mr. Hyter rejoined the choir at Centenary. He first studied voice under Madam Florence McCleve, and later studied under James Barr. He transferred his membership from Centenary to St. Luke's United Methodist Church in 1991, and sang in the choir at St. Luke's. In November of 2004, Mr. Hyter was honored with a W.C. Handy Heritage Award in a ceremony at the Issac Hayes Food-Music-Passion club in Memphis.

We thank you for visiting these web pages. Mr. Hyter passed away in Memphis during the night of April 2nd, 2009. He had been dealing with severe health problems during his final months. His beloved wife of 47 years, Flora, passed away in November of 2007. We have faith that James' death was a blessed release and that he is rejoined with the love of his life in the company of Jesus our Savior. If you would like to send a message to James' daughter, Beverly, you can send a message to Beverly.

If you would like to read a vintage biography about Mr. Hyter,
click on the word biography.
If you would like to read a special article and interview with Mr. Hyter
by Glenda Davis, click on the word magic.

|edition: January/2012|
Copyright 2012 Jasir Productions