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Mason, Lowell (08 January 1792–11 August 1872), music educator and composer, was born in Medfield, Massachusetts, the son of Johnson Mason, a businessman, and Catherine Hartshorn. Mason was educated in Medfield schools and singing schools, where he learned to read music. He took an active interest in music and at age sixteen conducted his church choir. Largely self-taught, he played many instruments and as a teenager led a local band. Nonetheless, he intended to become a businessman and not a musician, as he saw no future for himself in music, which offered little opportunity for a livelihood....

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Verrett, Shirley (31 May 1931–5 Nov. 2010), opera singer, recitalist, and educator, was born in New Orleans, the second of six children of Leon and Elvira Verrett. Her parents had been among the growing number of African Americans who had converted to Seventh-Day Adventism, and the Verrett children were raised in a restrictive religious environment. Verrett’s earliest musical training came from her father, who wanted her to become a concert recitalist in the tradition of ...