Aaron Bash Windom

Following up on yesterday’s post, I decided to draft a brief biography of gospel composer A. B. Windom — just in time for the last few days of Black History Month.

Aaron Bash Windom, better known as A. B. Windom, was born on September 11, 1910, in Missouri. Nothing is known about his early years. By 1941, he was publishing his own compositions in St. Louis, often under the imprint “Studio of A. B. Windom.” In addition to being a gospel composer, he taught music, and his students called him Professor A. B. Windom. He was also a performer, and both sang and played piano.

On February 17, 1949, he married Selma B. Hurd. Born c. 1903, Selma was from East St. Louis, Ill., across the river from St. Louis, and was the daughter of Baptist minister Rev. B. M. Hurd.

Although all his published compositions were gospel music, Windom taught classical piano. As one of his students remembers, “He was very well versed in music theory as well. Gospel music is not all he knew. He was a light-skinned Black man, [and] eccentric. I still miss him.” At least one of his students went on to become a professional musician, the gospel composer Rev. Robert Mayes (1942-1992).

Windom served for forty years as the minister of music at Christ Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church in St. Louis, circa 1940 until his death. In 1966, he served on the Devotional Literature Commission of the Progressive National Baptist Convention.

His gospel compositions were recorded most notably by Mahalia Jackson, and also by less well-known performers such as Martha Bass, the Golden Harmoneers, the Clara Ward Singers, etc. His 1948 composition “Let Us Sing Till the Power of the Lord Come Down” (a.k.a. “Now Let Us Sing”) has been recorded a number of times and is widely sung by church choirs. This song has even entered the folk tradition to the point where “Now Let Us Sing” has entered the oral tradition, passed on from singer to singer; unfortunately in the process Windom’s authorship has sometimes been forgotten.

Windom died on February 28, 1981. He had turned over his school at 3905 Evans Ave., St. Louis, to Professor Lee Cochran, Jr., who continued to teach music there. Selma, A. B.’s wife, died on February 26, 1994. They are buried together in St. Peter’s Cemetery, Normandy, St. Louis County, Missouri.

(If you want references, they’re at the original post.)

3 thoughts on “Aaron Bash Windom”

  1. Looking at the greater history, the Progressive National Baptist Convention split from the National Baptist Convention in 1961

    His church seems to have shifted location a few times
    Christ Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church 1965- (1341 North Kingshighway)
    Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church 1946–1965 (2900 Gamble Street)
    “” (1940–1946) 815 North Beaumont Street
    “” (1920–1940) 2029 O’Fallon Street
    though it seems to have been established in 1918

    btw while looking at a map of where the church had been located I noticed a historical site related to Scott Joplin around the corner from one and going down that rabbit hole found an article which gives some of the history of the area
    Baumann, Timothy; Hurley, Andrew; Altizer, Valerie; Love, Victoria (May 2011). “Interpreting Uncomfortable History at the Scott Joplin House State Historic Site in St. Louis, Missouri”. The Public Historian. 33 (2): 37–66. doi:10.1525/tph.2011.33.2.37 (online version at
    Among other things it mentions a Black Artists Group of St. Louis in the late 1960s

    BTW I could not find 3905 Evans Street, St. Louis though streets might have changed names, etc. There is a 3905 Evans Avenue

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