Composer Mimi Jackson brings joy

Published 10:30 am Friday, December 25, 2009

A stateroom at The Club on Dec. 3 offered the setting for North Shelby Composer Mimi Jackson (Mary Faith Kimbrough Jackson), who provided entertainment for a group of the National League of American Pen Women.

Jackson is a member of this organization of professional composers, writers and artists.

“We’re going to have fun today,” said Jackson, who began playing a lively tune on a baby grand piano. “Now, let’s all sing along.”

Jackson’s joyful enthusiasm was contagious. Soon 50 women were belting out songs written for children, homesick travelers and soldiers at war.

Jackson explained each song’s history and composer.

“This song was written in 1943 when the world was at war. What’s new? The world is still at war,” she said.

The song’s title: “I’ll be Home for Christmas.”

Then she proved her mastery of music includes great acting skills by pretending to be a child, singing “I’m Getting Nuttin’ for Christmas,” bringing smiles around the room.

Jackson spoke of her inspiration.

“I try to musically interpret whatever the lyrics say,” she said. “Mother was a trained concert pianist; Dad, a singer who became a minister. Singing and music is a big part of family gatherings, for many of us are professional musicians.”

Jackson’s musically gifted family includes Grammy nominee Steven Kimbrough, a Broadway operatic, theater and concert singer who’s internationally known.

An Alabama native, Jackson fell into music quite naturally, but has honed her talent over a lifetime, spending decades as a music teacher, and earning world-wide respect as a composer, arranger, organist and pianist.

Locally, her associations include accompanist for the Birmingham Civic Ballet, Town & Gown Theater, Alabama Symphony and chorus master for Opera Birmingham.

She was arranger of selections in the official Bicentennial Album of the United Methodist Church.

“My most memorable moment was when I conducted a work in Singapore, one which I had composed,” she said.

Jackson spoke of this cantata, called The Good Samaritan, which was commissioned by the Wesley Methodist Church, Singapore for its 110th anniversary. Jackson used unpublished Charles Wesley poems for this work.

The cantata premiered at Victoria Hall in Singapore with Jackson conducting. The music was published and recorded by GBGMusik in New York.

Jackson continues to provide memorable times to those fortunate enough to find themselves in her audience. Her compositions for choirs and solo voice are published by Abingdon Press, Hinshaw music and GBGMusik.

Gladys Hodge Sherrer can be reached by e–mail at