Earl Freudenberg: Remembering Glenn Draper On Memorial Day (2)

Saturday, May 23, 2020
Lounelle at Glenn's grave at the National Cemetery
Lounelle at Glenn's grave at the National Cemetery

This is Memorial Day Weekend and I can't think of a better time to remember my good friend,  Dr. Glenn Draper. (he got on to me for calling him Dr. Draper, he would say “just call me Glenn”).

 

I never was his student, didn't sing in any of his choirs, but we were very good friends. Glenn was a regular on my radio show especially in the fall and near Christmas when the singers were on tour. They called me one time on the bus from somewhere on the East Coast.   

 

Glenn was proud of his service to our country.

He started out playing the trombone but told me his heart quickly led him to choral music. He directed the “Messiah” at Kessler Air Force base the first time it was sung there.   Commanding officers requested his men’s choir to sing when dignitaries visited Kessler.  While in the Air Force Glenn had a weekly program on the NBC Radio Network.  Kessler officials called Glenn back many times at Christmas to direct the Messiah. One commanding officer said only Glenn could get that special sound out of a men’s choir to sing the Messiah.  Glenn shared with me many of his experiences while serving our country in the Air Force. 

 

He and his singers were regulars during Christmas at the White House in both Republican and Democratic administrations.  That’s where he struck up a friendship with Lee Greenwood.  Glenn took his singers all over the world. They sang with Dr. Billy Graham in the Soviet Union.  Looking straight at Ben Haden while visiting Baylor School in Chattanooga, Dr. Graham said when Cliff Barrows retired his choice of a replacement would be Glenn Draper.   

 

Glenn was music director on Ben Haden's Changed Lives. Ben Haden said he hired Glenn while sitting in the back booth at the Southern Restaurant on Dayton Boulevard while eating pinto beans and cornbread.  Glenn did most of First Presbyterian Church's music and was a regular in the summer at Lake Junaluska directing their choir.  A nearby restaurant has autographed pictures of Glenn and the singers hanging on the wall.  While visiting that eatery the owner told me Glenn loved his fried chicken and home-cooked vegetables.   

 

Glenn directed and produced many Christmas concerts with choir and orchestra the first weekend in December at his church.  Glenn recorded more than two dozen CD's that were sold during his concerts. I told Bob Elmore one time the convention bureau should appreciate those recordings because they always plugged Chattanooga.

 

I don't know exactly how it happened, but he met his wife Lounelle while she was a performer on the Jackie Gleason TV Show which took place in Miami.  

 

Hundreds of young people got their musical start with Glenn Draper. He organized a music program at UTC by offering students free Krystal hamburgers and cokes on the Hunter Hall sidewalk.  Glenn loved the Lord, his family and country. 

 

My last time to visit with Glenn was our luncheon at the Rib and Lion on Highway 153. He loved B-B-Q.  Also present were WDYN Radio manager Tom Sneed and Glenn’s good friend, musician Dr. Tom Hammett. Glenn told us his stories for nearly two hours.  After lunch he gave us a tour of his Four Squares office. It was overflowing with pictures of his singers and places he had visited   It was really a museum.  When I would see him out somewhere he was never too busy to stop and chat with Lounelle saying, “Let’s go we have to be somewhere.”  I can’t emphasize how much Glenn loved our country and time serving at Kessler Air Force base.

 

I miss our radio chats but have so many precious memories of my visits with Glenn. I imagine he's already directed Heavens Choir many times.

 

Earl Freudenberg

heyearl1971@comcast.net

 

* * *

 

Thanks to Earl Freudenberg for his excellent tribute to Glenn  Draper.


As a volunteer at Memorial I got to know Glenn from his visits to the Chattanooga Heart Institute with his beautiful wife Lounelle. I would always kid him it was nice to have his daughter bring him in.

One day Jay Craven was entertaining the people in the waiting room of CHI when Glenn came in. I was fortunate to listen for about 20 minutes as two of the most accomplished musicians in Chattanooga history reminisced about their past performances.  I'm sure a few of the stories were actually true! How fortunate we were to have these two enrich our lives for so many years.

RIP Maestros, and thanks for the memories.

Douglas Jones
Ooltewah
Glenn Draper
Glenn Draper

How The Civil War Will Start

2 Wrongs Never Make A Right

Roy Exum: These Riots Are Surreal


Last night’s protests across the country mark the beginning of a new chapter in American history. We are not in a civil war yet. But that reality is quickly approaching. The military has already ... (click for more)

I was outraged at the apparent excessive police restraint used on George Floyd. The man was on the ground with four police officers on his back, did one really need to put his knee on his neck?According ... (click for more)

On Monday, when an unarmed black man was killed by a white policeman in Minneapolis, there were 28 others, predominately black, shot within the city limits of Chicago on the very same day. The ... (click for more)



Opinion

How The Civil War Will Start

Last night’s protests across the country mark the beginning of a new chapter in American history. We are not in a civil war yet. But that reality is quickly approaching. The military has already deployed scouts to assess the situation in Chattanooga. My expectation is that the scouts will conclude the military’s resources are better spent in Nashville and Memphis. But nothing ... (click for more)

2 Wrongs Never Make A Right

I was outraged at the apparent excessive police restraint used on George Floyd. The man was on the ground with four police officers on his back, did one really need to put his knee on his neck?According to Chief Roddy apparently not and I agree. The officer has been charged with murder. Speaking of excessive force, I do not understand how protesters think destroying the property ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Protestors Face Off With Law Enforcement At County Courthouse; Tear Gas Used After Incident On Balcony; Lee Mobilizes Guard And Seeks Further Investigation Into Nashville Unrest

A crowd of some 100 protestors did minor damage at the Hamilton County Courthouse on Sunday night, but left after tear gas was lobbed into a balcony area. Chattanooga Police said afterward the tear gas was thrown by the Sheriff's Office and not the city police. City Police also said they were not given warning that the tear gas was going to be used. In another tense night in ... (click for more)

Erlanger Nurse Fired After Social Media Post About Not Treating Protestors

An Erlanger employee was let go after a Facebook comment was brought to the hospital's attention. Tracy Davis said on Facebook that she was getting a good look at protesters faces and they shouldn't come to her hospital wanting help if they got hurt. Erlanger officials responded on Twitter by saying: "It is important to understand that her comments are her views as an individual. ... (click for more)

Sports

Ray Deering, Popular Baylor School Administrator And Sports Columnist, Dies

Ray Deering, a beloved Baylor School administrator and sports enthusiast who wrote a popular sports column in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has died. A lifelong resident of Chattanooga, Mr. Deering was a 1961 graduate of Chattanooga High School and received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Chattanooga in 1965. At UC he served as the sports editor of ... (click for more)

Trio Of Moc Runners Honored As CoSIDA Academic All-Americans

Nathan Watson, Jonathan Boyd and Abbey Bateman were named to the 2020 CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team, as voted on by sports information directors around the country, for their excellence in the classroom and competition. The 2020 Academic All-District® Women's Track & Field / Cross Country Team, selected by CoSIDA, recognizes the nation's top student-athletes ... (click for more)