Wendell P. Whalum was a renowned gospel musician, educator, and minister. He achieved international recognition as teacher, organist, conductor, musicologist, arranger, composer, author, and lecturer.
Whalum was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to Thelma T. and H. David Whalum. At a very young age, Whalum discovered his musical talent, which his parents encouraged. He played for several local churches while completing his primary education. After graduating from Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, he attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Morehouse College in 1952, and later his Master of Arts degree from the University of Iowa in 1965. The University of Haiti granted him the Doctor Honoris Causa in 1968.
Dr. Whalum joined the faculty of Morehouse in the fall of 1953, and was appointed Director of the Morehouse College Glee Club, which earned national and international acclaim during his years of leadership. He was offered numerous positions at other major colleges, all which he turned down and remained at Morehouse his entire professional career.
He achieved international recognition as teacher, organist, conductor, musicologist, arranger, composer, author and lecturer; and he traveled extensively throughout the United States and abroad. He also performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra as an organ soloist in 1968, and he prepared the chorus for the world premier of the opera in 1972.
Dr. Whalum was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, American Guild of Organists, National Humanities Faculty, National Society of Literature and the Arts, Music Educators National Conference and numerous other organizations. Dr. Wendell Whalum died June 9, 1987.