OBITUARY

Charles W. Creath

November 25, 1952December 25, 2020
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St. Louis Black Rep musical director Charles Creath dies at 68 by Daniel Neman, December 28, 2020, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Everywhere you looked at musical theater in St. Louis, Charles Creath was there. He was the musical director for the St. Louis Black Repertory Co. for more than 35 years, contributed to musical productions across the country and served as an international ambassador for gospel music. Mr. Creath died after a short illness Friday (Dec. 25, 2020) at age 68.

To read the entire article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, click here: https://www.stltoday.com/entertainment/arts-and-theatre/st-louis-black-rep-musical-director-charles-creath-dies-at-68/article_2106d2c8-1c11-5812-a15c-0e5f2f780e06.html.

Charles “Chuck, Charlie, Chuckie Bird” Wendell Creath was born November 25, 1952 in Enid, Oklahoma and departed this life on Friday, December 25, 2020. His parents, Eugene Norris Creath and Agnes Creath Hughes, grandparents Charlie Creath, Thelma Burroughs, and B.W. and Myrtle Goodwin, aunts Irene Graham and Ida Goodwin Woolfolk, and cousin Wilbur Graham preceded him in death.

Charles grew up in the city of St. Louis, where he attended Marshall Elementary and Sumner High School. Charles attended Yale University and VanderCook College. Charles was a member of Kennerly Temple Church of God in Christ, under the leadership of Bishop Robert J. Ward, where he came to know the Lord. Charles began playing the piano at a young age. He played for several churches throughout his lifetime, the final church being Galilee Missionary Baptist Church, under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Carlton R. Caldwell, where he served faithfully.

On February 14, 2001, Charles married Lisa Michele Dickerson, and to this union Kelci Elisabeth-Marie was born.

Charles was the musical director for the St. Louis Black Repertory Co. for more than 35 years, contributed to musical productions across the country, and served as an international ambassador for gospel music.

He performed as recently as Nov. 14 at the Black Rep’s Fifth Annual Gala. In April, he won the St. Louis Theater Circle Award for outstanding musical director for the Black Rep’s revival of “Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope.”

Ron Himes, his long-time friend, remembered him as “a musical genius. He could play anything, and he played everything. He was a tremendous gospel church musician, tremendous jazz musician. He could pick up any Broadway score and play it.”

“We had done several productions of ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’ together, and he could play that whole show without the score. He was just an incredible arranger, composer and all-around great musician,” Himes said.

Charles won the Kevin Kline Award from the Professional Theatre Awards Council for outstanding musical director in 2011 for “Five Guys Named Moe.” He was also musical director on “Sarafina!” — which won the award in 2009. In addition, he was honored by the Post-Dispatch in 2009 for best musical director for “Blues in the Night” and by the Riverfront Times in 2010 for best musical director for “Ragtime.” Charles also played to a different audience doing pre-shows at the Muny for the last several years.

In addition to his work on musicals, Charles was a leading figure in the world of gospel music. As artistic director of both the Golden Gospel Singers and the Gospel People, for over 25 years, he toured extensively throughout Europe and Asia.

Early in his career, he was a studio musician in Los Angeles at Glen Glenn Sound, which provided music for television shows and movies. He was the grandson of the seminal St. Louis hot jazz bandleader Charlie Creath and has served as the mentor of countless young area musicians.

Apart from the music scene, Charles loved watching CNN (and any other news channel), being a doting father, discussing current events, acquiring knowledge, and caring for his family. He also enjoyed travelling, cooking, and browsing at Best Buy and Micro Center.

Charles leaves to cherish his memory his wife, Lisa M. Creath, daughters Candace M. Creath, Lauren B. Morrow, and Kelci E.M. Creath, son Christopher Charles Creath (Jessica), stepsons Thomas L. and LaVell D. Dickerson, grandsons Kingston Moore, Creed Charles Creath and Cruz Charles Creath, cousins Irene Myrelia Chaudry, Sarah M. Edwards (Christopher), Chris and Caleb Edwards and Brandon Charles Graham, mother-in-law Rose M. Dickerson, father-in-law James E. Dickerson, sisters-in-law Florine Y. Scott, Annie V. Chalk and Tracy L. Dickerson, brothers-in-law James E. Dickerson Jr., Jonathan E. Dickerson (Trina), and Derrick L. Dickerson, and countless personal and professional friends.

SERVICES: Private family visitation. Mr. Creath will Lie in State (family will not be necessarily present)1-8pm Saturday, January 9, 2021at KRIEGSHAUSER WEST MORTUARY 9450 Olive Blvd., Olivette. In lieu of flowers, contributions should be made to the Charles Creath Memorial Fund at The St. Louis Black Repertory Co.

Virtual services are being offered 3pm Sunday, January 10, 2021 through the following link provided by the St. Louis Black Repertory Co:

https://fb.me/e/Iw50mv5t

Due to St. Louis County mandate, the COVID restrictions include that guests must wear masks and a maximum number of 50 people so that social distancing can be practiced in our funeral home. Thank you for your patience during these difficult times.

  • FAMILY

  • Eugene Norris Creath, Father (deceased)
  • Agnes (nee Goodwin) Creath Hughes, Mother (deceased)
  • Lisa M. (nee Dickerson) Creath, Wife
  • Candace M. Creath, Daughter
  • Kingston Moore, Grandson
  • Christopher Charles (Jessica) Creath, Son
  • Creed Charles Creath, Grandson
  • Cruz Charles Creath, Grandson
  • Lauren B. Morrow, Daughter
  • Kelci E.M.Creath, Daughter
  • Thomas Dickerson, Step-Son
  • LaVell Dickerson, Step-Son
  • Irene Myrelia Chaudry, Cousin
  • Sarah M. (Christopher) Edwards, Cousin
  • Chris Edwards, Cousin
  • Caleb Edwards, Cousin
  • Brandon Charles Graham, Cousin
  • James E. Dickerson, Father-in-law
  • Rose M. Dickerson, Mother-in-law
  • Florine Y. Scott, Sister-in-law
  • Annie V. Chalk, Sister-in-law
  • Tracy L. Dickerson, Sister-in-law
  • James E. Dickerson, Jr., Brother-in-law
  • Jonathan E. (Trina) Dickerson, Brother-in-law
  • Derrick L. Dickerson, Brother-in-law

Services

  • Virtual Service

    Sunday, January 10, 2021

    VIEW VIDEO

Memories

Charles W. Creath

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Robin Weatherall

January 15, 2021

I’m honoured to have worked with Charles a number of times at The Black Rep and become friends. His musicianship was flawless and riveting as he proved when I saw him at a performance with The Gospel People in Munich. A charming, honest friend, I will miss him greatly.

Richard D’Abreu, Jr.

January 10, 2021

I had the pleasure of working as one of Charlie’s musical directors (he was the music supervisor) for the Golden Gospel Singers for the 2002 Italy tour, 2003 Gospel Connection workshops in Stuttgart, Germany and Bologna, Italy and 2004 Germany tour.

Although I had been playing in church for years, and had 2 degrees in music, Charlie was still an intimidating and amazing musical mind. To use the word “genius” would not be an exaggeration. I count him among my significant musical mentors. The GGS repertoire was large and varied. In order to do it well, you had to be proficient in traditional and contemporary gospel, traditional and contemporary jazz, spirituals, classical, and theater style playing, and whatever else came up. In my case, I had to play piano and key bass (even worked a little sax into the show) , sing, give cues and work a PowerPoint presentation with a razor-sharp reaction time during the shows, multitask like crazy, and be able to lead the group, teach parts and maintain quality control for the shows off stage.

He and GGS founder Bob Singleton challenged me to absorb and master huge amounts of information in a short time, and wouldn’t accept excuses. It was very difficult at first, but I got used to it and grew tremendously as a result. I also had to learn how to manage conflicts that inevitably arose, because “the show must go on.” That time made me a much stronger musician, leader, and person in general, and I will forever be grateful.

Though we corresponded on Facebook since those years, the last time I saw him in person was at Bob’s funeral in Maryland, where we shared a tearful, joyous hug. Although I and all who knew him will surely miss him, his legacy will remain and be found whenever we demand the most of ourselves, use the full spectrum of our creativity, and help others to stretch beyond what they thought possible and realize potential they did not know they had.

Long live the memory of Professor Charles W. Creath!

Vivian Watt

January 10, 2021

Some energies were a staple at the Black Rep. Charles was one of those. Thank you for the assistance and cooperation that helped to guide my direction which working with you at the Black Rep. Thank you for your genius, your quirkiness and just plain positivity all the time. You will be remembered. Thank you for being the "Wizard" of Music. Asante Sana and peace on your journey.

Christopher Creath

January 10, 2021

Christopher Creath

January 10, 2021

Christopher Creath

January 10, 2021

Christopher Creath

January 10, 2021

Christopher Creath

January 10, 2021

Christopher Creath

January 10, 2021

Christopher Creath

January 10, 2021

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