Louise E. Brooks, 74, sang in Baltimore choirs

December 11, 1998|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

Louise Elizabeth Brooks, a Baltimore singer who sang with choirs in local productions of "Porgy and Bess" and "Showboat," died Dec. 4 of complications from diabetes at Sinai Hospital. She was 74.

For more than 20 years, the northwest Baltimore resident sang soprano and often alto for church choirs and local gospel and secular groups.

"She had just a wonderful voice and always put so much feeling and emotion into everything she sang," said Lynette Wilkens, who sang with Mrs. Brooks in many choirs. "She was always eager to sing and enjoyed singing so much."

Mrs. Brooks was an original member of the Morris C. Queen Chorale, organized in 1953 and now known as the Baltimore Chapel Choir. With that choir, she performed in Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess" at Ford's Theatre and in Jerome Kern's "Show Boat" at Lyric Theatre with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

A somewhat small woman with a commanding stage presence, Mrs. Brooks enjoyed singing anthems, hymns and spirituals.

"She just seemed to be full of music," said Ruth Pratt of Baltimore, who sang with Mrs. Brooks in the Queen Chorale for more than 10 years. "She just seemed to carry it. She always had a strong voice."

Mrs. Brooks sang with the Queen Chorale until about 1970, and (( was in performances throughout the Northeast -- and once on a battleship berthed in Baltimore.

"She and the whole choir went down there and performed," said James Owings, another former chorale member. "She was very enthusiastic about singing."

A Baltimore native, the former Louise Patterson graduated from Frederick Douglass High School in the early 1940s and trained to become a nurse's technician at Maryland Training Center Inc., from which she graduated in 1975.

During her career as a nurse's technician, she worked at North Charles, Lutheran and Bon Secours hospitals.

Mrs. Brooks enjoyed sewing and needlepoint, and for more than 60 years was a member of Sharon Baptist Church in West Baltimore, serving as a deaconess and singing in the women's, inspirational and sanctuary choirs.

Mrs. Brooks also was active with the church's "Feeding The Young" effort, in which members provided meals and tutoring to needy youths.

But music was always her favorite.

"She just always loved music," said her sister, Esther P. Brooks of Baltimore. "She loved to make others happy with music."

Services were held yesterday at Sharon Baptist Church.

In addition to her sister, Mrs. Brooks is survived by her husband, Frederick H. Brooks, whom she married in 1943; two sons, Frederick R. Brooks and Marvin C. Brooks; a brother, Howard E. Patterson; another sister, Lillian V. Taylor; five grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren. All are of Baltimore.

Pub Date: 12/11/98

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