Reverend Milton Brunson
In 1948, the Reverend Milton Brunson organized a mass gospel choir at Chicago's McKinley High School; dubbed the Thompson Community Singers, the group — affectionately known as "the Tommies" — would emerge as the nation's oldest existing community choir, celebrating their golden anniversary with the release of 1998's hits collection 50 Blessed Years. In the interim Brunson and his singers became one of the most honored gospel groups of their era, issuing nine gospel chart-topping LPs (five claimed the #1 position) and winning a Grammy award in 1995. Their 50th anniversary was also celebrated with the opening of a post office named in Brunson's honor and the release of their album, 50 Blessed Years, with Brunson’s wife JoAnn at the helm. Brunson passed away just short of the choir’s fiftieth anniversary.