Danny Koker passes away

Danny Koker, the original Cathedrals Quartet baritone, has passed away after a long bout with cancer. He lived in Las Vegas.

He sang with Glen Payne and Bobby Clark in the Weatherfords. In 1963, after Earl and Lily Weatherford left the Cathedral of Tomorrow in Akron, Ohio, Koker, Payne, and Clark formed the Cathedral Trio. This became the Cathedral Quartet the following year with the addition of George Younce.

Koker played piano, sang baritone, and did many of the group’s arrangements. He left the group in 1969 and had since pursued other business interests, including owning a Los Angeles TV station.


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13 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. Wow Daniel, we’re losing more of our Cathedrals members: George Younce, Glen Payne, Roger Bennett, and Danny Koker. This was very sad news.

  2. Danny set the bar for the Cathedrals with his innovative arrangements, piano stylings, and emcee work.

    I wonder if the Cats would have ever reached the heights that they did in later years were it not for the foundation that Danny Koker set with the original quartet.

    The Cats may have had flashier pianists and more popular baritones, but no pianist nor baritone singer could hold a candle to Mr. Koker.

    One of my biggest thrills was seeing the original Cathedral Quartet at the 1994 Grand Ole Gospel Reunion. I also thought it was very classy of George Younce to say, “Danny, you were our emcee from the start. Why don’t you just take over tonight.”

    That was a GOGR “magic moment” for me.

    • I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO THINK WHEN KOKER CAME OUT WITH THAT GOLD JACKET–BUT WOW IT REALLY WAS A GOLDEN MOMENT AT THE GOGR—-THANKS JACK PITTMAN —FOR A TIME (ON EARTH) OF A LIFETIME!!!!

  3. I agree with John on Danny Koker’s influence in the Cathedrals. I would have love to have seen what would have happened with the Cathedrals had he stayed on board. Although I am not old enough to have seen him in in action (except on the GOGR video) his work lives on through the recordings. Cathedrals w Brass and w Strings are still two of my favorite Cathedral recordings. I love his piano intro on Hide Thou Me.

    Jeremy

  4. George & Glen made the Cathedrals….Danny Koker defined the Cathedrals. Some of the harmonies arranged by Danny remained the foundation of their sound until the day they left the road. Not a finer pianist in the Cathedrals’ history, and certainly no one with more musical vision.

  5. Daniel, thanks for the heads up…

  6. I AM SO SORRY TO READ OF DAN’S PASSING. I ENJOYED WATCHING HIM SING AND PLAY EVERY SUNDAY WHEN I WATCHED REX HUMBARD ON TV. I ALSO SAW HIM IN PERSON IN PASADENA WHEN I RE-DEDICATED MY LIFE TO THE LORD AT A REX HUMBARD CRUSADE. WE HAVE LOST A TRULY GREAT CHRISTIAN LEGEND WHO TOUCHED MILLIONS. MAY HE REST IN PEACE IN THAT HEAVENLY CITY HE SUNG ABOU SO MANY TIMES. “WELL DONE THOU GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT.”

  7. I know that Danny Koker was the best arranger and singer,piano player I ever worked with. I spoke to him several
    months before he passed into eternity. I send my prayers to
    Mary and children.
    Danny,was waiting for my book to be published,but he never
    made it.Lots of baloney has been spread by many gospel
    singing hacks,but my book will set gospel music straight about
    the original Cathedral Quartet.Many stories and many,many
    early pictures………Bobby Clark

  8. I just happened to browse the web only to find this blog with the news of Danny Koker’s death. I knew it very late and it is very sad to know that one of the pioneers of the Cathedrals had passed away. Danny will be remembered in the history of southern gospel music as a great singer. I love the Cathedrals and I have some of their albums and videos. It is however a great thing to know that Danny has joined the “Heavenly Parade” at the “Hallelujah Square” with his friends – George Younce, Glen Payne and Roger Bennet.

  9. Recently I received a gift from a friend of a C/D of the Cathedrals with Brass and Cathedrals w/ Strings. Those are 2 of the albums that were instrumental in molding me for the music I love to sing today. I look forward to meeting Danny Koker one day. What a talent! A man with “soul”. I agree his arrangements laid the foundation that made the Cathedrals the great group they became.

  10. We’re not losing them, Heaven is gaining them! -Sam

  11. 4/18/11
    Monday AM

    DITTO! Good call, Sam! At least they were able to give us all good memories in song while they were here. If you look at a Gaither Homecoming now, I notice all the missing folks that we liked to see. At least some of the younger generation is carrying on this great form of music. Like the Blackwood Brothers, Scott Fowler w/Legacy Five, and Ernie Haas and Signature Sound. That Cathedral Memorandum they did was cool! Has anyone besides me seen it? It is awesome! It’s on my wish list for sure!

    • Do you mean Signature Sound’s tribute to the Cathedrals? If that’s what you are referring to, then yes – not only do I have it, but I was there when it was taped!