The Tuesday morning funeral processional for local jazz advocate, organizer, and educator, Jack McCray was an impressive New Orleans-style tribute that flowed through the streets of downtown Charleston from Ansonborough Field to Mother Emanuel AME Church on Calhoun Street.
Folks of all ages began gathering a little before 9:30, and by 10:00 the upbeat processional was in full swing, with local jazz great, Charlton Singleton, and his fellow musicians, leading the way. “I think it’s evident by the people who are out here today,” said Leah Suårez, executive director for Jazz Artists of Charleston, “that Jack was the glue in the community. He’s the visionary of all things jazz here but also as a humanitarian and a social activist.” “We want to make him proud today,” she added. “He finally gets his parade!”
The mood throughout the hour-long processional was much more jubilant than somber as the music Mr. McCray loved filled the streets of the town he grew up in. As the group, led by police escort, made its way to the destination, a rousing chorus of “When The Saints Go Marching In” broke out. The celebration continued until just before 11 when people began to file into the church for the funeral service.