By Janice Hayes
Rose Marie Saulsby began singing in the Mount Olive Baptist Church choir in 1950 under the pastorate of Rev. Robert H. Lee. Her euphonious and soulful voice reverberated at heavenly heights throughout the sanctuary. She is known for her sweet and humble demeanor and her soul-stirring renditions of great gospel songs like “Shine on me.”
Mrs. Saulsby is the oldest active choir member at New Mount Olive Baptist Church under the pastorate of Dr. Marcus D. Davidson. “I served under Rev. Lee, Rev. Weaver, Dr. Carter and now Dr. Davidson. Pastor Davidson is a humble young man, but he can preach and sing. I love to hear him sing. I especially love the way he sings old school gospel songs in his own contemporary style,” said Mrs. Saulsby.
On June 14, 2017, Mrs. Saulsby will celebrate her 90th birthday. Due to age related health issues, she reluctantly decided to retire from the choir. Over the last 67 years, she has served in Choir number one, the Anthem Choir and the Voices of Mount Olive choir. Sunday, March 5, 2017 will be her last time singing with the Voices of Mount Olive choir, but she will continue to serve at funerals and on special occasions. She also works as an attendant at McWhite’s Funeral Home, providing comfort and support to families during their time of bereavement.
Through her spiritually enriched musical gifts and powerful execution, Mrs. Saulsby could move the congregation from sanctuary silence to an explosion of emotions. Some of her most beloved gospel songs included, “Yes, God is Real,” “When the Saints go Marching in,” and “He’s Already Done What He Said He Would Do.” Her voice was unmistakably rich and majestic because she knew she was singing to a king, King Jesus. Mrs. Saulsby’s melodious voice will be missed, but it will echo into perpetuity in the annals of gospel music.
Mrs. Saulsby is the mother of five children: Annie Clark, Ethelyn Newsome, Quinnella Caldwell, Lorenzo Saulsby and Stanley Saulsby. She also has eight grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.