By Lillian Small
Manrico Barry Isaac Currington passed away on January 13, 2020 in Apopka, Fla. where his only remaining sibling Joyce Currington Boone now resides. He was born to Johnnie and Ethel Brooks Currington in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Nov. 29, 1940. Barry, as he preferred to be called, began playing the piano at the age of three. By the age of six, he was conducting the church choir where he attended and later the Choir’s Union of Fort Lauderdale.
After leaving Fort Lauder-dale where he studied instrumentation under the late great Julian “Cannonball” Adderley and was a lead tenor vocalist in the chorus of the late Rhoda G. Snead Collins, he matriculated at Michigan State University. However, prior to completion, he enrolled at Temple University and the Philadelphia Academy of Music where he received his master’s degree in music.
Barry served as the organist and Minister of Music at the Met Church where he orchestrated and directed the very first Mass Choir of 250 voices in the tri-state area of Philadelphia, New York, and New Jersey. This groundbreaking choir recorded the award-winning “I Will Return to Mt. Sinai” album which featured the number one gospel song “I Believe” arranged and led by Barry.
The operatic stage beckon-ed him, and he lived and studied in Europe for over a decade. In preparation for the stage, he studied French and Italian and spoke each language fluently. While in Europe, he made his operatic debut and starred in La Traviata.
Barry was an arranger, composer and conductor who served as pianist for the Clara Ward Singers and Willa Ward Singers. He can also be heard on many recordings of great Rock, Pop, Classical and Jazz as accompanist to such notables as Aretha, Stevie and Ella.
The Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at 12 noon at LIFELINE Christian Fellowship, 2919 N.W. 19 St., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.