Many Gospel fans will remember Harold as a songwriter, arranger, and member of The Speer Family. But like many of my friends, I'm remembering a Stamps-Baxter essential.
In 2005, I attend the Stamps-Baxter singing school for the first time. There was an older gentleman who sat at the back of group singing. He didn't say much, but people treated him with a lot of respect. I only knew his name was Harold, and people called him H.
When Ben heard one of my songs, he pulled me aside and said, "H isn't teaching anymore, but he's a great arranger. Would you mind asking him to arrange your song? I'd really appreciate it."
Who was I to say no to Ben Speer?
So that afternoon, I found Mr. Lane and asked him to arrange my song. He looked at it and asked why I didn't just arrange it myself. I told him I didn't know how.
And that was the tipping point.
He told me to sit down, open my notebook, and grab a pencil. Over the next hour, Mr. Lane began teaching me how to write 4-part harmony. For the rest of the school, I met with him for an hour a day for private harmony classes. To say it was amazing was an understatement.
On one particular day, I brought along a book called "The 100 Greatest Gospel Songs" that I was going to use for my voice lesson later that day. Mr. Lane picked it up and said, "I wonder if I have any songs in this?"
I thought, "Is this guy serious?"
The book contained not one, but two of his songs.
To look at Mr. Lane that year, you saw an old man. Every part of him - physically, spiritually, mentally - seemed to move slower than the world around him.
But when he taught, a young, vibrant musician appeared. The transformation was almost magical, and always wonderful.
Over my time at Stamps-Baxter, I got to learn more about Harold Lane - the man and the musical legend - but my most treasured memories will always be those hours when he taught a young singer how to write harmony.
Enjoy heaven, Mr. Lane.
One of my favourite Harold Lane songs,
performed during a Stamps-Baxter closing program.