‘She brought music to so many’: Vicksburg’s musical matron Brasfield passes away

Published 10:38 am Friday, July 5, 2024

Longtime music educator and organist/choirmaster for the Church of the Holy Trinity, Dorothy Brasfield, died Saturday, June 29. She was 90 years old.

Brasfield spent 42 years as a music educator, teaching thousands of students. She also served as the organist at Holy Trinity for more than 30 years. But her musical endeavors went beyond teaching and playing the organ. Brasfield was passionate in sharing her love of music with others, and with the Vicksburg community as a whole.

For 15 years she served as the administrative director of Mississippi Sings, a project that brought in students from all 50 states to hear the Mississippi Symphony. She founded the Conservatory of the Fine Arts, a ministry of Holy Trinity, in 2006 and served as its administrative director. Brasfield was also instrumental in forming the Vicksburg Orchestral Society, a community orchestra, where she served as president and CEO.

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Brasfield worked alongside the late Frances Koury, with the Four Seasons of the Arts — now the Frances Koury Four Seasons of the Arts, which offered musical programs in Vicksburg that included a sunset patriotic concert presented by the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra held at the Vicksburg National Military Park and candlelight concerts at Holy Trinity, with the MSO performing musical compositions by well-known composers.

“Dorothy Brasfield partnered with my mother, Frances Koury, to carry on the tradition of bringing quality entertainment to our community,” Connie Hosemann said. “Through The Four Seasons of the Arts, both women combined their time and talents to enhance the Vicksburg community in the arts. These seasonal events established by them were, and still continue to be, highly endorsed and are proof their legacy lives on. What great music directors the heavens now have.”

Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. added that Brasfield’s death will leave a hole in the community.

“This is truly going to be a loss to the Vicksburg community,” Flaggs said. “She was a tremendous organizer and asset to the Four Seasons and the conservatory. She is going to be sorely missed.” 

Holy Trinity church member Carol McMillin spoke of many of Brasfield’s musical accolades and added that she also served on the board for the MSO.

“I can’t begin to put into a few words what Dorothy meant to the Church of the Holy Trinity, the City of Vicksburg, the state of Mississippi and to me,” McMillin said. “Through her great musical talent, creativity, and leadership, she brought music to so many. I served on several committees with Dorothy and learned so much from her. Most of all Dorothy was a dear friend to me. Some of my fondest memories of her are eating dinner at Char with a group and then going to enjoy a symphony concert afterwards. She will be greatly missed.” 

Brasfield served as president of the Mississippi Music Educators Association, president of the southern division of Music Education National Conference and president of the Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education. She was part of at least 20 musicals with the Vicksburg Theatre Guild, where she played Madame Pizzicato for approximately 30 years.

Brasfield earned a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Belhaven University and a master’s degree in music education from Jackson State University.

She was married to F.E. Brasfield and the couple had two daughters, Lynn and Jean.

“One of the first experiences knowing Dorothy was having dinner with her and her husband F.E.,” longtime music educator and Vicksburg Warren School District Fine Arts Curriculum Coach Nancy Robertson said. “He was truly a southern gentleman, and she was his sweet Southern Belle. He would always accompany her on trips with the Mississippi Music Educators Association and he told me he was always ‘driving Miss Dorothy.’”

During her time as a private music teacher, Brasfield taught more than 200 students.

Brasfield’s mother was one of the premier piano teachers in the South and in following her lead, she too taught private lessons.

“I took piano lessons from Mrs. Brasfield from first through 12th grade,” former Vicksburg resident Tess Frazier Rigdon said. “I hope she’s doing what she loves and is filling heaven with music.”

From her love of music, Brasfield’s legacy will continue to live on in Vicksburg, Robertson said.

“Dorothy Brasfield’s life was a life of service to others. She served her family; she served her community; she served the cause of music education in Mississippi, and she served her church with tireless energy, excellence, and joy.”

Brasfield’s funeral service will be held Saturday, July 6, at 1 p.m. at the Church of the Holy Trinity. A graveside service will follow at 3:30 p.m. in Edwards.



About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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