William Steven Jackson Jr., affectionately known as "Stevie", was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, on September 15, 1957, to Mary Ellen Harris Jackson and William Steven Jackson Sr. At an early age, Stevie exhibited an interest in music. Music was his life! Much of his musical destiny was determined by the strong music education program in the public school setting, such as classroom music instruction, band and the school glee club. Stevie was powerfully influenced by the performance of Handel’s Messiah under the baton of Maestro Billy Hunt in December 1969. One of Stevie’s first compositions was "Overture Suite in G Minor". His piano teacher, George W. Murphy, marveled at his knowledge of Baroque style and ornamentation.
Later, he had a new appreciation for the Contemporary Gospel idiom and was fascinated by such influences of Edwin Hawkins and the legendary Alma Blackmon. He appreciated his influences from Francisco (Frank) de Araujo, Director of the Takoma Academy Chorale. Under Frank’s tutorage, the Chorale performed for President Gerald Ford and Polish dignitaries in Warsaw in the summer of 1975. The President spoke with the students directly following the performance. What an honor! Subsequently, Stevie graduated from Takoma Academy in 1975 and later sang with Pro Música under the direction of Professors Larry Otto and Robert Young while pursuing his music education career at Columbia Union College (CUC). Among their travels, Pro Música visited Puerto Rico, where they experienced many adventures. Stevie graduated from CUC, now Washington Adventist University, in 1982.
As charter members of Capitol Hill Seventh-day Adventist Church, Stevie nor his family were bench-warmers. His mother was the Sabbath School Superintendent, one sister would give the Secretary’s Report, and the other did the mission story. The Jackson Three might sing the special music–even as his voice dropped from soprano to baritone! In time, the transition was made from the F Street Mission to the first property of the Capitol Hill Seventh-day Adventist Church at 1000 East Capitol Street where Stevie started playing as Church Pianist. As the late Elder Leonard Hodges would point out, when his playing skills were in their formative stage, he would just play a single key for the pitch of the hymn, and that was it! The poor congregation was on its own! Thank YOU LORD for developing Stevie’s abilities!
Stevie established, directed, and composed vocal and instrumental music for The Last Voices, Hope, Singspiration Gospel Choir (SGC), New Expressions, New Genesis and Enduring Praise. He also wrote theatrical productions for his students at Dupont Park School, San Francisco Junior Academy, Hadley Acres School and G. E. Peters School and special programs for Glenridge and Ardmore Elementary Schools. SGC had the honor of singing on "Spread a Little Sunshine" on D.C.’s Channel 9 in 1981. In the spring of that same year, Stevie entered the "American Song Festival", where he received an honorable mention for the gospel composition "Life."
Stevie soon journeyed to Detroit to attend the United Youth Congress sponsored by the Seventh-day Adventist Youth Department. Inspired with new zeal, Stevie endeavored to record his collection of wedding songs. Enlisting the help of his musical colleague Myron Ottley and other contemporaries, the songs were prepared for the studio. Even though the project has yet to be released, an eventual release has not been ruled out.
Music ministry was always concurrent with Stevie’s music education career. He served in positions of duty at The People’s Community Baptist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, and Macedonia Baptist Church in Anacostia, Washington, D.C.; and was Director of Music for Lane Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Northeast Washington, D.C.
One of the highlights of his music composition ministry was the creation of "A Soulful Christmas Oratorio", which was performed at Capitol Hill Seventh-day Adventist Church in December 1990. The work is a juxtaposition of soloists, chorus, rhythm and orchestra fusing traditional and contemporary gospel with Stevie’s classical background. He later added an overture to the work several years later with much toil and care, especially after his briefcase containing his manuscripts was stolen from his car one night.
Stevie continued to compose music to the glory and honor of our LORD AND SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST. In his 60th birthday concert celebration in 2017, he shared a taste of a lifetime of Christian musical compositions. His hope was that many would be blessed and edified by the joyful renditions of praise.
Stevie was predeceased by his parents and leaves to celebrate his life his loving sisters Denice Harris and Yevette Watson-Price (Stephen Price); nieces Marissa Ingram (Kenneth William Barnes III), Ashlee Harris-Morris, Stephanie Watson, Courtney Watson, Kelsey Morris, Kym Craig-Williams (Eric Williams) and Kelli Craig; nephew Kevin Craig Jr.; great nieces Jade Barnes and Izabella Benoit; great nephews Kenny Barnes, Gaje Barnes, Justin Barnes, Jacen Barnes and Zane Morris; and a host of other relatives and friends.