Rochelle Brown has been singing with her sisters since they were children.


When Rochelle Brown was a little girl, her dad — Pastor Lonnie Gray — did not like the family to listen to secular music.

When Rochelle was 10 and sister Dedra was 6, Pastor Gray caught them singing Whitney Houston’s “Saving All My Love for You.” He came in and said, “You know, you can really sing. We’re going to have to change what you’re singing, but you can really sing,” Rochelle recalls.

When younger sister Tiffany was six, the sisters sang together at church events and other occasions. They were known as “Lonnie’s Angels.”

Today, they still sing together as the group SaCred, meaning “set aside for something special.”

“We feel our music is set aside for the worship of God and singing about love and unity and Jesus – how He can comfort you when you need it, how He can give you joy when you need it, how He loves unconditionally. The ‘C’ is capitalized because it is about Him and not us,” Rochelle said.

Brown is an educator. After teaching science for 25 years, she now works as an instructional coach at Walkertown High School, mentoring other teachers.

Music has even been a teaching tool. She once ran into a former student when she was shopping. He was excited to see her, and to demonstrate he still knew the song “Photosynthesis,” which Brown had taught him in biology. He was in his late 20s at the time but sang the whole song.

Brown married at age 41. Before she dated her future spouse, she heard a sermon on TV about singles who wanted marriage. The pastor advised singles should prepare themselves — and not just spiritually but also physically by making space in their closet for someone else. The pastor also advised women who wanted to wed to go ahead and buy a dress for the big day.

“I don’t know why, but I did it,” Brown said. “I went to Davis Bridal and bought a $99 wedding dress.”

Although she still doesn’t know why that message moved her to action. She even knew that she was never going to wear that particular wedding dress, but it seemed right to go through the ritual.

Rochelle had known Robert Brown for some time, but they had just been friends. Then he messaged her on Facebook. They had a conversation and decided to meet for dinner. They married a couple of years later.

As a long-time pastor’s kid, a teacher, and as a performer, Brown always was often under scrutiny.

“What I really like about our relationship is that I can just be me. I don’t have to hold an image of what people expect, I can just be me,” she said.

Robert supports her in everything, whether it’s their personal life (he’s a great cook), her teaching career, or her musical passion.

She was one of the choir leaders of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration in January. The choir only had two rehearsals, but the group came together easily and vibrantly for a concert on Sunday afternoon and then sang several songs at the community breakfast on Monday morning.

As Brown leads the choir she shines. Her excitement is evident, although she easily transitions to teacher/coach when she shares her expectations with the choir members.

“I enjoy what I do with the MLK – I enjoy teaching the songs more than I do being the soloist,” she explained.

Brown thought this year’s MLK Celebration would be difficult for her. Before the 2023 celebration her mother passed away. Her mother was a strong supporter of the event, and she supported Rochelle and her sisters in all they did.

Before this year’s event, Brown had a dream. She saw her mother, who said “I know you want me there, but I am with you there and every step of the way in whatever else you do in this lifetime.”

During the MLK event and in everything that has transpired in her since then she has felt more strength and less sadness.

Every teacher has other teachers who inspire them. There are several locals (besides her parents and her sisters) whom Brown credits with her own musical development – William Shuford (she calls him the GOAT of teaching music), her Uncle Chris Gray (who let her sing in his NC Mass Choir at age 12), Tony Gillion (who pushed her into directing), Dr. Rhonda Corpening (an inspiration as a female choir director), and Freddie Morrison (who was instrumental in getting her involved in the MLK Celebration).

Now Brown is the inspiration – for students, and other teachers, as well as those who hear her sing or enjoy the choirs she directs. She passes on the joy she has found.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in the March edition of “IFN Monthly.”

2 thoughts on “Making music for the glory of God

Comments are closed.