Eleanor Wright (1926-1992)

Eleanor Wright, prolific gospel music writer, singer, pianist, and arranger, is arguably one of the most influential persons to help gain acceptance for gospel music of the black experience in the Seventh-day Adventist church. She is credited with composing over 400 songs, publishing three songbooks, and recording several albums.

Eleanor was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1926, the twelfth of fourteen children and the last daughter born to Nora and William Crews. When she married Harold Wright at age 18, she became a member of the Wright Family Ensemble, a well-known musical group in the region.

Harold's brother Dale taught her to play guitar chords on the piano and she then taught herself to go beyond that basic instruction. Although she had had no formal training in music as a child, her gifts in music, coupled with the hands-on experience of performing and learning by rote on her own, compensated for that lack.

She later formed the Blendwright Trio, a women's trio that included herself and two sisters-in-laws, Audrey and Jackie. They toured widely, performing concerts of her music in the U.S., Bermuda, and Switzerland. Inspired by an online video of Wright performing near the end of her life in February 1990, Yvette Harris Hodges would recall her experience as a child hearing the trio perform:

I remember when I was a kid the Blendwright trio came to visit St. Louis at Berean for a concert. The place was packed. The lights were off, and they just had spotlights on them. We had never heard anything like them before! The music was electrifying! The words made you think. She was such a gifted song writer and musician....

In addition to gospel songs, Wright also wrote anthems and children's and wedding songs. She taught piano to children and wrote and illustrated the Keyboard Cousins Method for teaching that age group. She recorded on Chapel Records, Savoy Recordings, and her own Eleanor Wright label.

Del Delker, noted Voice of Prophecy singer, included one of her songs, Hallelujah, Home at Last, on a record of hers; Surely, Surely, a meditative song of hers, is hymn 688 in the 1985 Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal. Naaman the Leper, Cover Me, and A Better Day, as well as others are still sung by performers. Manna Music, Screen Gems, and Ariosa Music have published her music.

Wright's other interests included painting and interior decorating. In spite of her many activities she raised a family of six children. At the time of her death in 1992, she was living in Germantown, Ohio.