Charles Wilbert Hilliard McCabe
Friday, November 21, 2014
WILBERT McCABE memorized all the major streets of Philadelphia at age 6, took his first piano lessons at age 3 and performed with Paul Robeson at age 6. By 14, he was playing Grieg's Piano Concerto in a Philadelphia church.
It was no wonder this brilliant child prodigy, musician and teacher had no problem remembering the birthdays of children, nieces and nephews, siblings, in-laws and friends.
And the fact that every year he would send out 700 Christmas cards worldwide is not much of a surprise.
Charles Wilbert Hilliard McCabe, a 40-year music teacher in Philadelphia public schools, a concert pianist here and abroad, and an authority on African-American music, died Nov. 13 after a long illness. He was 72 and lived in Yeadon, Delaware County.
Wilbert, as he was known to family and friends, was the author of African American Sacred Music: An Afrocentric Historical Narrative, which was his doctorate dissertation at Temple University and is available on Amazon and at book stores.
He was the choir director of several Philadelphia churches.
"Because of his gentle and generous spirit, Wilbert was beloved by the members and clergy of all of these churches," his family said in a tribute.
During his four-decade career at the Philadelphia School District, he taught music history and music appreciation and was chorale director at Beeber Junior High School, John Bartram High School, Daroff Elementary School and Mastbaum Technical High School.
He also gave private piano lessons.