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LeVero Carter

Levero and Velma CarterLeVero Carter is descended from the Lefflers of Junkins, Alberta. The son of Velma and Mitchell Carter, LeVero became involved in music as a keyboard player while he was growing up in Berkeley, California. At the age of 13, he started playing in a band, the Savonics. The Savonics practiced and performed on street corners and played rhythm and blues and the music of James Brown. When LeVero attended the first racially-integrated junior high school in California, he started playing in the mixed group, The Endells. The group’s slogan was “The Best of Music, from Surf to Soul.” As the slogan suggests, the Endells played everything from the Beach Boys to James Brown. LeVero played with the Endells for four years; during that time, the band became well known in the San Francisco and Bay Area of California. 

Levero CarterWhile living in Berkeley, LeVero also became interested in gospel music and helped organize a gospel music workshop at the Berkeley Community Workshop. Churches from about five California cities were represented at the three-day workshop. As gospel music became a hit across the United States during the 1960s, the workshop became increasingly popular.

Levero CarterLeVero attended the University of California at Berkley, where he studied political science. In 1970, he transferred to the University of Alberta's Faculty of Education, where he obtained a degree in Community Development. He used this degree to work for several community development organizations; for two years, he was the director of Western Canada Native Youth Development Programming in Ottawa. He later returned to Edmonton to head the Company of Young Canadians’ project, Operation We Care. This project initiated the development of several cultural centres in Edmonton and Amber Valley—centres established in celebration of Alberta’s various Black communities.

All the while, LeVero continued his secular music career, playing for the band The Natural Gas, which toured western Canada and whose folk-rock style was similar to that of Crosby, Stills and Nash. LeVero later joined a trio playing for upscale dining lounges and became an important part of Edmonton’s jazz scene, centred at the Yardbird Suite. One of the most popular bands in which he played was the Brass Drops, which performed, with a brass section, a mixture of rhythm and blues and funk music. The group’s style was unique at the time, particularly in Edmonton, so the Brass Drops became a sought-after group in the city's large venues.

After a hiatus from music, LeVero returned to it, focusing on gospel music and organizing the Echoes of Shiloh, a high-spirited gospel music group, based out of Edmonton’s Shiloh Baptist Church, which, at the time, was the centre of the Black community. The Echoes of Shiloh featured conga drums, tambourines, guitars, drums, an organ, and a piano, as well as a lot of singing, hand-clapping, and dancing. The band became popular and went on to play in churches across Alberta; the group even performed at the National Baptist Convention in Bandon, Manitoba. LeVero’s leadership of the Echoes of Shiloh earned him the title of the “Father of Gospel Music in Edmonton.”

Most of the band’s members were descendants of Alberta's Black pioneers, and some, like Quenten Brown and LeVero’s daughter, Junetta Jamerson, continued with their musical careers.

LeVero Carter has not only made musical contributions to Alberta, but he has also been a cultural educator on behalf of the Alberta’s Black community. In 1988, with his mother Velma Carter, he published The Black Canadians: Their History and Contributions, a Black history book researched and developed over the span of six years.

LeVero and his wife Judy have three children: Leah, Thaine, and Junetta.

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