Beloved Jamaican composer Noel Dexter has died at the age of 80.

by Patrick D. McCoy

If you have sung in a church choir or even sat out in the pews, you may have heard the famous hymn “The Right Hand of God.”  Celebrated Jamaican composer Noel Dexter died on Sunday at the age of 80.  The composer of many compositions, appearing in numerous publications and hymnals around the world, his music contributions were countless to the sacred music world.  Among his most well known sacred choral anthems include his setting of “The Lord is My Shepherd” and “O Praise Ye the Lord.”

Born in 1938, he was regarded as a prolific scholar and led the University of the West Indies music program to critical acclaim.

Read this lovely tribute in Jamaica’s THE GLEANER

Watch Noel Dexter conduct the University of the West Indies Singers in Haydn’s “Great and Glorious.”


He will be greatly missed, but his musical legacy will continue.



A native of Petersburg, VA, Patrick holds a BM in Vocal Performance from Virginia State University and a MM in Church Music from Shenandoah Conservatory.  Formerly the Performing Arts Columnist for Washington Life Magazine, he currently is a freelance writer, publishing articles for several noted publications, including The Washington Post, Early Music America Classical Music Voice North America, The Afro-American Newspaper, CBS Washington and  He is a member of the Music Critics Association of North America, National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc., The American Choral Directors’ Association, a member of the Shenandoah University Alumni Board of Directors and a Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.  He serves as Organist/Choirmaster at Saint John’s Episcopal Church, Zion Parish in Beltsville, MD. Visit

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