On Sunday mornings in 1950s Delray Beach, Lillie Quince Head would follow her summertime gospel choir to street corners and barbershop storefronts and sing uptempo hymns. Her choir consisted of her sisters, Alease and Elizabeth Quince, handling background vocals for the group's more-famous members: their pastor-father Bishop Quince Jr. and his sister, Idell, who performed across the country as the National Gospel Twins.
From 1936 through the late 1960s, the Church of the Living God New Macedonia, the Quince family's home base, would quake with the hymns sung by the Twins, spiritual rousers and pioneers of Delray's African-American community.
"Their music touched the heart and soul and minds of so many people in the country, but especially here," Lillie Quince Head says. "Gospel has a way of uplifting the spirit, of all the trials and tribulations and pressures on you."
The long history of the Quinces and their music is being celebrated at the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum's new photo exhibit, "The Legacy of Delray Beach Families," opening Wednesday. Three other long-standing Delray Beach families join the Quinces: the Edmonds, entrepreneurs who founded several local businesses; the Mitchells, who encouraged more community outreach among the police; and the Spells, a group of local church-builders.
Photographed by Delray artist Michiko Kurisu, the show traces the four families from their arrival in the city to the present day, focusing on the talents each contributed to the city, museum director Charlene Jones says.
"The Legacy of Delray Beach Families" opens Wednesday and continues through Aug. 31 at the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum, 170 NW Fifth Ave. An opening reception will take place 5:30 p.m. Friday. Admission is free. Call 561-279-8883 or go to SpadyMuseum.com.