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As part of a monthlong celebration of Black History Month, “A Taste of Blackness” will feature a performance by Eugene “The Talking Sax” Peebles, a soul food dinner, and a few …
As part of a monthlong celebration of Black History Month, “A Taste of Blackness” will feature a performance by Eugene “The Talking Sax” Peebles, a soul food dinner, and a few words from guest speaker Rev. Clyde Ruffin. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, February 11, at the St. Joseph Catholic Hall.
Mr. Peebles is one of the most accomplished musical talents currently performing in the St. Louis area music scene. The “Talking Sax” produces a captivating sound on the tenor saxophone, which showcases his unique combination of passion, talent, and ability to entertain no matter the style of music.
Eugene has studied classical, jazz, Dixieland, and contemporary music. A standout in his high school concert and marching bands, he honed his skills as a saxophonist and organist at his church home, the Devotional Missionary Baptist Church in Kinloch, Missouri, which at that time had one of the most sought-after choirs and musician rosters in all of St. Louis. In 1982, Mr. Peebles accepted a college scholarship and ultimately earned his bachelor’s degree in business from Central Methodist in Fayette while performing with the college jazz and concert bands.
A well-rounded and highly experienced musician, some notable performances include opening for gospel artists such as John P. Kee, The Williams Brothers, Angela Spivey, and the Mississippi Mass Choir. He also performed at home games for the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Blues. He has also opened numerous NBA and WNBA games with the national anthem. The “Talking Sax” was also featured on Black Entertainment Television’s “Bobby Jones Concert” in St. Louis.
Mr. Peebles was honored to perform for military personnel at Beale Air Force Base in California. He is a member of The State of Missouri Gospel Announcers Guild affiliate of The Gospel Music Workshop of America.
Rev. Clyde L. Ruffin accepted the call to the ministry at the age of five and preached his initial sermon shortly thereafter. He was officially licensed as a minister of the gospel in the fall of 1970. That year, he entered the University of Iowa and earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in Speech and Dramatic Arts. In 1976, he was appointed Assistant Professor at Washington University- St. Louis.
Immediately after moving to St. Louis, he united with San Francisco Temple Christian Assembly and was ordained in 1978 under the leadership of the late Bishop Dwight McDaniels. He served this ministry faithfully for six years before moving to Columbia, Missouri, to accept a senior faculty position with the University of Missouri in 1982.
Rev. Ruffin was licensed as a Baptist minister in 1988. He united with Second Missionary Baptist Church in 1997, where he served as an Associate Minister and Assistant Pastor. In 2002, he was awarded a Doctorate in Pastoral Theology and ordained by Rev. Donald R. McNeal. He was invited to serve as Interim Pastor of Second Baptist Church. He was elected to the position of Senior Pastor in December 2003.
His vision is a church overflowing with believers of all races and backgrounds who are fervent in love and worship, grounded in the Word of God, and committed to serving the community. He continues to challenge others to believe in the extraordinary possibilities of what God will do in the lives of ordinary people.
Although he has recently attained the title of Professor Emeritus, he has never wavered in his commitment to education and community service. He is the recipient of the Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence and the Chancellor’s Award for Research and Creativity. He is also a Kellogg National Fellow and a Distinguished Alumni of the University of Iowa. In 2004, he was awarded the Martin Luther King Community Service Award and the Columbia Values Diversity Award.
Most recently, he was named the 2012 recipient of the President’s Award for Community Engagement. In 2015, Rev. Ruffin was elected to the Columbia City Council as the representative for the First Ward, where he continues to champion an agenda to confront the issues of social inequity, racial disparity, and violence that continues to plague our community.
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