Hellor, Hellor, Hellor. I am Cherye Bess-Branch. I play my grandmother, Mother Bessie Mae Branch. Ma Bessie is a quick witted, fast talking, body snatching church mother who tells it like it is for the good and the bad.
I started singing when I was about 2 years old. My mother would sing old AME hymns to me and I would sing along. Soon, she recognized a talent. She paid for piano lessons and voice coaching none of which was productive for me (or so I Thought). I wanted to sing like Aretha Franklin, Mahalia Jackson, and I loved Richard Prior. My dad used to listen to him and others all the time. I would sneak in the room, get under the table and clothe and listen. He had Richard Prior, Rudy Ray More, Mom's Mabley, Wolf Man Jack, and some jokes and stories of his own.
Soon my mom began to put me on various church and community programs to sing and play the piano. Little did she know that I had been badly influenced by the Old Kings and Queens of Comedy and mostly my dad, Mr. george Calvin Bess, the trucker. My dad was my best friend. OH I WAS SO CUTE then and still is now. HA! HA! HA!
At age 12, I was the Sunday School Musician and The 11th Episcopal District Conference YPD Musician for the AME Church. I travelled with my mother everywhere singing and playing piano and directing choirs at this young age. Well what do you know I am still doing it at 44.
I earned a four year scholarship to attend Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach,Florida and sing in the World Renouned Bethune-Cookman College Concert Chorale as directed by Dr. Rebecca Steele and Master Derrick James. This school is United Methodist Supposted. We toured all over the country and abroad performing and raising money for the school.
I was one of the star soloist in the choir. And a big clown. I made people laugh every where we toured. The laughter or the funnies were nver planned but they were allowed. I was asked to host/Commentate for shows on The Beach Side, for the President, The School, Hair Shows, Fashion Shows, Political Events, Church Events, and etc. My unique ability to tailor make the show to it's purpose and cause was uncanny and very much so sought after.
After graduation, instead of remaining in Miami where I interned at News Channel 7 as assistance News Editor I had to return home. My dad had been diagnosed with Prostate cancer and my mom had a (several) strokes. My only brother had been killed in the Civil Rights Movement (SNCC)in 1967 so there was no one by me. I moved back home from Miami, got a job at WKQE Radio Station as News Editor and I took care of both parents until they died. My mom died in 1995 and my dad died in 2000. I married Sgt. James R. Branch in 1999.
My husband paid for my first Demo Cd. He arranged for his nephew, Barron Thomas, to record me in his home studio. It been great from then on. I am the full-Time Minister of Music for Arnett Chapel AME Church in Quincy, Florida, Reverend Willie E. Hagan is Pastor.
Please go to my web site and check everything out www cherryebranch com. tell me what you think!