Since 1980, Jester called me his "favorite cousin," because of my musicianship and ability to arrange choral spirituals, many of which were influenced by him. When I had the pleasure of being an invited Guest Conductor at Carnegie Hall, February 19, 2012, my original piece, ECHOES OF JESTER HAIRSTON, was in tribute to him and was performed as a world premier by a mass choir of 300 singers from around the country; Detroit, Seattle, Arizona, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz area, and the San Francisco Bay Area. The enclosed picture is of Jester and me after one of his concerts many years ago, when he personally introduced me to his audience, saying: "I wish to acknowledge my favorite musician-cousin, Jacqui Hairston;" these were words I shall never forget. I first came to know Jester while working on my graduate degree at Columbia University (he was Guest Conductor of the University Chorus), and he and I pledged a commitment to stay forever connected and in touch. I spent many occasions traveling to his home in Los Angeles from the Bay Area, literally sitting at his feet, recording him, and listening to his "story-after-story-after-story." I am fortunate enough to still have held on to recorded excerpts, which have been turned over to this committee. Because of my connection to Jester and his influence, I received the Jefferson Award from S.F. TV Station-Channel 5, for being the "PRESERVER OF NEGRO SPIRITUALS," following in his footsteps.