Michael Allen Bolden
Nov 5, 1953
Feb 28, 2022
Michael Allen Bolden November 5, 1953 – February 27, 2022
"If I Can Help Somebody . . ." Michael Bolden loved singing this song and would do so every chance he could get. These words informed Michael Bolden's purpose for life and guided his daily walk with God and his fellow man. Michael was a husband, father, grandfather, mentor, teacher, leader, and friend. He displayed to those around him warmth, peace, solace, comfort, and understanding of life's challenges.
He will be remembered for his kind heart, his expressive tenor voice, his caring soul, and his gentle nature. Sadly, this voice will ring out no more. Michael passed from this life on Sunday, February 27, 2022, at the age of 68. Michael Allen Bolden was born in Maysville, Kentucky, on November 5, 1953, to Allen Lewis Bolden and Myrtle Marie Ewing. At an early age, he discovered his God-given gift of music. Under the tutelage of Coralie Runyon Jones, Michael's musical light began to shine as a tenor soloist and string bass player. By the time he graduated in 1971 from Mason County High School in Maysville, he was already singing the tenor solos from the Christmas portion of Handel's Messiah. Michael's next step was college. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education at Morehead State University and a Master of Music in Music Education at the University of Louisville.
Michael's primary work has always been teaching. His first schools were in Bowling Green and northern Kentucky, but he soon found his way to Louisville to teach in Jefferson County Public Schools. After serving at Moore Middle & High School and Iroquois Middle & High School, he transferred to Butler Traditional High School, where he taught choir and humanities until his retirement. His expertise in teaching young male voices gave him the opportunity to conduct the Jefferson County TTBB All-County Choir on two occasions. A listener could immediately identify a "Michael Bolden" choir by the warm, free sound he achieved, especially with his sopranos and tenors. Because of this ability, he was a frequent judge for All-State Chorus & District Choral Festivals and was requested to work with various choirs in the Louisville area.
Having come to know God at an early age as a member of Second Baptist Church in Mayslick, Kentucky, Michael served the Lord faithfully through his ministry at Christ Church United Methodist for over forty years. He was an invaluable member of the staff, and his duties ranged from being a tenor section leader, singing tenor solos, playing in the bell choir, and conducting both the choir & bells. He also served as an interim director of the music department on five occasions. The congregation of Christ Church loved Michael so much that they welcomed him into their homes and lives. They loved hearing him sing, evidenced by all the requests he received to sing at weddings, funerals, and family celebrations.
Michael was a member of the cast of The Stephen Foster Story for 27 years from 1974 until 2001, and, since 2001, he played Uncle Nebo and sang in the Quartet. In 2013, he became the Music Director for The Stephen Foster Story and held this position for the rest of his life. In addition, Michael was a chorus member in several Kentucky Opera productions and served as the musical director for several productions at Kentucky Country Day School, including Curtain Call, Harriet Tubman, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Michael Bolden was a member of the Music Educators Association, the American Choral Directors Association, and the National Association of Negro Musicians. From the latter, he was honored with the 2013 Person of the Year award at the Bellarmine University Black History Month Festival of Music.
In addition to sharing his musical gifts, his greatest joys included fellowship over a meal with his family and friends, taking a day trip to hear a friend perform in a concert or play, and texting or talking to a friend on the phone for hours and hours.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Allen & Myrtle Bolden, and his son, Gregory Bolden.
He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Annie Cain Bolden; by his son Christopher (Ashly Cheney) Bolden, & his daughter Sarah Bolden; by his grandchildren Allison and Abigail Farris, Camden and Carter Bolden; and by his brothers Jeffrey, Keith (Sherry), & Dale (Elizabeth).
A service celebrating his life will be held on Saturday, March 5, 2022, at Christ Church United Methodist at 11 am. Musical tributes will begin at 10:30 am. Christ Church will live stream the service on all its platforms. You can access the stream by visiting www.ccum.net/live. He will be laid to rest in the Louisville Memorial Gardens East. There will be a visitation on Friday, March 4, 2022, from 4 pm until 7 pm at Christ Church United Methodist. Funeral arrangements are being handled by W.T. Shumake & Daughters Funeral Home. Masks are required for the visitation and the celebration of life.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Michael's honor to The Stephen Foster Drama Association and Christ Church United Methodist Music Ministries.