Merrell, a native of Warren, Ohio, is a worshiper, gospel and jazz
pianist, educator, music producer, songwriter and composer. At the tender
age of six, Alton's musical journey began playing the drums and piano at
New Jerusalem Fellowship Church where his father Alton Merrell, Sr. is the
pastor. He also served as Minister of Music at New Jerusalem directing
the music ministry there for twelve years beginning at age sixteen.
holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education with an emphasis in
Jazz and Classical Piano Performance from Youngstown State University
graduating Cum Laude. He also holds a Master of Music Degree in Piano
Performance from Youngstown State University. He is presently pursuing a
Master of Theology from International Seminary and will soon begin
doctoral studies to obtain a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Jazz
Composition and Performance.
Alton was also an instructor at the Dana School of Music at Youngstown
State University. His teaching responsibilities included applied jazz
piano, jazz theory, jazz keyboard, jazz improvisation, and jazz combos.
Merrell has ministered with gospel artists Martha Munizzi, Donnie
McClurkin, Dorothy Norwood, LaShunn Pace-Rhodes, Rev. Timothy Wright, and
Parkes Stewart. He has also been seen several times on the nationally
televised Bobby Jones Gospel Show. Mr. Merrell has also performed with
jazz artists: Benny Golson, Slide Hampton, James Moody, Phil Woods, Marvin
Stamm, Maria Schneider, Kenny Burrell, Billy Pierrce, Conrad Herwig,
Leslie Lewis, Frank Foster, Roger Humphries, and Jim Rupp. He has also
been a member and soloist with, the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, Cleveland
State Jazz Heritage Orchestra, Pittsburgh Concert Chorale, YSU All-Star
Alumni Jazz Ensemble, Warren Philharmonic Orchestra, and the OMEA
Intercollegiate All-Star Jazz Ensemble.
was the producer, arranger, and principle songwriter of the dynamic gospel
choir CD "He Can Do It" featuring "The New Jerusalem Fellowship Gospel
Choir" located in Warren, OH. He can also be heard on the YSU All-Star
Alumni Jazz Ensemble CD and YSU Jazz Ensemble recordings "Burnin" and the
award-winning "Biddle de Bop."
presently serves as the director of Covenant Church of Pittsburgh's Fine
Arts Academy, a Christian arts school that offers training in music,
dance, and drama to students of all ages. He is also a pianist and choir
director at Covenant Church of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
where Bishop Joseph Garlington is the pastor.
Alton and his wife Kimberly reside in
Merrell's awesome Gospel Jazz CD entitled "You're The Reason" was released
on November 27, 2004!