The pastor did not know his young son was listening to him pray.
“He thought I was asleep. I was a great actor,” said Major Brown.
Brown recalled his father “praying for my hands” hoping one day the son would play the piano in the church of which he was the pastor.
His prayers were answered.
At 14 years old, Brown, who was born Warren Brown Jr. but has always gone by a nickname given to him by his father, began to play at Sunday services.
Now, 37 years later, he still does.
The church is Prayer and Faith Temple COGIC in Columbus which is currently sharing space with New Bethel COGIC in Columbus while preparing to move to a new location.
Not only is Brown music minister there but also at Pine Hill Baptist Church on Seale Road in Phenix City.
Sunday keeps Brown busy. At 6 a.m. he finishes his shift at Snyder’s-Lance. He plays piano at Pine Hill Baptist at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. At 7:30 p.m. he plays for Prayer and Faith Temple. At 10 p.m. he is back to work.
“It is a long day but a blessed one,” he said.
Brown loves playing in the church.
During the week he practices with choirs.
“Music is a passion for me. Next to love it is God’s greatest creation. I don’t care where you are from, Thailand, Japan, Europe, you can relate to music. It brings us together,” he said.
Though he loves playing all kinds of music, he feels there is something special about church music.
“When I play, it comes from the heart,” he said. “Playing in the church is emotional. Music is a sacred part of the church.”
Brown, who says he plays with a jazz flair, has always loved music. As a boy he had a 13-inch television he would sneak out of a closet and watch the bands on the late night shows of Johnny Carson and David Letterman.
He began playing the drums but later switched to the piano, learning much about the instrument himself with his father showing him some chords.
“I told God that if I ever had the ability to play the piano I would help my father who often had to preach and play the music,” he said
There was another good reason to play.
“It got me out of singing,” he said, smiling.
Brown was born and raised in Columbus. He is a graduate of Hardaway High School.
He attended college in Atlanta.
“I would still come down on many Sundays and play,” he said.
In Atlanta, he became acquainted with several recording artists who advised him. He would perform with musicians James Moore and The Pace Sisters.
The 51-year-old father of five enjoys spending time with his children.
He also gives music lessons.
“I push hard but everyone goes at their own pace,” he said.
That is the way his father was with him.
On March 25 at 7 p.m. Brown will be honored at a musical celebration being held at Perfecting Love Ministries, 1021 16th Street in Phenix City, to which he is looking forward.
“Things have changed since I began. My father used an acoustic piano. He never played a synthesizer,” Brown said.
And he enjoys Sundays more than ever.
Brown remarked, “I just can’t see myself not playing music in the church.”