Demetria Bannister, 28: Kirk Franklin's 'The Storm Is Over Now'

Feb 28, 2021

More than 500,000 people have died in the U.S. from COVID-19 since the pandemic hit this country and the world just over a year ago. NPR is remembering some of those who lost their lives by listening to the music they loved and hearing their stories. We're calling our tribute Songs Of Remembrance.


Demetria was a teacher in Columbia, S.C., for elementary school students. And she was 28 years old.

We seem to have a lot of family members that actually sing and play, like, instruments and stuff. So, we'll just be sitting down or just playing instrumentals and just singing together. And that started off at a very young age. I can't remember how old I was, and Demetria, of course, was always older than me, but she always was singing and I started because of her.

Sometimes, we'd be in the car together, just making a song while we were riding. And Demetria was such a playful and funny person. And that was just with anybody she was encountering — it didn't matter if she knew you or not. She was just gonna be playful — that was just her.

Something that I'm really gonna truly miss is just playing and singing with her. Just being behind her, watching her take over. And when I say take over, I mean take over. I mean, she was such a star. She was really such a star.

I chose "The Storm is Over" because a couple of years back, me and Demetria had went on Facebook Live and sung it together. And when we sung it, we sound so good. I guess it's the message, really. The song says, "No more cloudy days / They're all gone, gone away / I feel like I can make it / The storm is over now." And that was the part that she used to sing.

Even though what happened was sad, it was still beautiful how many lives she touched. And I will say that, if you had run into her, you definitely gonna remember her. She left her mark — without her even trying. I promise you that. —Rayechon McQueen, cousin

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

NPR is remembering some of the 500,000 Americans who've lost their lives to COVID-19 by learning about them through the music they loved. We're calling these tributes Songs of Remembrance, and this one comes from Rayechon McQueen, remembering his cousin, Demetria Bannister.

RAYECHON MCQUEEN: The song that reminds me of Demetria Bannister is "The Storm Is Over Now" by Kirk Franklin.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE STORM IS OVER NOW")

KIRK FRANKLIN: (Singing) It's over now. It's over now. I feel like I can make it. The storm is over now.

MCQUEEN: Demetria was a teacher in Columbia, S.C., for elementary school students. And she was 28 years old.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE STORM IS OVER NOW")

FRANKLIN: (Singing) It's over now.

MCQUEEN: Our relationship was really different from my other cousins because we sang together. And I used to play music for her, behind her if she would meet a pianist. And being just involved in music together, it just made our relationship even more valuable.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE STORM IS OVER NOW")

UNIDENTIFIED SINGER: (Singing) Gone away. I feel like I can make it. The storm is over now. Can you help me say...

MCQUEEN: I chose "The Storm Is Over" (ph) because a couple of years back, me and Demetria had went on Facebook Live and sung it together. And when we sung it, we sound so good.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

RAYECHON MCQUEEN AND DEMETRIA BANNISTER: (Singing) The storm is over now.

MCQUEEN: I guess it's the message, really. The song says, no more cloudy days. They're all going away. I feel like I can make it. The storm is over now. And that was the part that she used to sing.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DEMETRIA BANNISTER: (Singing) No more cloudy days. They're all long gone away. I feel like I can make it. The storm is over now.

MCQUEEN: Even though what happened was sad, it was still beautiful how many lives she touched. And I will say that if you run into her, you're definitely going to remember her (laughter). She's going to leave her mark, and it's going to be without her even trying. But she's going to leave her mark on your heart. I promise you that.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE STORM IS OVER NOW")

FRANKLIN: (Singing) The storm is over now.

MCQUEEN: That was Rayechon McQueen remembering his cousin, Demetria Bannister. You can hear more of NPR's Songs of Remembrance at npr.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE STORM IS OVER NOW")

FRANKLIN: (Singing) I feel like I can make it. The storm is over now. Oh, it's over now. It's over now... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.