100 Years of Song: Series IV

Following from our centennial celebration in 2022, we will be conducting a fourth series of online interviews with Hymn Society leaders and persons of note during the coming year. All the interviewees will be speaking about their own stories, their interest and experience as leaders in the field of congregational song, their involvement in and service to The Hymn Society, and issues that are facing us today.

Each interview will be made available for free as a real-time Zoom webinar, and registration is required to view the real-time broadcast. The interviews are being archived on The Hymn Society website where anyone may view them on demand. All broadcasts will take place on Mondays at 1:00 pm ET.


October 21 Beverly Howard
November 18 Mary Nelson Keithahn & John Horman
December 16 Kim R. Harris
January 27 Geoffrey C. Moore
February 24 Saya Ojiri
March 17 Benjamin Brody
April 28 Gerardo Oberman
May 19 Adam M. L. Tice
June 9 Jacque Jones, FHS
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October 21: Beverly Howard

Beverly Howard is a retired university professor who lives in Fort Worth, Texas, where she maintains an active schedule as a church musician. Howard has been active in The Hymn Society as a presenter at annual conferences, member of the editorial advisory board for The Hymn (1998–2001, 2009), and editor of that journal for two terms (2003–2008). Currently she serves as the Book and Media Reviews editor. Other areas of hymnological activity include participation as a committee member on two hymnals: Celebrating Grace: Hymnal for Baptist Worship and Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal. She was a collaborating author on the hymnology text Sing with Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Hymnology.

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November 18: Mary Nelson Keithahn & John Horman

Mary Nelson Keithahn is a retired United Church of Christ pastor/educator, volunteer church musician, curriculum writer, journalist, and lyricist who has recently moved from the Black Hills to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to be closer to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She is a Life Member of the Hymn Society and Choristers Guild, and her love of congregational song and appreciation of Christian hymnody has infused all areas of her ministry. Mary has been collaborating with John Horman on a variety of projects in church music for forty years.


John Horman is an accomplished musician, composer, and music teacher. He served as a minister of music for 50 years and taught in public schools for 27. He has composed more than 200 published choral anthems and wrote the music for two collections, Sing the Stories of Jesus and Sing the Stories of God’s People. These collections contain 55 songs for young children which were designed to tie into the Bible stories most often used in church Sunday School programs and curriculum materials. John believes that everyone can experience the gift of song, and that music is key to creating a more harmonious world.

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December 16: Kim R. Harris

Kim R. Harris is the Assistant Professor of African American Religious Thought and Practice in the Department of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University. A gifted cantor, leader of song and a passionate cultural advocate, Harris earned a PhD in worship and the arts from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. In addition to teaching courses on Black liberation and Womanist theologies, Harris leads music in a variety of liturgical and academic settings. She is a liturgist, composer and recording artist, presenting lectures on the music of the Black Catholic experience, the spirituals of the Underground Railroad and the freedom song of the modern Civil Rights Movement.

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January 27: Geoffrey C. Moore

Geoffrey C. Moore, OSL (M.M., M.Div., Ph.D.), is an elder in the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church. He spent 17 years in pastoral music ministry at Highland Park UMC and Lovers Lane UMC. Rev. Moore currently serves as the Curator for Community Worship at Perkins School of Theology, where he teaches as an adjunct professor in worship and theology. His work focuses on examining the intersection of music, liturgy, and theology. Rev. Moore served on the Executive Committee of The Hymn Society, 2011–2020, and as President, 2016–2018.

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February 24: Saya Ojiri

Saya Ojiri completed her PhD in Theological Studies (Liturgical Studies) and Master of Sacred Music degree at Emmanuel College in the University of Toronto. Before coming to Canada, she completed her degrees of Master of Theology and Bachelor of Arts at Rikkyo University, Tokyo. She has been serving internationally as a lecturer and a church musician in Canada, the World Council of Churches (WCC), as well as in Japan. She has composed several hymns and anthems, with some of these published by Hope Publishing Company.

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March 17: Benjamin Brody

Benjamin Brody serves as Chair of the Music Department, Professor of Music, and Director of Church Music Studies at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. At Whitworth, he teaches courses in church music and music appreciation, and serves as Director of Campus Worship.  A life member of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, Ben served as President (2020-22), and convened the working group that produced Singing Welcome: Songs and Hymns for Refugees and Immigrants (2017).  A hymn tune composer, Ben has authored two collections of hymn tunes published by GIA Publications, Inc.

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April 28: Gerardo Oberman

Gerardo Oberman: Nacido en Kampen (Holanda), pastor y actual presidente de las Iglesias Reformadas en Argentina, coordinador de la Red Crearte de música y arte litúrgico desde su creación en el año 2004. Miembros del Comité de Liturgia de la Comunión Mundial de Iglesias Reformadas, integrante del Comité de Vida Espiritual del Consejo Mundial de Iglesias. Poeta, escritor de textos litúrgicos, compositor. Casado con una hija y un hijo.


Born in Kampen, Netherlands, Gerardo Oberman is a pastor and the current president of the Reformed Churches in Argentina. He has been coordinating the Red Crearte Network of music and liturgical art since its inception in 2004. Gerardo is a member of the Liturgy Committee of the World Communion of Reformed Churches and serves on the Spiritual Life Committee of the World Council of Churches. In addition to his pastoral duties, he is a poet, writer of liturgical texts, and composer. Gerardo is married and has a daughter and a son.

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May 19: Adam M. L. Tice

Adam M. L. Tice is a widely published hymn writer and is Editor for Congregational Song with GIA Publications. He served as text editor for Voices Together, the 2020 Mennonite hymnal. He was a Lovelace Scholar in 2004, and has attended every Hymn Society conference but one since then.

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June 9: Jacque Jones, FHS

Jacque B. Jones has been writing in various forms all her life and she took up the challenge of writing hymn texts in 2003. Her text collection Songs Unchanged Yet Ever Changing was published in 2015 by GIA.  Jacque has been an active member of The Hymn Society in the US and Canada since 2003, having served as its president from 2014 to 2016.  She is a member of Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, New York, where she is actively involved in worship leadership. A native of Texas, Jacque attended Baylor University and The University of Texas at Austin, where she received a BFA in theatre. She and her husband live in Brooklyn Heights, New York, and they have three adult children.

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Series I: Lim Swee Hong, FHS

Lim, Swee Hong, FHS, is the Deer Park Associate Professor for Sacred Music at Emmanuel College of Victoria University in the University of Toronto, and Director of the Master of Sacred Music program.

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Series I: Mary Louise Bringle, FHS

Mary Louise (Mel) Bringle is Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies and coordinator of the Integrated Studies major at Brevard College in Brevard, NC.  Her original hymn texts and translations are included in two single-author collections out of GIA, as well as in hymnals and supplements of numerous denominations in North America and Scotland.  She has served as President of The Hymn Society and chair of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song, responsible for creating the 2013 PCUSA hymnal Glory to God. In the summer of 2020, she was named a Fellow of the Hymn Society.

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Series I: James Abbington, FHS

Born in Gary, West Virginia, Abbington received his musical education at Morehouse College (BA) and the University of Michigan (MMus, DMA). He is Associate Professor of Church Music and Worship at Candler School of Theology, Emory University in Atlanta and Executive Editor of the African American Church Music Series published by GIA Publications (Chicago). Abbington was recently re-appointed National Director of Music and Worship Arts of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. and is Director of Music Ministries and Church Organist of the Friendship Baptist Church, Atlanta.

He was chairman of the Core Committee and Music Editor of One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism: An African American Ecumenical Hymnal whose advisory committee consisted of music directors from the African Methodist Episcopal Church, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Progressive National Baptist Convention, Church of God in Christ, Black Episcopalian Church, United Church of Christ (Congregational), Disciples of Christ (Christian Church), and Seventh-day Adventists.


He is the author of numerous books, articles, and choral recordings of African-American sacred music published by GIA Publications, Chicago.

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Series I: John Ambrose, FHS

Rev. Dr. John Ambrose has been in ministry with the United Church of Canada for 60 years, serving congregations in Western Canada and Southern Ontario. He is a graduate of Carleton University (B.A.), University of Toronto (M. DIV.), University of Notre Dame (M.A., Liturgical Studies). He has been honoured with a Doctorate of Divinity (D.D.) from Emmanuel College, a Queen’s Jubilee Award for community service,  and made a Fellow of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.

In recent years he has served as the Editor of Voices United, President of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, and Chair of the Board of Directors of the United Church’s denominational publication. He lives in Mississauga with his wife, Catherine. They have two adult children, three grandchildren, and one great grandchild.

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Series I: Carl P. Daw, Jr., FHS

Carl P. Daw, Jr., FHS, served as Executive Director of The Hymn Society from 1996 to 2009, while the headquarters were at Boston University School of Theology. He taught hymnology and other courses there through 2019 and remains as Curator of Hymnological Collections. In 2018 and 2019 he was also a Lecturer in Sacred Music at Yale Divinity School/Institute of Sacred Music.

He began writing hymns for The Hymnal 1982, and his texts now appear world-wide in most English-language hymnals and have been translated into six languages. Hope Publishing Co. has published five of his hymn collections and the first two volumes of his psalm paraphrases.

He was made a Fellow of The Hymn Society in 2007 and of the Royal School of Church Music (U.K.) in 2011; he holds honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees from Virginia Theological Seminary (2009) and the University of the South (2012). An Episcopal priest, he has served parishes in Virginia, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, and taught in the English Department of the College of William and Mary before entering seminary.

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Series I: Slats Toole

Slats Toole is a musician, writer, educator, preacher, and theater director/sound designer based in Minneapolis, MN. They are an active member of the Presbyterian Church (USA), and have had formative experiences in Baptist (CBF and Alliance), United Methodist, Episcopal, and Reformed churches. They hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and a Master of Divinity and Certificate in Theology, Women and Gender from Princeton Theological Seminary. They are a proud Deborah Carlton Loftis Ambassador for the Center for Congregational Song, and are the resident sound designer for the In[heir]itance Project. Slats’ Lenten poetry series has been compiled in the collection Queering Lent, and their work has also been published in History of Hymns, Call to Worship, Sacramental Life, and The Presbyterian Outlook. They have been a featured guest artist with A Sanctified Art, and serve on the “Friends of NEXT Church” team. Slats has led workshops on expansive language and queer theology (with a particular emphasis on gender identity) throughout the United States and Canada. Slats’ work centers around creating space in the church where all are welcomed, embraced, and loved.

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Series I: Cynthia Wilson, FHS

Rev. Dr. Cynthia A. Wilson is an ordained deacon serving as Executive Director of Worship Resources at The United Methodist Discipleship Ministries agency supervising and guiding staff in the process of developing resources and training events with a primary focus on music, liturgy, and preaching. Previously, Dr. Wilson served as Assistant Vice-President of Student Life and Dean of Students at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. There she launched the Center for Music and Worship in the Black Church Experience, an institute that provides training in the sacred music of the Black Church and beyond for musicians and worship leaders.

A talented vocalist, Dr. Wilson is a Grammy nominee, was noted the “Best Female Vocalist” at the Gospel Choice Awards held in Atlanta, GA (1998), has toured internationally, and, in 2000, served as the first female and first African American Director of Music at the General Conference of the United Methodist Church.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education from Dillard University, a Master of Sacred Music degree from Perkins School of Theology/ SMU, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Liturgical Studies from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

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Series I: David Music, FHS

David W. Music is Professor Emeritus of Church Music at Baylor University. He previously served on the music faculties of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and California Baptist College. He received a BA in Music from California Baptist College (1970) and the MCM and DMA degrees from Southwestern Seminary (1973, 1977).

Music served as Editor of The Hymn (1990-1996) and was named a Fellow in 2010. He was a committee chair for two different hymnal projects, Baptist Hymnal (1991) and Celebrating Grace (2010).

Dr. Music is the author of Hymnology: A Collection of Source Readings, Christian Hymnody in Twentieth-Century Britain and America, and Repeat the Sounding Joy: Reflections on Hymns by Isaac Watts, as well as several co-authored volumes. He has also edited four volumes of music by American and Baroque composers. His articles have appeared in American Music, Bach, Choral Journal, Current Musicology, The Hymn, Journal of Musicological Research, Journal of the Society for American Music, and other periodicals.

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Series I: Emily Brink, FHS

Emily R. Brink (b. 1940) often speaks of her life “before and after” joining the Hymn Society. Her first career was in teaching, with music degrees from Calvin University, the University of Michigan, and Northwestern University (Ph.D. in Music Theory); she taught in Montana, New York, and Illinois before moving to Grand Rapids, MI in 1983 to become editor for the Psalter Hymnal (1987) of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRC) and immediately joining the Hymn Society. For 20 years she was music and liturgy editor for the CRC, and then joined the staff of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW) at Calvin University where she became program director for the annual and increasingly international Symposium on Worship. She was founding editor of the quarterly Reformed Worship, eventually served as editor for four hymnals, and traveled widely as a worship and church music consultant, also in several Asian countries. For the Hymn Society she served on the executive committee, became the first woman president, and was named a Fellow in 2004.  In retirement she continues to enjoy planning and leading hymn festivals.

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Series II: C. Michael Hawn, FHS

Michael Hawn is the University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Church Music at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, where he has served since 1992. He has directed the Doctor of Pastoral Music degree program at the University since 2016. Before this, he was on the faculties of two Southern Baptist Seminaries for fifteen years and served congregations as a church musician in Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas. He has been a sectional presenter, hymn festival leader, and plenary speaker for The Hymn Society at annual conferences and has contributed frequently to The Hymn. He was elected a Fellow of The Hymn Society in 2008. His most recent book is Sing with Understanding: Introduction to Theology in Congregational Song, 3rd Edition (GIA Publications, 2022) with contributors Martin V. Clarke, Beverly A. Howard, and Geoffrey C. Moore.

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Series II: Debbie Lou Ludolph

Debbie Lou Ludolph, Dean of Chapel and Director of the Kanata Centre for Worship and Global Song at Martin Luther University College in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, crafts worship, leads song, and creates song and art events in a multi-faith, multi-cultural context. She teaches courses in practical theology and in leading congregational and community singing. Recently completing a dissertation that explores how singing together shapes worldview, Debbie Lou’s story emerges from a passion for singing (including performing and teaching singing), a lifetime in the church (including being Director of Worship, Eastern Synod, ELCIC), interacting with Hymn Society, Music that Makes Community, and Community Music organizations, and learning with the singing community called Inshallah at Luther, which began under her leadership in 2007. Inshallah’s story, told through a published songbook Sing the Circle Wide (2016), is deeply influenced by the inspiration and scholarship of Hymn Society members. 

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Series II: Deborah Carlton Loftis, FHS

Deborah Carlton Loftis served as Executive Director of The Hymn Society from 2009-2017.  Prior to that she was professor of church music at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (VA).  Before moving to Richmond, she was minister of music and associate pastor in churches in Kentucky and Alabama. 

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Series II: Paul Richardson, FHS

Paul A. Richardson is the author of The Hymn Society, 1922-2021: A Calling and a Community, as well as a Past President and a Fellow of the Society.

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Series II: Alice Parker, FHS

Composer, conductor, and teacher Alice Parker was born in Boston in 1925. She began composing early and wrote her first orchestral score while still in high school. Parker graduated from Smith College with a major in music performance and composition and then received her master’s degree from The Juilliard School, where she studied choral conducting with Robert Shaw.

She has authored five operas, eleven song-cycles, thirty-three cantatas, eleven works for chorus and orchestra, forty-seven choral suites, and more than forty hymns, all original compositions. Also to be noted are a wealth of arrangements based on pre-existing folk-songs and hymns, many of which were produced in collaboration with Robert Shaw. Parker is best known for these kinds of arrangements of spirituals, mountain hymns, and folk songs, early-American hymns, and international folk-songs, most notably in French, Spanish, Hebrew, and Ladino.

Now a resident of western Massachusetts, Parker has published books on melodic styles, choral improvisation, and Good Singing in Church. Five videos show her work with hymns and folk songs. She is the recipient of four honorary doctorates and the Smith College Medal. She was named a Fellow of The Hymn Society in 2000.

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Series II: Jorge Lockward

Jorge Lockward served for many years as Director of the Global Praise Program of the General Board of Global Ministries where he edited  resources on global music and worship. As part of that work he developed innovative ways to plan and engage  worship that responds to the opportunities and challenges of today’s world while engaging the depth of Christian tradition in its multiple global manifestations.

He has coordinated the worship life of many national and international gatherings, including the 21st. World Methodist Conference (2016) and the 2018 World Mission Conference in Arusha, Tanzania.

A respected lecturer and workshop leader, Jorge is a life-member of the Hymn Society of the United States and Canada.
Jorge serves as Minister of Worship Arts at The Church of the Village in New York City and is Worship Consultant for Methodist Theological School in Ohio.
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Series II: Mark Miller

Mark Miller is Professor of Church Music, Director of Chapel, and Composer In Residence at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, and is the Minister of Music of Christ Church (UCC & American Baptist) in Summit, New Jersey. He is also a Lecturer in Sacred Music at Yale’s Institute of Sacred Music and Divinity School where he co-teaches an organ course and directs the Gospel Choir.

Mark is a graduate of Julliard (M.Mus. in Organ Performance) and Yale University (B.A. Music) and was Assistant Organist and Music Associate at The Riverside Church from 1999-2001 and Director of Contemporary Worship at Marble Collegiate Church from 2002-2007, both in the city of New York.

His hymns and anthems are sung by communities of faith throughout the world. His songbook Roll Down Justice! Sacred Songs & Social Justice was published in 2014 by Choristers Guild, and his most recent congregational songs are available through GIA Publications. His album, Imagine the People of God, is available on iTunes.

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Series II: Dan Damon, FHS, and Eileen Johnson

Dan Damon, FHS, is an internationally published writer of hymn texts and tunes whose work appears in many current hymnals and supplements. He is Associate Editor of Hymnody for Hope Publishing Company. Damon is a retired elder in the United Methodist Church; he is also a jazz pianist and plays regularly at Lara’s Fine Dining in Richmond, CA. In 2016 Damon was named a Fellow of The Hymn Society.

Eileen M. Johnson, CAGO, is a United Methodist deacon currently serving as Minister of Music and Worship at El Sobrante United Methodist Church, El Sobrante, CA. Johnson is a former Executive Committee member of The Hymn Society. She was on the editorial team for the hymnal supplement Spirit Anew: Singing Prayer and Praise. Both Damon and Johnson have contributed to The Hymn and have co-authored articles in the Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology.

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Series II: Delores Dufner, OSB, FHS

Delores Dufner is a member of St. Benedict’s Monastery in St. Joseph, Minnesota. Her hymns have been published in Christian hymnals in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and China. She has received sixty-four commissions to write hymn lyrics for special occasions, and her texts are the basis of over eighty choral octavos. She has four published hymn collections:

  • Sing a New Church, 48 hymns (Oregon Catholic Press, 1994)
  • The Glimmer of Glory in Song, 79 hymns (GIA Publications, 2004)
  • And Every Breath, a Song, 72 hymns (GIA Publications, 2011)
  • Criers of Splendor, 50 hymns (GIA Publications, 2016)

In 2013 she was named a Fellow of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada. In 2014 she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from NPM, the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. In 2017 she received the Christus Rex award from Valparaiso University’s Institute of Liturgical Studies for her commitment to liturgical renewal.

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Series III: Paul Westermeyer, FHS

Paul Westermeyer is a church musician and pastor with degrees from Elmhurst College, Lancaster Seminary, Union Seminary, and the University of Chicago. He is Emeritus Professor of Church Music at Luther Seminary where he also served as Cantor and directed the Master of Sacred Music degree program with St. Olaf College. Prior to coming to Luther he taught at Elmhurst College and Yale University. He has been the President of the Hymn Society, Editor of the Hymn, and Dean of the Twin Cities Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. His writing includes Te DeumThe Church Musician, and the Companion to Evangelical Lutheran Worship. It reflects his life’s work, studying and teaching about church music and the role of the church musician. His most recent book is A High and Holy Calling: Essays of Encouragement for the Church and its Musicians. 

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Series III: Simei Monteiro, FHS

Simei Monteiro, born Simei Leão Ferreira de Barros, grew up in a family where music was present: her father particularly enjoyed opera, and her mother had extensive knowledge of hymnbooks; both sang in the Baptist Church choir in Belém, PA. Her uncle tuned pianos at the Theatro da Paz in Belém, and she accompanied him to concerts, occasionally playing on old pianos at his place. When she was 12 years old, the family moved to Rio de Janeiro.

Simei Monteiro studied literature, French, and Portuguese at university: Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF), and then graduated in sacred music at the Baptist Seminary in Rio de Janeiro (STBSB). She developed a passion for hymnology, started translating hymns, and writing poems.

From 1972 to 1974, following her marriage to Jairo Monteiro (a Baptist pastor), she studied music and theology at the Instituto Superior Evangélico de Educación Teológica in Buenos Aires (ISEDET) with Pablo Sosa and Homerto Perera, among others.

Upon returning to Brazil, she was part of the group that published the first Brazilian hymnal, A Nova Canção (Methodist Publishing House, São Paulo). She became a professor of liturgy and hymnology at the School of Theology of the Methodist University of São Paulo. In 1985, she and her husband became Methodists.

Continuing her studies concurrently, she obtained a master’s degree in religious studies from a public university in São Paulo (UNESP). Her thesis was published in 1991 under the title O Cântico da Vida (The Song of Life).

One of her areas of interest is the ethics of copyright, its implications for creativity, innovation, and the sharing of resources such as songs, prayers, and liturgies within the ecumenical movement.

From 2001 until her retirement in 2009, she worked as a worship consultant for the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva, Switzerland, as a missionary assigned by the United Methodist Church.

Simei Monteiro later worked on the Portuguese translation of hymns by Charles Wesley (1707-1788), a key figure in the Methodist movement. She adapted the texts to the Latin American context through a process of inculturation. Her hymnal Mil Vozes para Celebrar was published in 2019.

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Series III: Robin Knowles Wallace, FHS

Robin Knowles Wallace is a hymnological scholar, editor, teacher of congregational song, and ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.  She holds degrees from the University of Cincinnati; Scarritt College, Nashville; Candler School of Theology, Emory University; and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary/Northwestern University. For twenty-four years Robin served on the faculty of Methodist Theological School in Ohio (Delaware, Ohio), where she was professor of worship and music.

Robin served as Resource Editor for The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts for eight years and on editorial boards for four different worship and music publications. She has served as editor of The Hymn: A Journal of Congregational Song from 2012 through 2023 (with the exception of 2-1/2 issues). Robin has published seven books, contributed to another fifteen books, three hymnal companions, and thirty journals. In 2021 she was named a Fellow of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.

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Series III: I-to Loh, FHS 駱維道

Born 1936 in Taiwan, received M.Div.(TTCS), SMM(UTS. NY)and Ph. D. (UCLA), a Fellow of the Hymn Society (FHS). He taught Asian and Global Church Music, Ethnomusicology and Worship at Asian Institute for Liturgy and Music, Manila and Tainan Theological College and Seminary, Taiwan(TTCS). He served as a leader and advisor to innumerable WCC and CCA General Assemblies and workshops. His publications include over three hundred hymns, anthems; he compiled over 23 collections of hymns, including Sound the Bamboo: CCA hymnal 2000 and its Companion Asian Hymns in Their Cultural and Liturgical Contexts (GIA 2011). He was the editor of Seng-si 2009, Official Hymnal of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, for which he is editing  a Companion for 2023. He also published In Search for Asian Sounds and Symbols in Worship (CSCA, Singapore 2012).  Retired from the presidency at TTCS in 2002, he was an itinerant professor in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and USA for over ten years. He returned to teach at TTCS again until his second retirement in 2020, when he was conferred an honorary D.D.

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Series III: John Thornburg, FHS

John Thornburg is a fourth generation United Methodist pastor, a poet, and a professional encourager. His grandfather, Amos, toured with Homer Rodeheaver and served on the editorial committee of the 1966 Methodist Hymnal.

After 22 years in parish ministry in North Texas, John pursued a new calling by starting an itinerant ministry of song leading and worship consultation called A Ministry of Congregational Singing. That ministry included eight years working with the United Methodists of Cameroon in the development of their first hymnal and worship book.

In addition to three published collections of his own work, John’s texts appear in 18 different hymnals, hymnal supplements, single author collections as well as octavos from six publishers. He has collaborated with over 25 composers. His articles on worship and congregational singing have appeared in a dozen journals, including THE HYMN.

John is a Past President and a Fellow of The Hymn Society.

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Series III: Felicia Patton and Brittney Stephan

Felicia Patton has been singing in gospel choirs for most of her life. After high school, she became a featured local soloist in the Chicago area, obtaining two graduate degrees from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary studying under Rev. Dr. Cynthia A. Wilson and Dr. Ruth Duck. Felicia’s voice has taken her around the continental United States singing gospel, soul, funk, jazz, and blues. She has been the lead singer of Chicago Soul Revue for more than eight years, as well as continuing her solo work in many different genres of music.

Currently, Felicia serves as Minister of Music and Contemporary Worship at Kingswood United Methodist Church in Buffalo Grove, Il and also gives vocal, guitar, and piano lessons through Muzicnet School of Music.

Felicia Patton

M.S.M; M.T.S.



Brittney Stephan is an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church and currently serves as the Associate Pastor at First United Methodist Church in Noblesville, IN. Previously, she served in extension ministry as the Associate Director for Multi-Cultural Vibrancy for the Michigan Conference. She has received a Bachelor of Arts in Religion, Organizational Communication, and Peace & Conflict Studies from Butler University and a Master of Divinity degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary with a concentration in Liturgy & Music Across Cultures under the advisement of Drs. Cynthia A. Wilson and Ruth C. Duck.

She has spent the last decade living in Indianapolis, Detroit, and Chicago working in a variety of contexts for the Church. Much of her role consists of engaging individuals and teams alike to build our cultural proficiency in a way that moves us toward an anti-biased/anti-racist identity that seeks to diversify worship experiences and leadership as a collective whole.

Additionally, Brittney served in a cross-cultural ministry setting at the only historic African-American United Methodist Church on Chicago’s North Shore. She has spent time in Zimbabwe at Africa University, initiated a campus ministry at Butler University, and served as a youth leader for a number of years. These experiences have provided her with a deep passion to equip, engage, and empower individuals and teams to foster equitable communities of learning.

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Series III: Robert Batastini, FHS

At Bob’s Catholic parish school, the students attended Mass every morning and sang the ordinary of the mass in Latin— his first experience of robust congregational song. He studied piano and organ, and as a high school freshman, became the parish organist—beginning a 68-year career as a pastoral musician. Being musically adventurous, in high school he explored most of the band instruments and entered DePaul University in 1959 as a music education major. After five semesters he “saw the light” and switched his major to church music. That turned out to be a poor choice, because that Catholic university was oblivious to Vatican II, and nothing in the curriculum ever reflected the undergoing reforms of the Church. Eventually DePaul discontinued both its sacred music program as well as organ instruction.

In 1967 Bob began a 40-year career as the senior editor of GIA Publications. He directed the publication of more than 20 hymnals, and was responsible for GIA becoming the publisher of many of today’s most respected hymn writers.

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Series III: Jan Kraybill

Jan Kraybill, DMA, FAGO, is a Grammy®-nominated concert artist, speaker, and advocate for the power of music to change lives for the better.  She has performed as a soloist, collaborative musician, and hymn festival designer/leader across the U.S. and Canada, and in Australia, Europe, Russia, South Korea, and Tahiti. In Kansas City she is Organ Conservator at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Organist-in-Residence at Community of Christ headquarters, and organist at Village on Antioch Presbyterian Church. Jan has served in many roles in the American Guild of Organists, The Hymn Society, and the Master Teacher Institute, and was Executive Director of The Hymn Society in the U.S. and Canada (2017-2018). In 2010 she achieved the highest certification level available for organists, becoming a Fellow of the AGO.  Her fifth solo recording, The Orchestral Organ, released by Reference Recordings in 2019, was nominated for three Grammy awards, including Best Classical Instrumental Solo.

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Series III: Fred Graham, FHS

Fred Kimball Graham is Associate Professor (Emeritus) of Emmanuel College in the Toronto School of Theology, University of Toronto. There he founded and directed Canada’s only Master of Sacred Music program beginning in 2008. Following post-graduate studies in Berlin, Germany, he went on to graduate from the Eastman School of Music in Organ Performance, and later completed the PhD in Liturgical Theology at Drew University, Madison, NJ. His publication With One Heart and One Voice presents an analysis of 19th century Methodist hymnody (Scarecrow Press, 2004). In 2012, he was invited to collate the annotated and authorized version of the Revised Common Lectionary (Fortress). Fred is an active hymn-tune writer, with tunes appearing in “Glory to God”, “Voices United,” and “More Voices.” Honors include the Fellowship of the Hymn Society of the US and Canada (FHS) as well as the Distinguished Service Award of the Royal Canadian College of Organists. A resident of the Greater Toronto Area, he is licensed as a Lay Worship Leader in The United Church of Canada.

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