100 Years of Song

As part of The Hymn Society’s centennial celebration (1922 – 2022), and in preparation for our centennial conference in July 2022, we are planning a monthly online interview series, “100 Years of Song,” beginning in September 2021 and continuing through May 2022. We will feature nine Hymn Society leaders speaking about their own stories and interest in congregational song, their experience in and service to The Hymn Society, the contributions of our organization and our members to singing communities, and issues that are facing us today.
 
Each interview will be made available for free as a real-time Zoom webinar, but registration will be required to view the live broadcast. The interviews will also be archived on The Hymn Society website where anyone may view them on demand. All broadcasts will take place at 1:00 pm ET.
 
September 20: Lim Swee Hong                     
October 18: Mary Louise Bringle, FHS
November 15: James Abbington, FHS
December 20: John Ambrose, FHS
January 24: Carl P. Daw, Jr., FHS
February 28: Slats Toole
March 21: Cynthia Wilson
April 25: David Music, FHS
May 16: Emily Brink, FHS
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September 20: Lim Swee Hong

Lim, Swee Hong 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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October 18: 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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November 15: 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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December 20: 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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January 24: 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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February 28: 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 experience 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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March 21: Cynthia Wilson

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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April 25: 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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May 16: 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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