January 21-22, 2016

The 2016 Furman University Church Music Conference welcomes two distinguished guest clinicians to our campus this January. Dennis Keene, D.M.A., Organist / Choirmaster of The Church of the Ascension (Episcopal), New York and Music Director of the acclaimed ensemble Voices of Ascension, will present sessions on choral techniques and conducting, and will conduct open rehearsals with the Furman Singers, Furman Chamber Choir, and the adult choir of Greenville's Westminster Presbyterian Church. Roberts_web_text.jpg

At Friday morning’s conducting* master class, three conference participants will conduct for, and receive feedback and coaching from, Dennis Keene. Conference participants who would like to be considered for this opportunity should complete the appropriate section of the registration form.

William Bradley Roberts, D.M.A., Professor of Church Music at the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, VA, and author of  "Music and Vital Congregations: A Practical Guide for Clergy," will present sessions on Clergy / Musician Relationships and Hymnody of Our Time. Tompkins_web_text.jpg

Furman Professor of Organ Charles Tompkins will present a recital on the magnificent C.B. Fisk Organ, Opus 121, in the Charles E. Daniel Memorial Chapel, assisted by the Furman Singers and Furman Chamber Choir.

The Hartness organ is tracker-action with 42 stops (or "voices") and more than 2,900 pipes.

Join us on the beautiful Furman campus this January for two days of musical and spiritual inspiration!


Credit Cards accepted: Visa, MC, DISC, AmExp. 
Checks should be made payable to FURMAN UNIVERSITY and mailed to:
  Church Music Conference
  Furman Music Department
  3300 Poinsett Hwy
  Greenville, SC  29613
  • $70  Early Bird Registration
    Register on or before January 7.  Fee includes a ticket to Thursday night's organ recital, two days of conference sessions, the Friday conference luncheon and a packet of conference music. Please note, no discount is offered for single day attendance.
  • $90 January Registration
    Register after January 7. Music packets may not be available if you wait and register the week of the event.  Fee includes a ticket to Thursday night's organ recital, two days of conference sessions, the Friday conference luncheon and a packet of conference music. No discount offered for single day attendance.
  • $40  Full-time college students (outside Furman)  Includes same as above.



12-1 P.M.   Registration (Rhame Foyer, Nan Trammell Herring Music Pavilion)

1-2:15   Session I (Harper Hall)
Building the Instrument: Good Choral Techniques
Dennis Keene, clinician

2:15-3:15   Session II (Harper Hall)
Clergy-Musician Relationships I
William Bradley Roberts, clinician

3:30-4:30  Session III (Harper Hall)
Open Rehearsal with the Furman Singers
Dennis Keene, clinician

4:30-5:30   Session IV (Harper Hall)
Open Rehearsal with the Furman Chamber Choir
Dennis Keene, clinician

DINNER (on your own)

8:00 P.M.   Recital: Charles Boyd Tompkins, organist assisted by the Furman Chamber Choir, William Thomas, director and the Furman Singers, Hugh Ferguson Floyd, director
Charles E. Daniel Memorial Chapel


9:30-10:30 A.M.   Session V (Harper Hall)
Clergy-Musician Relationships II
William Bradley Roberts, clinician

Rhame Foyer, Herring Music Pavilion

11:15-12:30   Session VI (Harper Hall)
Building the Conductor: Good Conducting Techniques
*Conducting Master Class
Dennis Keene, clinician

12:30-1:45 P.M.   Lunch, Hartness Pavilion. Reservation required.

2:00-3:00   Session VII (Harper Hall)
Hymnody to Enrich the Church
William Bradley Roberts, clinician

3:00-4:15   Session VIII (Harper Hall)
Choral Reading Session
Leaders: Dennis Keene and William Bradley Roberts

4:30-5:30   Session IX (Harper Hall)
Choir Plus Conductor: The Final Product
Dennis Keene works with the Sanctuary Choir, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Greenville (Mark Kemp, Director of Music). Conference attendees will join the Westminster choir on one anthem.

Thomson Lectures in Church Music

The lecture series was established by an endowment gift from the Thomson Foundations as a memorial to Waddy Randolph Thomson and Pauline Blackwell Thomson.  These lectures are the featured events at the annual Church Music Conference at Furman University,  Each year distinguished musicians of national prominence deliver the lectures on subjects related to the study and practice of church music.  This endowment enables Furman to offer the annual conference at such a modest price.

Contact us

Questions? Contact the Furman music office at 864.294.2086 or email See a list of hotels offering a Furman event discount.

Conference Hosts

  • Charles Tompkins, conference coordinator, Furman University Organist and organist at First Baptist Greenville
  • William Thomas, voice, Coordinator of Church Music studies, director of the Furman Chamber Choir
  • Hugh Ferguson Floyd, voice, Coordinator of Choral Activities, director of Furman Singers
  • Vivian Hamilton, piano, director of the Furman Chorales, Furman collaborative pianist, and Minister of Music at First Baptist Church Greenville

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