January 21-22, 2016

Guest Clinician

Dennis Keene, is Artistic Director and conductor of the Voices of Ascension Chorus & Orchestra. Known internationally through his many concerts and recordings with Voices of Ascension; his regular guest appearances as conductor and clinician; and his work as Artistic Director of The Dennis Keene Choral Festival, he has emerged as one of leading choral conductors in the world today.

Recognized early as an exceptional organist, Dennis Keene began musical studies and performing in his native Los Angeles. He moved to New York City to study at The Juilliard School, where he earned the BM, MM, and DMA degrees and the coveted Gaston Dethier Organ Prize as a student of Vernon de Tar. Dr. Keene also studied privately in Paris with Marie-Madeleine Durufle, Andre Marchal, and Andre Isoir. Dennis Keene was active as a recitalist until his interest in conducting led him to concentrate on that discipline. He subsequently studied conducting at the Pierre Monteux School for Orchestral Conductors, with Charles Bruck in Paris, and with John Nelson at The Juilliard School. His passion for the finest in professional choral music can be traced to his early work as organist with Gregg Smith, Roger Wagner, and Margaret Hillis.

In addition to his work with Voices of Ascension and The Dennis Keene Choral Festival,Dr. Keene continues as Organist and Choirmaster of Church of the Ascension in New York City. He served for many years on the Board of Directors of Chorus America, the national service organization for the choral field, which honored him with the first Louis Botto Award for "innovative action and entrepreneurial zeal in developing a professional ensemble of exceptional artistic quality." He has also served on the Choral Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts and on the Music Panel of the New York State Council on the Arts. From 1998 to 2003 Maestro Keene presented a major summer institute for the training of conductors and singers: The Dennis Keene Choral Festival, in Kent, Connecticut.

Conference Schedule

12:15-1pm, Arrive and pick up packet
1-5:30pm, Conference sessions
Dinner on your own
8pm Organ Recital in Daniel Memorial Chapel 

9am - Noon, conference sessions continue
Noon Friday, conference luncheon (must register by Jan. 16)
1:30-3:00pm, Conference sessions continue
3:30-4:30pm, Closing session, Conference concludes


  >  Registration opens in September

Check or Credit Card payments accepted. (Visa, MC, DISC, AmExp) The on-line credit card payment process will email you an immediate payment receipt and confirmation. If paying by check, complete the on-line form and submit, or print the PDF version, then mail your check to
  Church Music Conference
  Furman Music Department
  3300 Poinsett Hwy
  Greenville, SC  29613
  • $70  Early Bird Registration
    Cost if registration is received on or prior to January 16.  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
    Cost if registration is received after January 16 and space remains in the conference. 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 if available. Please note, no discount is offered for single day attendance.
  • $35  Full-time college students (non-Furman)

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

Have a question about registration or this event? 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, University Organist and organist at First Baptist Greenville
  • Vivian Hamilton, director of the Furman Chorales, Furman collabrative pianist, and minister of music at First Baptist Church Greenville
  • William Thomas, professor of Church Music, director of the Furman Chamber Choir
  • Hugh Ferguson Floyd, director of Choral Activites, director of Furman Singers

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