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Furman hosts annual Church Music Conference

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Furman University will host its 2015 Church Music Conference on campus Thursday and Friday, Jan. 22 and 23.

The conference is open to the public. Registration for the two-day event is $70 prior to Jan. 16, and $90 after that date as space remains.

Founded in 1971, the Furman University Church Music Conference is made possible through a grant from the Thomson Foundation. Drawing church musicians from all over the Southeast, the conference features nationally known clinicians who present lectures and conduct workshops relating to the practice of church music.

Guest clinicians for this year’s conference are Dan Bara, Professor of Choral Music at the University of Georgia; Mary Louise (“Mel”) Bringle, Professor of Humanities at Brevard College (N.C.); and David Higgs, Professor of Organ at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, N.Y.

Dan Bara oversees seven university choral ensembles and the graduate choral conducting program at the University of Georgia. In addition to the many regional and national awards and honors earned by his choirs, UGA Hodgson Singers last year won the Grand Prix at the International Choral Competition Ave Verum in Baden, Austria. Dr. Bara is a highly sought after guest conductor and clinician, having conducted all-state and honor choirs in 15 states and Carnegie Hall. He has served as clinician for conferences sponsored by national church music associations ACDA and AGO and other school and church music organizations.

Mary Louise (Mel) Bringle is Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies and coordinator of the Integrated Studies major at Brevard College. The recipient of a generous grant from the Louisville Institute, Dr. Bringle is writing a book about one of the seven deadly sins. She is recognized as one of the finest hymn text writers of our time and her works are included in two single-author collections and in hymnals and supplements of numerous denominations in North America and Scotland. She recently served as President of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada and as chair of the committee charged with creating a new hymnal (“Glory to God”) for the Presbyterian Church USA.

On Thursday, Jan. 22 at 8 p.m. in Daniel Chapel, the conference will feature a recital by acclaimed organist David Higgs, Professor of Organ at the Eastman School of Music. One of the nation’s leading concert organists, Higgs is an active performer nationally and internationally. His recital is part of a special series of organ concerts in 2014-15 which celebrates the 10th anniversary of the installation of Furman’s Hartness Organ, Opus 121 built by C.B. Fisk (Gloucester, Mass.). A renowned organ teacher as well as performer, Higgs will present a Friday morning master class in Daniel Chapel with Furman University organ students.

More information about the Church Music Conference may be found at this link. Or contact conference coordinator and University Organist Dr. Charles Tompkins at (864) 294-2969, or by email, The Furman Music Department may be reached at (864) 294-2086.

Last updated January 13, 2015
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Clinton Colmenares
News & Media Relations Director