Church Music Ministers and Musicians Will Gather at Baylor for Alleluia Conference

July 13, 2012

Media Contact: Terry Goodrich, (254) 710-3321

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WACO, Texas (July 13, 20120) -- Nearly 300 participants will gather at Baylor University for the annual Alleluia Conference -- an event to provide training sessions for church music ministers, choirs and musicians, as well as concerts and worship sessions open to the public -- on Tuesday, July 17, through Friday, July 20.

The conference, presented by the Baylor Center for Christian Music Studies, also will honor Baylor alumnus Samuel W. Prestidge, retired director of the Church Music Department for the Baptist General Convention. He will be presented with the Exemplary Service to Church Music Award at a banquet on Thursday, July 19.

"Through his many years as director of the Church Music Department of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, Sam Prestidge influenced hundreds of church musicians through his mentoring and encouragement, thousands of young people through the Baptist All-State choir and orchestra, and scores of children through festivals, camps and retreats," said Randall Bradley, D.M.A., the Ben H. Williams Professor of Music at Baylor, a professor of church music, and director of the Church Music Program and The Center for Christian Music Studies in Baylor's School of Music.

"Sam's visionary and capable leadership is still present among Texas Baptists and will be felt for years to come," he said. "As a young minister of music, Sam Prestidge and his wife, Geneva, went out of their way to encourage me, and I've always been grateful that they took the time to invest in the next generation of leadership."

Dr. David Music, professor of church music at Baylor, said that Prestidge "created a model program of church music for Texas Baptists. His ministry as director of the Texas Baptist Church Music Department resulted in explosive growth in both numbers and musical quality throughout the state."

Prestidge said that he is "very appreciative of this award and feel greatly honored to receive it. Baylor University has had a meaningful influence in my life and ministry. It's been my desire through the years to serve the Lord faithfully and fully through spiritual and creative leadership. This award is magnified by the many people with whom I've had the privilege of serving through the years and by a wonderful supportive wife and family."

Prestidge worked as the director of the Church Music Department of the Baptist General Convention of Texas for 34 years, retiring in 1994. He organized and began numerous choirs and instrumental groups, among them the Singing Men of Texas and the first Baptist All-State Youth Choir and Band.

Before being hired by the BGCT, Prestidge was employed as the minister of music of Baptist Temple in San Antonio for six years, where he organized and directed a fully graded choir program. He has also served part time for churches in McGregor, Corsicana, Dallas and Seymour.

Prestidge graduated in 1950 from Baylor University with a bachelor's degree in music before attending Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to earn a bachelor's degree and a master's degree, both in sacred music. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities in 1994 from Hardin-Simmons University.

He has received many awards, including the 1991 Distinguished Service Award - The School of Music from Southwestern, the Outstanding Alumnus of the School of Music in the Field of Church Music Leadership from Baylor University in 1992, and the Lifetime Ministry Award from the Baptist Church Music Conference in 2011. He and his wife, Geneva, are active members at Shiloh Terrace Baptist Church in Dallas, where Prestidge serves as a deacon and director of the Senior Adult Choir and his wife was church organist for 30 years.

Clinicians for the event are provided by Baylor University, Texas Baptists, Celebrating Grace Hymnal, ChoristersGuild, and YouthCUE to conduct daily training sessions in organ, piano, church music ministry, conducting, children's choir, handbells, and worship.

Conference cost is $320, or $110 for one day, with walk-in registrants welcome. Events free and open to the public include:

TUESDAY

Worship Service from 12:45-1:30 p.m. in Paul W. Powell Chapel in George W. Truett Theological Seminary, 100 S. Third St., Waco.

Concert by Pure Sound Youth Choir from St. Luke's United Methodist Church of Houston, 5:15-6 p.m. in Paul W. Powell Chapel in Truett Seminary.

WEDNESDAY

Worship, 10:30-11:30 a.m., Paul W. Powell Chapel in Truett Seminary.

Concert by Baylor Music Students, 5:15-6 p.m. in Truett's Powell Chapel.

THURSDAY

Worship, 10:30-11:30 a.m., Paul W. Powell Chapel, Truett Seminary

Concert by Austin Handbell Ensemble, 7-8 p.m., Paul W. Powell Chapel, Truett Seminary

For registration information about the conference and a complete schedule, visit http://www.baylor.edu/alleluia or contact Melinda Coats at (254) 710-2360 or email Alleluia@baylor.edu

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, classified as such with "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty committed to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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