Baylor University Graduate Receives Award for Church Music Legacy

July 24, 2009

by Nincy Mathew, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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Hal Hopson, a 1954 Baylor University graduate known as one of the most prolific composers of church music in America, has received the 2009 Award for Exemplary Leadership in Church Music, given by Baylor's Center for Christian Music Studies.

The award, which is given for lifetime achievement or a single contribution, was presented to Hopson July 23 at the Alleluia Church Music Conference's banquet at Baylor's Bill Daniel Student Center.

"Hal has written in nearly every genre of choral music, and he has arranged global songs and classical works for all ages, always with a bent toward what works for real church musicians in the field," said Dr. Randall Bradley, the Ben H. Williams Professor of Music, who also directs Baylor's church music program and Center for Christian Music Studies.

God With Us, a Hopson cantata, was one of the few compositions selected by the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C, to be placed in a time capsule during the Amer¬i¬can Bi¬cen¬ten¬ni¬al in 1976.

"Like many other church musicians, I have sung and played his music for years. I have always found it to be both practical and profound," said Dr. David Music, professor of church music at Baylor.

Hopson has spent most of his career teaching church music at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J., and Scarritt Graduate School in Nashville, Tenn. Hopson was also a composer at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas.

"During his tenure, Hal's leadership inspired the congregation to become a real 'singing' church through creative hymn singing and the inclusion of a sung Psalter each week," said Terry Price, director of church music at Preston Hollow.

Hopson has more than 1,200 published hymnals and psalm settings to his credit, Price said.

Hopson is included in the international Cambridge's Who's Who in Music and was awarded the title of National Patron by Delta Omicron, a national professional musicians' fraternity. He is active in the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and has served on the national boards of The Presbyterian Association of Musicians and Choristers Guild.

A permanent plaque will be displayed in the School of Music.

For more information, contact Bradley at Baylor's Center for Christian Music Studies at (254) 710-6522.

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