“Singing the Sermon: When the Message and the Music Matter” Celebrates Black Sacred Music at the 2017 Pruit Symposium

Sept. 25, 2017

The Pruit Memorial Symposium Committee and the Baylor University Libraries announce the 2017 Pruit Symposium, "Singing the Sermon: When the Message and the Music Matter" October 5-6. The event celebrates the heritage of Black Gospel Music with two inspiring keynote presentations by music and religion specialist Melvin Butler, associate professor of musicology at the University of Miami, and accomplished composer and worship leader, Stephen Newby, associate professor of music at Seattle Pacific University.

"For African American Christians, gospel music is a holistic way of serving and enjoining oneself with Jesus Christ through singing and dancing during worship," said Newby. "I'm overjoyed to be speaking at and attending the 2017 Pruit Symposium to discuss God's word and His will."

Additional symposium presentations feature experts on black sacred music, including Deborah Pollard-Smith, Coretta Pittman, Jerry Zolten and Laura Nash, along with graduate students Terri Brinegar and Ambre Dromgoole.

In coordination with the Pruit Symposium, Waco's Greater Ebenezer Baptist Church will host an evening gospel music sing and celebration at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 5. Dr. Newby will lead the session with other program personalities and Baylor graduate students featured. The celebration is free and open to the public.

"The Pruit Symposium is such a significant occasion for Baylor," said John Wilson, interim dean of libraries. "We're so excited to utilize our unique collections and further the impact of African American scholarship on campus."

The Pruit Memorial Symposium at Baylor University brings the perspective of Christian intellectual tradition on contemporary issues of common concern. Through the articulation of differing views within the realm of Christian understanding, Baylor aspires to be a locus for a distinctly Protestant and Christian worldview that is true to the best thoughts in Baptist tradition. In 1996, Ella Wall Prichard and the late Lev H. Prichard III of Corpus Christi established the Pruit Memorial Symposium Endowment Fund in memory of Helen Pruit Matthews and her brothers, Dr. Lee Tinkle Pruit and William Wall Pruit.

The 2017 Pruit Symposium is made possible by the Pruit Memorial Symposium Endowment. This year's event is co-sponsored by by Armstrong Browning Library; Truett Theological Seminary; Baylor University Diversity Enhancement Grant; Baylor University Libraries; Baylor School of Music; the Department of Journalism, Public Relations & New Media; American Studies; the Department of History; the Department of English; and the Center for Christian Music Studies.

“We're very grateful for the sponsors who help make this event possible,” said Kathy Hillman, associate professor and co-chair of the committee. “These interdisciplinary partnerships enrich the academic community by adding multiple viewpoints to the symposium.”

To register for the 2017 Pruit Symposium or for more information, visit www.baylor.edu/pruit.