Baylor’s 2017 Alleluia Conference Features Celebration of Black Gospel Music

July 18, 2017
James AbbingtonJames Abbington, D.M.A., will lead "Lift Every Voice and Sing: A Celebration of Black Gospel Music" at Baylor's 2017 Alleluia Conference.

Follow us on Twitter: @BaylorUMedia

Media contact: Lori Fogleman, (254) 710-6275

WACO, Texas (July 18, 2017) – Church musicians from across the nation travel to Waco each year to worship together and improve their musical and leadership skills at Baylor University’s annual

Alleluia Conference. In addition to the usual class sessions, luncheons and discussions, participants in this year’s conference will experience “Lift Every Voice and Sing: A Celebration of Black Gospel Music.”

James Abbington, D.M.A., an associate professor of church music and worship at Emory University and a widely respected choir director, will lead “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Abbington has spoken and performed on Baylor’s campus on several previous occasions for the School of Music and the Pruit Symposium .

Commentary and scriptural passages interspersed throughout the concert will complement timeless hymns from the African-American tradition. Several Baylor students in the church music studies program will lead the congregation in singing along.

Robert Darden, a professor in the department of journalism, public relations and new media, will lead two breakout sessions on Baylor’s Black Gospel Music Restoration Project, of which he is the founder and director. He said he hopes the concert will inspire church leaders to incorporate more black gospel music in their worship services.

“It’s joyful and fun, and the lyrics have been honed and polished for nearly a century, in some cases more, to say what needs to be said. It’s a communal sort of thing. You don’t have to be a great singer to get caught up in it,” Darden said.

Darden and Abbington’s shared passion for black gospel music has led to a friendship between the two, and Darden said Abbington was the ideal leader for a concert of this kind.

“He’s one of the more charismatic, exciting, fascinating choral directors in the country. What he manages to do with the force of his personality and skill as an organist, pianist, singer and choir director is get even folks who don’t have a lot of background in this off their feet and clapping on the beat,” Darden said.

“Lift Every Voice and Sing” will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 20, in Truett Seminary's Powell Chapel. The concert is free and open to the public.

The 2017 Alleluia Conference takes place from Tuesday, July 18, to Friday, July 21, in McCrary Music Building, located at 110 Baylor Ave.; Truett Seminary, located at 1100 S. Third St.; and the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation, located at 1621 S. Third St.

Those interested in attending a future Alleluia Conference can find scheduling information here.

by Kassidy Woytek , student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment 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 all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

Looking for more news from Baylor University?