Baylor University School of Music Will Welcome Gospel Legend Bill Gaither to Hearn Innovator Series’ Church Music Forum

Sept. 11, 2015
GaitherBill Gaither

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WACO, Texas (Sept. 11, 2015) – The Center for Christian Music Studies in Baylor’s School of Music will welcome renowned gospel musician Bill Gaither to its monthly Church Music Forum held at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14, in Recital Hall II inside Waco Hall as part of the Hearn Innovator Series.

“Bill Gaither is a legend in the gospel music genre,” said Randall Bradley, D.M.A., The Ben H. Williams Professor of Music and director of the church music program and The Center for Christian Music Studies at Baylor. “The songs that he and his wife Gloria have written are sung in churches around the world, and the popularity of the Gaither Homecoming events and the videos they have spawned have become a gospel music phenomenon.”

Together, the Gaithers have written more than 700 popular gospel songs, including “Because He Lives,” “He Touched Me,” “The King is Coming” and “Let’s Just Praise the Lord.” They collectively have won eight Grammy Awards and more than two dozen Dove Awards from The Gospel Music Association. They have also earned the title of “Songwriter of the Year” from The Gospel Music Association eight times.

“Bill Gaither’s influence on the music of the church has been steady for the last half century,” Bradley said. “Since their songs began to be sung widely by Christian music performers and eventually by churches in the 1960s, their popularity has increased among many different Christian traditions around the world.”

The goal of the Church Music Forum, formerly the Baylor Association of Church Musicians, is to encourage and support the growth of church music. The group provides exciting opportunities for church music majors or students interested in church music.

The group began as part of the Hearn Innovator Series, an endowed series created by the late philanthropist and former Baylor regent Billy Ray Hearn. The goal is to bring people who are thinking creatively and blazing new trails in the field of Christian music to Baylor’s campus. Presenters will stay on campus for a several-day residency and are available to speak in classes, make public presentations and visit with students in small groups. Gloria Gaither was named a Hearn Innovator in 2011.

“Hearn, an innovator in the early days of the contemporary Christian music movement, established the series to bring creative musicians who serve the church to the Baylor campus each semester to interact directly with students,” Bradley said.

Previous guests of the Hearn Innovator Series include Ken Medema, Keith Getty and Sandra McCraken.

This event is a semester requirement for church music majors, but it is open to the public free of charge.

Gaither also will speak in All University Chapel at 9:05 a.m., 10:10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. Monday, Sept. 14; and at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15, in Paul W. Powell Chapel at George W. Truett Theological Seminary.

Recital Hall II is located at 624 Speight Ave. inside Waco Hall, and George W. Truett Theological Seminary is located at 1100 S. Third St.

For more information, contact Bradley at 254-710-6522.

by Ashton Brown, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 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. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MUSIC

The Baylor University School of Music provides transformational experiences that prepare students for careers in music. Our students thrive in a Christian environment characterized by a nurturing resident faculty, an unwavering pursuit of musical excellence, a global perspective, dedication to service, and devotion to faith. They investigate the rich musical and cultural heritage of the past, develop superior musical skills and knowledge in the present, and explore and create new modes of musical expression for the future. While preparing for future leadership roles, the students join with School of Music faculty in enhancing the quality of community life, enriching the larger culture, and making Baylor a place in which heart, mind and soul coalesce. The School of Music of Baylor University is a member of the National Association of Schools of Music and the Texas Association of Music Schools. Degree programs leading to the bachelor of music education degree conform to certification requirements of the Texas Education Agency.

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