Baylor Celebrates The Black Gospel Tradition During Oct. 26 'Gospel Train' Event

  • News Photo 4974
    Dr. James Abbington, associate professor of church music and worship at the Candler School of Theology of Emory University
  • News Photo 4975
Oct. 20, 2010

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Dr. James Abbington, associate professor of church music and worship at the Candler School of Theology of Emory University, will be the featured musical presenter during "The Gospel Train: A Celebration of the Black Gospel Tradition" at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26, in the Paul Powell Chapel at Baylor University's George W. Truett Theological Seminary.

Abbington will be joined by Baylor's own Heavenly Voices Gospel choir for a lyrical performance and presentation called "Spirits That Dwell in Deep Woods." The event also will include gospel spirituals, short lectures and demonstrations.

The event is free and open to the public. A reception will be held following the event.

Abbington is well known for his unique gift for drawing audiences into the experience of black gospel music by unveiling the historical and theological dimensions of the music in the context of its performance.

"[Black gospel music's] significance is that it is the music of a people and a culture that has developed throughout 20th century history that has formed, sustained and identified the Black Christians' faith and experience," Abbington said.

This musical presentation is part of an ongoing effort to promote Baylor's Black Gospel Music Restoration Project, which was started by Robert Darden, associate professor of journalism at Baylor, to preserve black gospel music for future generations.

"Black sacred music -- spirituals, gospel, Freedom Songs -- is the foundation for all American popular music. We wouldn't have rock, pop, rap, R&B, hip hop or soul without it," said Darden, author of People Get Ready!: A New History of Black Gospel Music (Continuum, 2004).

The "Gospel Train" event is sponsored by Baylor University Libraries, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, the Department of American Studies and the Lev H. Prichard III Endowment for the Restoration of Traditional Black Music. For more information about the event, go to

Free parking for the event is available in Dutton Avenue Parking Facility, which is located at the corner of University Parks Drive and Dutton Avenue, across the street from Truett Seminary.

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