Scheduled for the bicentennial of Spartanburg citizen Singin’ Billy Walker’s birth, this interdisciplinary symposium will raise awareness about the legacy of one of South Carolina’s most important composers and spark discussion about the many roles hymns play in the South.
William Walker first brought together in print the hymn text and the hymn tune for “Amazing Grace” in his music book Southern Harmony, printed in 1835. Walker, a singing school leader, not only put together four books of hymns, but also traveled around the South teaching people how to read music using a form of musical notation called “shape notes.” An important force in religion and education, Walker directed vocal music at Spartanburg’s First Baptist Church, ran a bookstore in the center of town, and supported the opening of Wofford College.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
7:30 p.m., Daniel Auditorium: A Panel Discussion on Walker’s Legacy
(Moderated by Dr. Melissa Walker, this panel brings together several renowned scholars and hymn writers, including Dr. Harry Eskew, Ms. Sally Ann Morris, Dr. Mary Louise Bringle, and Dr. John Bullard.)
Thursday, January 29, 2009
11:30 a.m., Mayfarth Recital Hall: Luncheon for Faculty and Area Musicians
(Requires advance registration.)
7:30 p.m., Daniel Auditorium: Concert of Hymns (Walker’s and students’ hymns)
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Petrie School of Music: Workshops and Round-table Discussions.
(Requires advance registration. Topics include hymn-writing, worship planning, research on Walker’s legacy.)
10:00 – 10:50 a.m.
1) Workshop: "Text-writing for Hymns"
Dr. Mel Bringle, Facilitator
2) Workshop: "Using Walker and Related Hymns in Worship Planning"
Dr. Harry Eskew, Facilitator
11:00 – 11:50 a.m.
1) Workshop: "Marriage of Text and Tune: Putting a Hymn Together"
Dr. Mel Bringle and Sally Ann Morris, Facilitators
2) Roundtable Discussion: "Research on Singin' Billy Walker and Early Southern Hymnody"
Dr. Harry Eskew, Moderator
7:30 p.m., Twichell Auditorium: A Bicentennial Tribute to Singin’ Billy Walker.
(This concert of folk hymns and spirituals of the early South features performances by regional musical groups, audience sing-alongs, and a historical introduction by Dr. Eskew.)
All events are free and open to the public, except for the luncheon on January 29, which is also free but requires participants to be either a musician or a teacher at a local high school or college.
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