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Acclaimed Choir Director and Religious Music Scholar Comes to UCR

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On Thursday October 29, 2009, the Black Voice News will host a lecture and book signing with distinguished religious music scholar and choral director James Abbington. Co-sponsored by the Gospel Music History Project and the University of California, Riverside’s Department of Ethnic Studies and African Student Programs, the special engagement will take place at UCR’s new Highlander Union Building (HUB) in Room 302 South at 7pm.

An Associate Professor of Church Music and Worship at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University in Atlanta, Dr. Abbington is also the Executive Editor of GIA Publishers’ African American Church Music Series and has served as the musical co-director of the legendary Hampton University Ministers’ and Musicians’ Conference since 2000.

According to Dr. Daniel E. Walker, Founding Director of the Gospel Music History Project and Research Associate at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California, “Dr. Abbington is a real heavyweight when it comes to the study and performance of Black Sacred Music.” Added Dr. Dylan Rodriguez, chair of UCR’s Department of Ethnic Studies, “I hope we can keep co-sponsoring and endorsing this type of work. It is vital and inspiring.”

The former National Director of Music for both the Progressive National Baptist Convention and the NAACP, Dr. Abbington holds an undergraduate degree in Music from Morehouse College and a Masters of Music and Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Michigan.

An acclaimed performer, recording artist, and passionate presenter, his skills as an organist, conductor, arranger, and educator are unparalleled.

As Rickerby Hinds, Associate Professor of Playwriting at UCR, comments, “It is very seldom that you get someone of Dr. Abbington’s status who makes the connection between theory and practice. He not only teaches it, he lives it.”

Previously a Professor of Music in the Department of Fine Arts at Morgan State University, Dr. Abbington was also the former Chair of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Among his publications include; Let Mt. Zion Rejoice! Music in the African American Church (Judson Press) and Readings in African American Church Music and Worship (GIA). He is also an associate editor for the best-selling African American Heritage Hymnal (GIA).

During his visit to UCR Dr. Abbington will be speaking on his new work Let the Church Sing On:  Reflections on Black Sacred Music. The book explores “TheSpiritual”, “Pioneering and Contemporary Hymn Writers”, and “Pastoral Considerations and Worship Resources.” In the words of Kenneth Simons, Director of African Student Programs, “Get ready to be educated and inspired!”

For more information contact the African Student Programs Office at (951) 827-4576.

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