A highlight of this year’s Furman’s Church Music Conference (FCMC) is free and open to the public! Be in our Sanctuary this Thursday, January 26, at 7:30pm for a concert featuring Furman Singers and Furman Chamber Choir, Westminster Presbyterian Church choir and our own Sanctuary Choir, along with some congregational singing. “Songs of Thankfulness and Praise: A Celebration in Song for Epiphany” includes music representing moments in the life of Christ as well as our response to the gospel. Composers/arrangers of this music include Charles Tompkins, Healey Willan, Felix Mendelssohn, John Ferguson and André Thomas. The choirs from Westminster and FBG will rehearse together on Wednesday, January 25, with FCMC clinicians John Ferguson and André Thomas.
Dr. André Thomas is the Owen F. Sellers Professor of Music, Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Choral Music Education at Florida State University (Tallahassee). He is an international conductor/clinician and an acclaimed composer/arranger. He has also produced some instructional videos and his latest book, Way Over in Beulah Lan: Understanding and Performing the Negro Spiritual, has become a major source for the area of study. The African Diaspora Sacred Music has honored Dr. Thomas as a “Living Legend.” Dr. Thomas’ dedication to and accomplishments in the choral arts were recognized by his peers in Chorus America when that organization presented Dr. Thomas with its Distinguished Service Award in 2011, and again in 2017 when he was named the Robert Shaw Choral Award recipient by the American Choral Directors Association.
Dr. John Ferguson retired spring 2012 after 29 years as the Elliot and Klara Stockdal Johnson Professor of Organ and Church Music and Cantor to the Student Congregation at St. Olaf College. He is respected as a fine teacher and performer, and his skill as improviser and leader of congregational song has received national acclaim. He is sought to lead festivals each year. Ferguson has authored many books and articles on church music and organ building. He has more than 150 anthems and organ volumes in print; in 2005 his composition, “Who Is This” for choir and viola was awarded the prestigious Raabe Prize for excellence in sacred composition.
The FCMC, January 26-27, is open to the public. Registration for the event is $95 as space remains; full-time students is $40. Fees include two days of conference sessions, a conference music packet and a Friday luncheon. Conference hosts are music faculty members Charles Tompkins, Hugh Ferguson Floyd and Vivian Hamilton, FBG’s minister of music. Contact the Furman Music Department at (864) 294-2086 or email the department at FurmanMusic@furman.edu for more information.