McElrath and Hustad

Discussion in 'Music Ministry' started by Joseph M. Smith, May 25, 2008.

  1. Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith
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    Folks involved in church music as Baptists would want to know of the recent death of Prof. Hugh McElrath at the age of 86. He was a student in the first class of the School of Church Music at Southern Baptist Seminary back in the 1940's, and when he graduated they asked him to teach. He never left! He did semi-retire and moved to Florida, but kept an apartment in Louisville so that he could return to teach on a reduced basis.

    Also, news has come that Donald Hustad, whom some older readers will know as organist for the Billy Graham organization before he came to Southern to teach, is giving a farewell recital and moving back to Chicago after more than 40 years in Louisville. He is 89.
     
  2. NiteShift

    NiteShift
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    I remember McElrath as the music director where I went to church as a child. He was very good, always enthusiastic, and the choir was large and popular at the time. We sang hymns back then, not CCM. Everyone called him Professor McElrath. I'm sorry to hear that he's crossed over, but hope to see him again.

    "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."
     
  3. Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith
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    I saw from your public profile that the church you are referring to is Beechwood, as I suspected it would be. He served there many years. My wife's family were also in that church until the mid-1950's.
     
  4. Timsings

    Timsings
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    A week ago we did a memorial for Dr. McElrath at The Big Singing at Benton, Kentucky. This is the only singing that uses The Southern Harmony compiled by William Walker in 1835. In another two weeks we will add his name to the Memorial List at the National Sacred Harp Convention in Birmingham, Alabama. Dr. McElrath was a great lover of shape-note music. That is where I got to know him, but he was a good friend of my father's. He did the work at Southern that my father did at Southwestern. Now their work has been pushed to the side by lower musical standards and by trivial music. The seminaries today have sold their musical heritage for a cheap substitute that will not stand the test of time.

    Tim Reynolds
     
  5. Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith
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    Interesting. Just by chance, my wife and I rented a cottage bed-and-breakfast in the village of Randwick in Gloucestershire a couple of years ago. The owners were devoted to shape-note singing and were members of a choir that did presentations almost every weekend around England. They had also been to the US, but I do not recall where they had performed. Had it been Kentucky, I think I would have remembered, since that is my native state. But these Brits knew a great deal more about that tradition than I will ever know. Nor did I know that Dr. Mac was into that as well.
     
  6. Timsings

    Timsings
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    The first time I went to Benton I met a woman who was writing her dissertation on The Big Singing. If I remember correctly, she was a student at the University of Louisville, but Dr. McElrath was her supervising professor.

    I know a number of English Sacred Harp singers. They might have been to Kentucky, but Alabama and Georgia are more likely. Last September I went down to the United Sacred Harp Musical Association convention at a beautiful small country churchhouse. Three of my friends from England were staying at the same motel. In the morning when I came down for the "complimentary continental breakfast", there they were with some other singers watching a cricket match on the TV. They were explaining what was going on to the "Yanks". :laugh:

    There are some Sacred Harp singings in the areas around Washington, DC. and Baltimore. If you've never been to one, you ought to go. You can find maps and directions at the FASOLA web site. But I have to warn you. Between the singing and the covered dish dinner, you might just find yourself "hooked".

    Tim Reynolds
     
    #6 Timsings, Jun 2, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 2, 2008

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