Crookshank named director of SBTS Academy of Sacred Music

Communications Staff — May 1, 2009

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has announced the founding of a new Academy of Sacred Music approved by trustees during their April meeting. Esther Crookshank, Ollie Hale Chiles Professor of Church Music at Southern Seminary, has been named director. This program unit and think tank will sponsor concerts, lectures and conferences, with the goals of more broadly educating and engaging the seminary community musically, promoting musical excellence across styles and genres and stimulating scholarly discussion on issues of music in culture, theological reflection on music and music and the arts in worship.

Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. said the academy will help students to remain conversant with the rich musical and hymnological traditions of the church. “I am very excited about the new Academy of Sacred Music,” Mohler said. “This new program will honor the rich musical traditions of the Christian church and assist our students to understand the place of music within the culture, the church and the Christian worldview.

“I am also absolutely confident that, in professor Esther Crookshank, we have just the right leader for this program. She is a brilliant musicologist and she is gifted with an infectious love of music. Expect great things from this program.”

“We as a theological seminary exist to serve the churches through training ministers,” Crookshank said. “I think that means developing the whole person, helping one another love beauty and music as God’s gifts, as Martin Luther taught. I want our students to understand why Bach’s music is great and how a fugue works, but also to be able to unpack the theology in a country music song and even study voice or perform in an ensemble for a few semesters. My goal is that the Academy of Sacred Music will dramatically enrich and enliven our whole campus life and culture and the broader community. The Academy of Sacred Music is about excellence in every musical tradition and about seeing the glory of God in it.”

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