Levi Sisemore, Texas Normal Singing School
July 10, 2016 will mark the beginning of the 70th annual Texas Normal Singing School. This kind of event calls for reunion, which we will hold on July 9, the Saturday immediately preceding The Singing School! We’re especially inviting all of our past students, graduates, and faculty to return to The Singing School to share in this happy time. The details are still in the planning phases. The reunion chairman is Michael Kersh, a veteran of many years at The Singing School. Please send your comments about the ideas/prospects of a reunion to ACUSingingSchool@gmail.com with the subject “Reunion” and they will be forwarded directly to Michael and his Reunion Committee.
In 1968, Brother Edgar Furr (father of Joe Ed) wrote for The Gospel Guardian, “As a preacher of the gospel I have conducted many gospel meetings. When I first began such efforts I found it necessary to lead the singing as well as preach in many places. In many communities I found no one who could lead singing for the congregation and in many instances where there was a song leader, I found only poor to mediocre leadership. As time went on I began to realize that this situation was not getting better and apparently nothing was being done for improvement. It was then that I conceived the idea of starting a summer school for the training song leaders.”
In many congregations, the situation has not changed since Furr’s observations of the early 1940s – we are still in desperate need of capable, trained song leaders and not just song starters. Few congregations would be willing to encourage a man to preach on Sunday who had not prepared and who would not deliver a sermon well, but we tolerate song directors who put forth very little initiative week after week. Why the disparity? Why require so much of our preachers, yet so little (if anything) from those men who lead us into the throne room of God in worship? The Singing School has existed all these years to give basic training to those who are starting-off; to give intermediate training to those who already have a music theory background; and to give advanced training in the art form of leadership, emotional intelligence, and spiritual worship to those who have mastered the technical aspects of song leading.
In addition to the music training that has always been the focus of the School, men have been inspired to take up preaching and ministry from their time at Singing School, Christian marriages have begun by couples meeting here, students have been convicted of their need for the Savior and have been baptized into Christ at Singing School. Lives are changed by God’s work through this ministry.
From Sabinal (1946-1984), to San Antonio (1985-1987), to Abilene (1988-present) we have been faithful partners with the churches of Christ for God’s glory. Come celebrate that with us this July at the 70th Annual Texas Normal Singing School.