Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2006-09-19

An "Old Song Sing-Along" featuring many familiar hymns will be held at Samford University Sunday, Oct. 5, at 2 p.m. in Reid Chapel. The public is invited free of charge.

The program will pay tribute to the life and works of 19th century composer Philip Paul Bliss, who wrote such popular hymns as "Almost Persuaded," "It Is Well with my Soul" and "Wonderful Words of Life."

The music will be under the direction of legendary gospel musician and composer Dick Baker of Dallas, Texas. The Samford Student Ministries Choir and other guest musicians will also participate.

Samford president Thomas E. Corts and his wife, Marla, will share episodes in the life of Bliss, including the December, 1876, train wreck in Ashtabula, Ohio, that killed the young musician and his wife. Dr. and Mrs. Corts are originally from Ashtabula.

In 2002, Dr. Corts compiled a volume, Songs of Bliss, A 125th Year Remembrance of Songwriter Philip Paul Bliss. Earlier this year, he edited a book, Bliss and Tragedy, which deals with the Ohio wreck.

Bliss was a gifted musician whose gospel songs were widely appreciated in Britain, America and other parts of the world. He was friend of the famous evangelist D.L. Moody. Bliss and his wife visited Alabama in the spring of 1876 when they accompanied evangelist D.W. Whittle to Mobile.

Baker, who has led an international ministry of concerts and crusades since 1956, has also been a song leader and soloist with Billy Graham. In 1992, he completed 12 years as minister of music at Dallas' Prestonwood Baptist Church, which involves more than 1,200 people in its weekly music program.

The Oct. 5 event is sponsored by the Samford Auxiliary.

The 10 Most Popular Bliss Hymns and Songs

Almost Persuaded
Hallelujah, What a Savior
I Gave My Life for Thee
It Is Well with My Soul
I Will Sing of My Redeemer
Jesus Loves Even Me
Let the Lower Lights Be Burning
The Light of the World is Jesus
Whosoever Will
Wonderful Words of Life


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.