Posted by Philip Poole on 2010-09-13

The seventh annual Samford Hymn Sing, formerly known as the Old Song Sing-Along, will take place Sunday afternoon, Sept. 26, in Reid Chapel, beginning at 2 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

Returning as codirectors of the event this year are Samford’s School of the Arts Dean Joseph Hopkins and his wife, Suzanne. Joining them will be the school’s newest faculty member, Eric Mathis, who teaches church music and worship leadership.  

Before coming to Samford, Mathis served as an adjunct faculty member at Azusa Pacific University in California and Baylor University in Texas.  Although in the university, Matthis says his first vocational calling is to church music ministry.  He has maintained an active role in various music ministries, serving churches in California, Texas, Illinois and Missouri as minister of music, pianist, organist and minister of youth.

The program consists primarily of congregational singing of the favorite hymns and gospel songs of yesteryear as selected by the audience. It also features special gospel and hymn selections presented by the Hopkins and Matthis.

The event began in 2003 as Samford Auxiliary’s opening program of the year. It featured the music of composer Philip Paul Bliss, who had been described as “one of ‘God’s gifts to modern Christian music,” and was directed by legendary gospel musician Dick Baker of Dallas, Texas. The program was so popular that it has become a Samford tradition and the closing event of the annual FamilyWeekend.

“These songs--gospel songs—are the songs of my childhood, and they are deeply engrained in my consciousness,” said Samford President Andrew Westmoreland. “I’m grateful for those among us who preserve that heritage. I’m grateful that the music lives in our hearts. “

Attendees, especially groups such as a Sunday School class or Senior Adult Department, are invited to enjoy a buffet lunch in the University Dining Hall of the Beeson Student Center before walking over to Reid Chapel for the Hymn Sing. Cost of lunch is $7.25 per person.

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.