Academic journal article The Hymn

The Lovelace Scholarship at Twenty-Five

Academic journal article The Hymn

The Lovelace Scholarship at Twenty-Five

Article excerpt

Every summer, at some point during the conference of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, a handful of people are introduced to the gathered assembly and identified as Lovelace Scholars. They tend to be younger than the average attendee. They attend the annual meeting. For many years they had their picture taken with Austin Lovelace. But who are these people? Where have they come from? Even more important, where have they gone after their introduction to our society?


In some ways, the Lovelace Scholarship came about by chance. When The Hymn Society met in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in the summer of 1985, members of our European counterparts, The Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland and the Internationale Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Hymnologie were also invited; this was the first time that a conference involving all three organizations was held in North America. Two years earlier, at the IAH conference in Budapest, it had become apparent that participation by members from Eastern Europe would be difficult. Visas and round trip travel costs, though a challenge, were manageable; but at that time these travelers from behind the Iron Curtain would not be allowed to take out enough money for their expenses while at the conference. Then Austin Lovelace, FHS, had a great idea: members of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada could be invited to contribute to a fund to make it possible for these friends to attend.1

The appeal was so successful that after the conference there was money remaining. What should be done? It was decided to invest the money, and use the proceeds to assist students preparing for careers in church music to attend future annual conferences. Since then, 114 students have been beneficiaries of this program. So, after twenty- five years of Lovelace Scholars, where are they now and how did this opportunity impact their lives?

The first mention of the scholarships found in The Hymn (October 1988)

The initial eight

The first eight Lovelace Scholars arrived at the annual conference in Toronto in the summer of 1986. In the first printed reference to the scholars, Janet Cawley wrote in her reflections on the conference that The Hymn Society is "a community that is concerned to renew itself by nurturing a coming generation of members: eight students with special interest in church music were awarded scholarships to attend the conference."2 From the comments I received from many of the early scholars, a conference scholarship was all they understood this to be. They could not have known then that they were beginning a tradition. Yet the five from that first class who responded to my inquiries are a fine representative sample of the Lovelace Scholars.

Robert Scott Foxwell is a bivocational church musician. By day, he is an elementary music teacher in Virginia Beach; on weekends, the organist and choir director of an Episcopal Church. A significant number of scholars are bivocational, with their church music position being part-time. In addition, Foxwell is one of the scholars who was drawn into the society - now a life member and a regular at annual conferences. He writes:

The Hymn Society is like a family. We get together for "family reunions every summer. We always plan our vacations around where the Society plans to go for its annual conferences. Our son was born in 1989 and we took him with us to Calvin College, and [he] has been with us many times. We look forward to every annual conference, but the meetings in Canada are extra special, because of my first one in Toronto.3

Joseph Herl and Esther Crookshank represent the academic side of the Lovelace Scholarship. Both are life members of the society and both have made presentations at annual conferences. Herl teaches at Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska, and Crookshank at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. In their academic pursuits, they further congregational song. …

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