FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Leo Day cannot wait to bring his broad experience as a professor, performer and worship leader to his new role at Southwestern Seminary as the dean of the School of Church Music. Trustees elected Day to his new position during a special-called session of the board’s executive committee, July 24.
Day has served as minister of music at Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla., since 2005. As the dean of the School of Church Music, he replaces Stephen Johnson, who left Southwestern to become dean of Azusa Pacific University’s new College of Music and the Arts in June.
“Being a musician comes fairly easy,” Day says. “I’ve been at Olive (Baptist Church) for eight years since Hurricane Katrina blew me over from New Orleans. When I first got to Olive, I did not know anything about really being a pastor. Over the eight years, I’ve learned how to be a pastor.”
Day hopes to use these pastoral skills to lead the faculty and to train students for ministry in local churches.
“The thing I’m looking forward to here is being a pastor to my faculty, my students and to the student body at large,” Day says.
“I’m looking forward to having the privilege to get my hands on young talent that the kingdom has sent and make sure that they are not learning a formula for worship leading but that they are learning a relationship that undergirds worship.”
Along with his ministry at Olive Baptist Church, Day has served as an adjunct voice professor for the University of West Florida in Pensacola since 2008. Prior to coming on staff at the church, Day served as associate professor of voice at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary from 1999–2005 and instructor of voice at William Carey College from 1990–1999.
With more than 20 years of teaching in college, seminary, and secular university settings, Day works with students on being themselves rather than trying to perform for an audience.
“What I’m excited about with the seminary is that it is one of the few environments left that caters to the whole person, the whole musician. I’m excited that you still can get a full music education. You’re focusing on one area, but you learn that particular area while getting a broader scope of what music is and who you are to be within that world of music.”
This type of training in his own life prepared him to walk into any environment with confidence. At Olive Baptist, Day led children, youth, and adult choirs as well as the orchestra, praise team, ensembles, media and drama ministries.
“Leo Day is one of the few men in America who functions with a full grasp of both the church and the academic worlds,” said Southwestern Seminary president Paige Patterson.
“A beautiful tenor voice, a love for teaching, and years of incredible success as a minister of music in a mega-church have prepared him perfectly for the assignment as dean for our School of Church Music.”
Craig Blaising, provost and executive vice president at Southwestern, agrees.
“Dr. Leo Day is an accomplished vocalist, an experienced academic, and a gifted and successful director of church music ministry,” Blaising said.
“He has all the qualities that will lead Southwestern’s School of Church Music to prepare a new generation to lead churches in musical worship with excellence and passion for Christ.”
Day earned a D.M.A. in Vocal Performance from Louisiana State University (2000), a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Eastman School of Music (1990), and a Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance from William Carey College (1988). He performs frequently across the United States and has performed professionally with the Hawaii Opera Theatre of Honolulu. Day has recorded two solo albums: “He Loves Me” (2003) and “Solace for the Soul” (2005).