FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Southwestern inaugurated the James C. McKinney Chair of Church Music during chapel, March 20, and installed Professor of Voice David Robinson in the chair.
After a time of congregational worship led by music professors David Thye and Joe Hardin, Executive Vice President and Provost Craig Blaising gave a short introduction. He explained that the late Kathryn Sullivan Bowld, a distinguished alumnus of Southwestern, provided the funds for the endowment of the chair named for McKinney.
“The initial endowment for this chair was given by Mrs. Bowld in 1988 with the stipulation that the chair be awarded to a professor who is prominent in his field, is an outstanding teacher and has demonstrated ability in his discipline,” Blaising said.
Before School of Church Music (SCM) Dean Stephen Johnson offered a prayer of dedication, President Paige Patterson made the statement of investiture.
“We are very, very grateful to have you as a professor of music in our music school, particularly in vocal pedagogy,” Patterson told Robinson. “So, it gives me a great joy at this time to officially announce that you are the chair holder of the James C. McKinney Chair of Church Music, and I want to challenge you today faithfully to discharge those duties to the next generation. If you will faithfully discharge that duty, you will do the church of God an honor and a blessing that is unspeakable. Thank you so very much for being willing to serve in this capacity and to accept this appointment to the James C. McKinney Chair of Church Music.”
Robinson, who studied under the late James McKinney while he pursued his Doctor of Musical Arts at Southwestern, now serves as a professor of voice in Southwestern’s SCM. Before moving to Fort Worth, he taught at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo. Robinson has a broad background of musical performance, including major operatic roles, recitals, oratorio solos and concerts, both in North America and abroad. He has performed in New York’s Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center with the American Symphony Orchestra and appears in multiple performances of Handle’s Messiah each year.
McKinney, for whom the chair is named, taught at Southwestern for 44 years and served as the dean of the SCM for 37 years. A bass soloist, McKinney, too, performed in recitals, oratorios, operas and church concerts throughout the United States and abroad. Patterson noted that his book, The Diagnosis and Correction of Vocal Faults, has become a standard textbook for those studying and teaching music. McKinney’s widow, Elizabeth Richmond McKinney, was on hand to witness the investiture of the chair named for her husband.