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ETBU to bring back 'Great East Texas Hymn Sing'

By Austin King aking@marshallnewsmessenger.com
Aug. 21, 2013 at 10 p.m.


East Texas Baptist University's Great East Texas Hymn Sing will return next month with more than 60 hymns.

Under the direction of Paul Tapp, ETBU director of alumni development, the annual Hymn Sing was developed and has grown yearly. Last year, the event drew roughly 400 attendees. Tapp expects this year to be even bigger.

"Each year we've had a larger crowd," Tapp said. "The Marshall Convention and Visitor's Bureau has been promoting it this year. We've gotten a lot of exposure."

This year's Hymn Sing will mark the kickoff of Marshall CVB's Marshall Music Festival, which will feature different music and performers each day from Sept. 13 to Sept. 21.

Tapp explained that the Hymn Sing will be broken into six 15-minute segments, each led by a different hymn director and ETBU alumni. All in all, Tapp expects the hymnal to last more than an hour and a half.

"A different leader will lead the congregation for each section," he said. "I'll lead the opening and the final section. It will be nothing but singing right from the hymnals."

In addition to Tapp, this year's hymn leaders include Billy Foote, evangelist of Trinity Baptist Church in Longview, Steve Slover, education and administration pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Nacogdoches, Stacy Perkins, minister of music of Harmony Hill Baptist Church in Lufkin, Kermit Tandberg, pastoral care minister of First Baptist Church in Lewisville and Justin Hodges, ETBU director of choral activity. Numerous local musicians will also accompany the Hymn Sing, including members of ETBU staff and student body.

"I have long contended that, second only to the Bible, the hymnal has been the single most unifying force in American Christianity. The Great East Texas Hymn Sing is a new tradition at ETBU seeking to honor our hymn heritage and give opportunity for our region to celebrate the Gospel together with a single and solid voice," Tapp said. "Energizing, encouraging and inspirational, the Hymn Sing is one of those 'don't miss it if you can' kind of experiences – an event you will want to be repeated again and again."

Attending the Hymn Sing is free of charge, all are welcome. Individuals and groups may make reservations to attend a catered lunch before the Hymn Sing in ETBU's Woods Great Room of the Ornelas Student Center; lunch comes with a charge of $15 and reservations must be made before the day of the event. Following the event ETBU will hold a reception where visitors will have a chance to browse hymnal exhibits and purchase hymns.

ETBU's Great East Texas Hymn Sing takes place Friday, Sept. 13 from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Baker Auditorium of ETBU's Ornelas Student Center. Those who wish to make reservations for lunch should contact Tapp at (903) 923-2042.

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