James Abbington, currently Associate Professor of Church Music and Worship at Candler School of Theology, Emory University in Atlanta, GA, was previously a professor of music in the Department of Fine Arts at Morgan State University. Prior to his tenure in Baltimore, he was Associate Professor of Music and Chair of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Shaw University in Raleigh, NC (1998–2003). He is also the Executive Editor of the African American Church Music Series published by GIA Publications, Inc. of Chicago and has served as co-director of the annual Hampton University Ministers’ and Musicians’ Conference since 2000.
Dr. Abbington is a former member of the Executive Committee of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, as well as a member of the Grants Advisory Board for the Calvin Institute for Christian Worship at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, funded by the Lily Endowment.
Dr. Abbington is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia where he received the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music and was a student of the late Dr. Wendell P. Whalum and Dr. Joyce Finch Johnson. He earned the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts Degrees in Church Music and Organ from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor where he was a student of Marilyn Mason.
Dr. Abbington served as Minister of Music and Church Organist of the Hartford Memorial Baptist Church in Detroit from 1983–1996. He was National Director of Music for the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. from 1990–1994 and National Music Director for the NAACP from 1988–1992.
He is the author of Let Mt. Zion Rejoice! Music in the African American Church (Judson Press), Readings in African American Church Music and Worship (GIA Publications, Inc.), co-author of Waiting to Go! African American Church Worship Resources from Advent through Pentecost (GIA), and Going to Wait! African American Church Worship Resources between Pentecost and Advent (GIA); he edited Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker’s Spirits that Dwell in Deep Woods: The Prayer and Praise Hymns of the Black Religious Experience (GIA), is an associate editor of the best-selling African American Heritage Hymnal (GIA) and compiled and edited New Wine In Old Wineskins: A Contemporary Congregational Song Supplement (GIA).