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 from 2000–2010, where he directed the 2,000 voice conference choir.
Dr. Abbington served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, and at its 2015 conference, was named a Fellow of the Hymn Society. He is 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.
James Abbington is universally regarded as one of the leading experts on African American church music, and as such travels continually conducting seminars, workshops, Sing to the Rafters events, and serving as guest organist and conductor.