published Saturday, August 18th, 2012

Cooper: Oxford's official musician in residence

Dr. William Boyd is apparently the preeminent musician in residence at the Oxford Graduate School in Dayton, Tenn., and now he has the title to go along with it.

A longtime faculty member at the school, he also is a composer, arranger and conductor and has written special musical pieces for the inauguration of two presidents at the academic research institute.

"They've been introducing me as [musician in residence] to the students," said Boyd. "I guess they just decided to make it official."

Boyd is the first official musician in residence at the school, which dates to the early 1980s.

Although he teaches interdisciplinary studies, advanced communication and persuasive communication, he also has written musical works for ceremonies at the school other than the inaugurations and often winds up playing the organ or piano for various school functions.

Boyd figures his experience and his handiness make him a good target.

"I guess they'd rather ask me than hire somebody from the outside," he said.

With his background, the school is lucky to have him.

Boyd holds a doctorate in music composition from Louisiana State University, master's degrees in music theory and composition and music education and psychology from Temple University and Western Maryland College, respectively, and a bachelor's degree in music from Central Bible College.

At least three of his works were honored by special presentations in Louisiana.

His composition "Proverb of Poverty" was performed at the LSU New Times Concert; his work "Psalm 98" (for baritone voice and symphony orchestra) premiered at the LSU Contemporary Arts Festival; and he conducted the Baton Rouge Symphony and Centenary College Choir in his original historical pageant "Song of the Felicianas."

Boyd also completed a five-year course of theology study through Candler School of Theology at Emory University and is a licensed local pastor with the Holston Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

In June, he was appointed to his ninth year as pastor of Evensville United Methodist Church.

There, Boyd not only shepherds the congregation but most weeks also plays his arrangement of a hymn or one of his compositions as part of the service. The 48-member congregation, he said, was kind enough to purchase a new keyboard with upgraded speakers to enhance the sound.

When he announces the work, he said, he invites members "to worship with me."

Boyd said the church is small, but its members are quite intelligent about music.

"There are a couple that play [instruments]," he said, "but are too bashful to do so."

The veteran educator returns to the classroom next month, and what he'd like to see the school do in the near future is create an academic emphasis on fine arts.

"There should be some kind of course or important cognate," Boyd said. "People need to be familiar with the arts.

"There's been some talk for a couple of years," he said. "There is a chance in the future."

In the meantime, Boyd, also an expert fly-tyer and micro-photographer, will go on making music where and when he can.

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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