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Hopson Hal H.

Hal H. Hopson

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Hal H. Hopson, born 1933, is one of the most prolific composers of church music of his generation. With more than 1,800 published works, for 30 publishers, Mr. Hopson's music is heard weekly in congregations throughout our country. His compositions reflect respect for the best liturgical tradition, scripture, and theology. Mr. Hopson composes music accessible to nearly all choirs and congregations, striving always to include rather than to exclude. His published repertoire includes almost every conceivable genre: anthems for children, youth, adult choirs and compositions for organ, piano, harpsichord, and handbells. Mr. Hopson writes especially for congregations in concertato anthems, hymn tunes, responsorial psalm settings, and liturgical services.

A church musician throughout his professional life, Mr. Hopson has also been conductor-clinician for workshops and choral festivals in the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia, and professor of church music at Westminster Choir College and Scarritt Graduate School. He is also a hymn writer whose texts appear in major denominational hymnals.

Hal Hopson was born in Mound, Texas, in a family of thirteen children where music making figured prominently. His first piano teacher was his older sister, Merle, whom he holds in deep regard for her enormous musical and personal influences on his life. Hopson's well-known hymn tune, MERLE'S TUNE, is named in her honor. He first accompanied worship services at age thirteen and later graduated from Baylor University and Southern Baptist Seminary with B.A. and M.S.M. degrees, respectively. He completed additional study at universities and conservatories in the United States and Germany.

A recipient of many honors for his distinguished service to music, Mr. Hopson is listed in the International Who's Who in Music, Cambridge, England. He has served on the national boards of Presbyterian Association of Musicians, Choristers Guild, the Church Music Institute, and has received annual awards from ASCAP for many consecutive years. Expertise in psalmody and Liturgy led to appointments on the Symposium for Church Composers sponsored by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Milwaukee and the Task Force on Psalmody sponsored by the Presbyterian Church, USA, which resulted in the official Psalter for the denomination.

God with Us, a cantata by Hal Hopson, was chosen during the American Bicentennial, 1976, for placement in a capsule to be opened and performed at the Tercentennial in 2076. This composition was selected because it was judged to be representative of choral music of the century.

In the summer of 2013, Austin, Texas, became the home of Hopson and his wife, Martha Smith Hopson, also a church musician. They have three children, six grandchildren, and enjoy living in the beautiful Texas hill country.


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