Harry Eskew

Short Name: Harry Eskew
Full Name: Eskew, Harry

Harry Eskew, originally from Spartanburg, South Carolina, became interested in the stories behind hymns as a church music student at Furman University (B. A. in Music, 1958). He carried this interest further as a graduate student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (Master of Sacred Music, 1960), where he wrote a thesis on the Spartanburg shape-note singing school teacher, compiler, and composer, William (Singing Billy) Walker (1809-1875). In his doctoral studies in musicology at Tulane University (Ph. D. 1966) where he studied with the renowned American music historian, Gilbert Chase, he wrote a dissertation on “Shape-Note Hymnody in the Shenandoah Valley, 1816-1868.”
In 1965 he joined the church music faculty of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he was Professor of Music History and Hymnology and also part-time Music Librarian, serving a total of 36 years. He partnered with Professor Hugh T. McElrath (1921-2008) in authoring Sing with Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Hymnology (Nashville, 1980, 1995), a leading textbook now published by LifeWay and scheduled to be published in a 3rd edition by G.I.A. of Chicago, edited by Michael Hawn of Southern Methodist University and Paul A. Richardson of Samford University. Much of Harry Eskew’s work has focused on early American folk hymnody, on gospel hymnody, and on hymnody of Baptists. In addition to numerous articles, he partnered with David W. Music of Baylor University and Paul A. Richardson in authoring Singing Baptists: Studies on Baptist Hymnody in America (Nashville, 1994).

--Sing with Understanding 03 July 2014.

Suggestions or corrections? Contact us