8th Annual WML Academic Symposium

Time: 12:00
Room: 224
Presenter(s): Melanie Pyles
Title: Themes In Gospel Music
Developed under the guidance of Dr. Adam English , Christian Studies

Gaither Gospel Group is a music industry that has grown by leaps and bounds in the last forty years. From its humble beginnings as a husband and wife duet performing songs in local churches, Gaither Gospel Group is now a multi-million-dollar corporation that produces books, CDs, and DVDs, as well as significant concert performances. Of the many contributions Bill Gaither has made to the Gospel Music industry, one of the most lasting might be the lyrics and music he has written. This project aims to study the theological themes particular to Gaither gospel music. Is there a unique theme or image or idea message in the Gaither music? The answer is yes. A recurring image in many Gaither tunes is “Calvary.” This project will highlight the song titled “Calvary” as representative of this theme, which can be found in many other Gaither songs as well. The project will analyze the meaning of Calvary and in what sense is it unique or particular to Gaither Gospel music. First, Calvary names a geographical name place, which itself carries specific theological implications. Second, the concept of Calvary taps into a deep sense of nostalgia. And thirdly, the Gaither focus on Calvary reveals the Gaither’s own emphasis on the death of Jesus as the center of their Christian faith.