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Max Lyall announces retirement after 25 years at Golden Gate

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–Max Lyall, veteran professor of church music at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary’s Bill and Pat Dixon School of Music for 25 years, has announced his retirement from the seminary at the end of the current academic year.
Serving the school since 1974, Lyall, 60, came to Golden Gate from Belmont College (now University), Nashville, Tenn., where he was associate professor of music for eight years. Before that, from 1963-66, he was assistant music editor for the church music department of the Baptist Sunday School Board (now LifeWay Christian Resources) in Nashville.
“The impact of Dr. Lyall upon the ministry of Golden Gate has been inestimable and will continue through the years in the lives and ministries of his students,” said seminary President William O. Crews. “He is a well-known ambassador and advocate for quality church music and worship in all settings here and abroad. We pray God’s best blessing upon his life in the years ahead.”
Gary McCoy, director of the Dixon School of Church Music at Golden Gate, said of Lyall, “The seminary’s students, faculty and staff have known him as a friend, a colleague, a musician and a co-laborer in ministry. He has contributed greatly to our lives and we will continue to benefit from his musical gifts, his teaching and his years with us.”
In 1996, Word Music produced a collection of piano arrangements and original compositions, recorded on compact disc and cassette, titled “Keyboard Legends,” featuring the work of Lyall and three other nationally known pianists. Lyall’s previous recordings of hymn-tune improvisations include “Authentic Original” and “Max, Rhythm and Song.”
Lyall has been the pianist for meetings of the Southern Baptist Convention and Baptist World Alliance. He served on the hymnal committee for the 1991 edition of the Baptist Hymnal. The Southern Baptist Church Music Conference awarded him honorary life membership in 1992. He has been on the faculty for church music conferences at Glorieta (N.M.) and Ridgecrest (N.C.) conference centers and has been visiting professor of church music and concert performer at Baptist seminaries in Brazil, Argentina, Hong Kong and Zambia.
While serving at Golden Gate, Lyall has been a deacon and pianist at Tiburon (Calif.) Baptist Church near the Mill Valley campus.
Lyall has been a piano and harpsichord soloist with the Nashville Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. He has been piano and tenor soloist with the Nashville Pro Musica Chorus and Orchestra, as well as tenor soloist with the Nashville Chamber Singers, the oratorio choruses of Golden Gate, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky., and California Baptist University, Riverside. He is a member of ASCAP (American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers).
He has performed as pianist, organist and singer for the recording activities of Broadman Press and Buryl Red Productions. He has appeared as accompanist for concerts and recordings by Robert Hale, Dean Wilder, Cynthia Clawson and Henrietta Davis.
He has written and arranged a number of works appearing in Southern Baptist publications, including Music From Way Back When and Klassics for Kids.
Lyall holds the bachelor of music degree from Oklahoma Baptist University, the master of music degree from the University of Oklahoma and the doctor of musical arts degree in piano from the Peabody Conservatory of Music at Johns Hopkins University. He has done additional study at Teachers College of Columbia University and the Juilliard School of Music.

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  • Cameron Crabtree