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Southwestern’s Bill Reynolds receives ASCAP lifetime achievement awar

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Retired music professor William J. Reynolds has received an American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Foundation lifetime achievement award for his more than five decades of contributions to church and gospel music.
“Bill Reynolds has been a statesman among church musicians and Christians everywhere,” said Benjamin Harlan, dean of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s school of church music. “This lifetime achievement award from ASCAP represents one of the highest honors that the music industry bestows upon one of its own.”
Reynolds’ 53-year career includes service as editor of the Baptist Hymnal and The New Broadman Hymnal in the 1970s.
He received the award “for his outstanding contributions as a composer, arranger, educator and mentor in the field of church and gospel music” and a check for $5,000 during a June 23 ceremony at Southwestern where he served for 18 years.
In accepting the award, Reynolds recognized “people” who had helped him including Ellen Estes, Stan Harold, Bob MacDougal, June Monroe, Roger Snead and Clyde Winston — six of 38 pseudonyms Reynolds has used throughout his career.
He said he thinks he “broke the bank” at ASCAP with 30 of his pseudonyms registered with the organization that now limits people to five. Reynolds said he began to use pseudonyms while writing children’s songs for the Baptist Sunday School Board (now LifeWay Christian Resources) where he worked from 1955-80.
Dan Keen, director of ASCAP membership relations based in Nashville, Tenn., presented the award to the distinguished professor of church music emeritus, saying Reynolds has “given us priceless gifts and made this world a better place to live.”
Keen also noted the multifaceted aspects of Reynolds’ career that extend beyond composing and arranging music.
“As a professor and mentor, Bill Reynolds has left the mark of Christ on hundreds and hundreds of lives with whom he has interacted over the years,” Keen said. “And those lives have touched other lives who’ve touched other lives and on and on it goes in a glorious chain of grace.”
Elwyn Raymer, vice president of the gospel music division, BMG Music Publishing, said that Reynolds, during his years at the Sunday School Board, was a mentor to him and others.
“Dr. Reynolds provided valuable, spiritual artistic and creative direction for a whole lot of writers and authors during his many active leadership years in several Southern Baptist institutions,” Raymer said.
“I can’t think of another composer, author, arranger, hymnologist and educator more deserving of this lifetime achievement award from ASCAP than Dr. William Jensen Reynolds,” he added.
Reynolds was to have received the award in Nashville in April but suffered a mild stroke and could not attend the ceremony.
The award is given annually to three “veteran music creators who have made significant contributions to our nation’s music culture during their lifetimes.”
In addition to serving at Southwestern and at the Sunday School Board, Reynolds has composed and arranged more than 700 choral anthems, hymn tunes and children’s songs and has written several books and a weekly column on favorite hymns. He has also served national and international music organizations, held various church and denominational positions and received numerous awards. Reynolds continues to teach as an adjunct professor at Southwestern.
Founded in 1914, ASCAP calls itself “the first and foremost guardian of performing rights.” More than 75,000 composers, songwriters, lyricists and music publishers belong to the association, which “represents its members by licensing and distributing royalties for non-dramatic public performances of members’ copyrighted work.”

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  • Matt Sanders