John Allen Ferguson

John Allen Ferguson
Short Name: John Allen Ferguson
Full Name: Ferguson, John Allen, 1941-
Birth Year: 1941

John Ferguson’s name is immediately associated with hymnody and the words “hymn festival.” Every year he is invited to design and lead such events, both in local congregations and at gatherings of organists, choral conductors, and church musicians. In 1995 he designed and led a hymn festival in the Washington National Cathedral for the American Choral Directors Association national convention and in 1998 did the same at the national convention of the American Guild of Organists in Denver. He has presented such events abroad as well as in Asia (July, 1996 in Seoul, Korea) and Europe (August, 1997) in the National Cathedral of Norway, Nidaros Dom, Trondheim, as a part of the celebration of the millennium of the birth of St. Olaf. Although he is a Lutheran, his festivals are ecumenical experiences drawing upon the greatest treasures of Christian song from many centuries, traditions, and styles.

Ferguson is the Elliot and Klara Stockdal Johnson Professor of Organ and Church Music and Cantor to the Student Congregation at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. St. Olaf’s great choral tradition began with F. Meluis Christiansen and has influenced many generations of fine church musicians. Christiansen’s lifelong interest in hymns is evidenced by the many hymns included in his choral compositions as well as his contributions to hymnals of his day. Ferguson’s creative hymn arrangements continue this tradition with a renewed emphasis upon congregational participation.

A native of Cleveland, Ferguson’s degrees are from Oberlin College, Kent State University and the Eastman School of Music. He is respected as a fine teacher and performer and his unique skill as improviser and leader of congregational song has won national acclaim. When someone attends one of his festivals, the experience is never dull. With Ferguson at the organ and the creative use of instrumental and choral sound, the assembly is enveloped and whisked away into an experience of song that will never again happen in just that way.

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