Adam Perez, a member of Kenosha (Wisc.) Christian Reformed Church, was recently honored by the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada with its Emerging Scholar award.
Perez, a third-year doctoral student at the Duke University Divinity School in Durham, N.C., was recognized at the society’s annual convention in St. Louis, Missouri in mid-July. He was honored for a paper he presented on the role of the keyboard in the emergence of praise and worship music, starting in the 1980s.
“I'd begun some research on the history of Integrity's Hosanna! Musicand realized that the scholarship up till now was so guitar-centric that it was totally overlooking the important contributions of the keyboard,” Perez said of his work. “Really, no one was talking about anything other than the guitar and the folk and rock musical styles we tend to associate with the Jesus People in the 1960s or the modern worship of the late 1990s.”
Perez presented his paper at the convention, along with two other students, and was selected from the three to receive the Emerging Scholar award. He received a $150 gift certificate, redeemable at the conference bookstore, and will have his paper published in the society’s peer-reviewed journal, The Hymn.
“Many of the church music scholars, composers, and poets that I respect so deeply are part of the Hymn Society, so it really felt like those giants that I look up to were affirming me and my research,” Perez said.
Perez holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Trinity Christian College and a master of arts in religion and music from Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music. He’s also a blogger for The Center for Congregational Song, the resource and outreach arm of The Hymn Society.