Education

Rock Hill’s Clinton College announces music department. Here’s who will lead it.

Clinton College

Well-known gospel music leader Tony McNeill is coming to Rock Hill’s Clinton College.

McNeill, known as “Dr. T,” has helped prepare choirs for gospel singers such as Richard Smallwood, CeCe Winans, Maurette Brown Clark, Robert Ray, the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and others. He is a member of Donald Lawrence and The Tri-City Singers choir, according to a release from Clinton College.

McNeill will develop a new Department of Music at the historically black college. He joins Clinton this month as the director of choral activities and professor of music, the release states. McNeill will teach music and worship courses and conduct the college’s choir.

“This opportunity at Clinton College is a dream come true; a platform to create programming that will inspire, educate and equip future and current music and arts leaders for more effective service,” McNeill said in a prepared statement. “It feels good to return to this region, after being away for almost ten years, to do this work. I’m grateful to give back to the denomination that served a critical role in my formation as a musician.”

McNeill is moving to Rock Hill from Atlanta, where he has served as a worship consultant for Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, according to Clinton. He also has directed the Sanctuary Mass Choir at Oakhurst Presbyterian Church in Decatur, Ga.

McNeill found a passion for music at Oak Grove A.M.E. Zion Church in his hometown of Erwin, N.C. At nine years old, McNeill was playing for the church’s Sunday school and directing choirs, according to the release.

McNeill earned a music education degree from Appalachian State University. He holds a master’s in choral conducting from Florida State University and a doctorate of worship studies from the Robert Webber Institute for Worship Studies, according to Clinton.

McNeill in 1996 worked as the choral director at Olympic High School in Charlotte, the release states. He also was the director of the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church Choir.

McNeill is the first African-American to serve on the Deans Advisory Board for the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University, according to his website. He has worked at churches, colleges and universities across the country.

“Dr. Tony McNeill is an outstanding music professional who brings the talent, reputation and vision needed to establish a first-rate music and performing arts program to Clinton College,” President Lester McCorn said in a prepared statement. “He has distinguished himself as the music director in diverse settings, including the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, and several universities.”

“We are looking forward to the national prominence that will accrue to Clinton College with the addition of Dr. McNeill,” McCorn said.

Clinton College students and staff are celebrating the 125-year anniversary of the historically black college in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Clinton was established in 1894 by the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

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Amanda Harris covers issues related to children and families in York, Chester and Lancaster County for The Herald. Amanda works with local schools, parents and community members to address important topics such as school security, mental health and the opioid epidemic. She graduated from Winthrop University.

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