• Professor of Music, Voice;  Director, Furman Chamber Choir;  Director, Music in Italy Program, Vocal Area Coordinator
  • 864.294.2088
  • Daniel Music Building, Room 112
  • bill.thomas@furman.edu

William Thomas served as Chair of Furman's Music Department for nearly two decades, and currently teaches studio voice, vocal pedagogy, directs the department's study away program, Music in Italy, and regularly conducts major works for choir and orchestra. A member of the Furman faculty since 1987, his career is marked by constant activity as a solo and ensemble singer, conductor and clinician, nearly forty years of college teaching and administration, and a number of significant church music positions. His work with the Furman Chamber Choir includes the highly anticipated annual presentation of a Festival of Lessons and Carols in Furman's Daniel Chapel. Dr. Thomas worked closely with the late Robert Shaw studying, performing and recording in the United States and abroad. His association with Mr. Shaw led to his being named Director of the 1998 Robert Shaw Choral Institute, held on the Furman campus, and to his work as assistant editor of Robert Blocker's A Robert Shaw Reader, Yale University Press, 2004. When he is away from campus he may be found working in his garden or trout fishing in the streams of western North Carolina, often with his grandson, Will.​​​

Name Title Description


Recital Attendance


Furman Singers


Chamber Choir


Oratorio Chorus


Introduction to Music

Introduction to the fundamentals of music, exploring a variety of musical genres, and developing an appreciation of the diverse musical genres. Although the focus157 for each section varies, all sections address certain fundamentals of music: listening skills, cultural context, historical development, musical vocabulary, musical structure, and style. Requires out-of-class listening and attendance at live concerts. Descriptions of the sections are published during the enrollment period for each term.


Church Music Ministry

Relationship of the music ministry to the church functions of worship, education and evangelism; the varying roles of music in the church and aspects of administering a program of church music.


Basic Conducting

Basic skills required of a conductor: beat patterns, cuing, expressive and functional use of the left hand, introduction to score study.


Choral Conducting

Continuation of MUS-352. Discussion and class performance in areas of rehearsal technique, advanced conducting analysis, criteria for selecting music, and continued development of general conducting skills. Videotaping as well as written and verbal critique of conducting actions included.


Practicum in Church Music

A semester-long field placement that will serve as a culminating experience in which the philosophies, methods and materials presented in the music core and the Church Music major curricula will be put into practice


Vocal Pedagogy

The science and application of vocal techniques for the teaching of singing.

I believe the greatest joy in teaching, as in life, is to pass along awareness and insights gained from experience, inspiration gained from passion, preparation and hard work, and encouragement that provides the impetus for exploring and reaching potential. The greatest honor I am nearly constantly rewarded by is seeing my former students excel in their musical, personal and professional lives. Conductors, professional solo performers, church musicians, teachers, business people, ministers, care givers, and laborers all validate and give purpose to my efforts of mentoring, challenging and encouraging.

Florida State University
Southeastern Baptist Seminary
Mars Hill College
Training Under
Dorothy Roberts (voice), Robert Rich (conducting)
Mars Hill College
Robert Burton (conducting), Jack Coldiron (voice), Frank Stovall (voice)
Southwestern Seminary
Walter James (voice), Yvonne Cianella (voice)
Florida State University
Robert Shaw, Conductor
Atlanta, GA

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