BROWNWOOD—Jay Smith, associate professor of Christian Studies at Howard Payne University, is equally at home discussing doctrine or downbeats.
In addition to teaching theology, Smith works in his spare time as a musical composer and arranger and as a marching band contest judge.
Prior to receiving a call into ministry, Smith was a band director for several years. From conducting small parochial school beginning instrumentalists in Triangle, Va., to the renowned United States Naval Academy Drum & Bugle Corps in Annapolis, Md., Smith knows his way around a musical score and a football field.
Smith received his initial musical training at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, studying music education and composition. From there he went on to teach music in both public and private schools, culminating with his position at Annapolis.
After he entered the ministry, Smith continued to write music for bands across the nation and even worked his way through seminary by serving as lecturer of university bands and the staff arranger for the Golden Wave Marching Band at Baylor University.
A 1996 alumnus of Howard Payne, Smith returned to campus in 2006 to teach theology and very quickly became involved with Corey Ash and the HPU Yellow Jacket Band.
He co-arranged the 2006 Yellow Jacket Band halftime show with Robert Tucker and then arranged both the 2007 and 2008 march band productions on his own.
In the last 20 years, Smith has written more than 400 arrangements for marching band, concert band, symphony orchestra and choir. One of his favorites is a piece he wrote for Stephen Heyde, the director of the Waco and Baylor symphony orchestras.
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“Mr. Heyde asked me to write a medley of all the fight songs of the schools belonging to the new Big 12 for the orchestra, and to have it ready in less than 24 hours. It was a challenge, but we made it,” he recalled.
This past spring, the United States Scholastic Band Association—a subsidiary of Youth Education in the Arts—asked Smith to become a music judge for the organization. He agreed and has since judged competitions from Pennsville and New Jersey to Laredo. His experience culminated in late October at the USSBA Texas State Championships in Schertz.
Combining his loves for ministry and music, Smith served as pastor to the Texas Baptist All-State Choir and Band this past summer as they traveled to the Baptist World Alliance Youth Conference in Leipzig, Germany.