category: Faculty Emeriti - In Honor Of

Phil Perrin

Professor Emeritus of Music

Phil Perrin

Dr. Philip D. Perrin, son of Bruce and Fern Perrin, was born Dec. 4, 1940, near Knoxville, Tenn. He grew up in a rural setting, graduated from Knoxville Central High School in 1958, and earned a Bachelor of Science in music education at the University of Tennessee in 1962. He earned a Master of Church Music in 1964, then a Doctor of Musical Arts in music history at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1968.

On Aug. 17, 1962, he married Wilda Hubbard. They had two daughters, Lydia and Noelle.

Perrin spent the school year of 1968-1969 teaching and directing the chorus and band at Hazard Community College in Hazard, Ky. In 1969, he began teaching music at Gardner-Webb and became director of the choirs. He taught music history, church administration, hymnology, choral conducting, worship, and children’s choir methods and materials in the undergraduate program, and assisted students in church vocational placement. During his final two years at Gardner-Webb he taught worship, children’s choir leadership, and advanced conducting in the Master of Church Music program in the Gardner-Webb School of Divinity. Upon the University’s acquisition of handbells, Perrin became director of the handbell choir and held that position until his retirement in 2003. At that time, he was selected as professor emeritus of music.

During his 34 years of teaching at Gardner-Webb, Perrin was minister of music in numerous Baptist churches in the area. He served Florence, Floyd’s Creek, Rutherfordton First, Race Path and Shiloh in Rutherford County, N.C.; Boiling Springs, Calvary, Dover, Elizabeth, and Putnam in Cleveland County, N.C.; and Macedonia and West End in Cherokee County, S.C.

Perrin developed a hobby of hiking (completing the Appalachian Trail), which progressed to mountain climbing. He has climbed the highest mountain on all seven continents, reaching the peak of six of the seven, and 23,800 feet on Mount Everest.

Perrin combined short-term mission 
assignments with his mountain-climbing trips, serving in Nepal, Indonesia, The Philippines, Malaysia, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Crimea, Russia, Mexico, El Salvador, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, India, and China.

After training with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2003, Dr. and Mrs. Perrin moved that fall to East Africa to begin a two-year assignment as music missionaries at Mount Meru (Baptist) University in Arusha, Tanzania, working among the Masai people. The Perrins taught church choral techniques, hymnology, Biblical foundations of church music, vocal technique, music theory, church music administration, children’s choir leadership, guitar and keyboard. They left home again on Aug. 21, 2014, to teach choral music in a private high school near Chengdu, China. Although they were confronted with power outages, robbery, rationed/impure water, poor roads, auto accidents, and many cultural differences, their retirement experiences were highly rewarding during these adventures.

While teaching, they also learned much from these experiences: to appreciate simple things, that happiness is not determined by one’s standard of living, that an event is more important than when it either starts or ends, that relationships are of supreme importance, that God loves the entire world, that He can use anyone who will love Him and serve Him.

Sources: Personal Interviews, Phil Perrin’s newsletters, his Aug. 4, 2004, speech, and the “Westview Witness” church newsletter of July 25, 2004 —Oland and Joyce Summers

Updated: August 2014—Phil Perrin and July 2022

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