Spurgeon, Alan L.

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Spurgeon, Alan L.


Married; wife's name Debra (a professor). Education: Truman State University, M.E.; University of Arkansas, M.M.; University of Oklahoma, Ph.D.; also attended Colorado State University and University of St. Thomas.


Office—Department of Music, University of Mississippi, 164 Music Bldg., P.O Box 1848, Jackson, MS 38677-1848. E-mail—[email protected]


Writer, educator. Taught vocal music in the public schools of Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri; taught at Southwestern Oklahoma State University for eighteen years; University of Mississippi, Jackson, associate professor of music, director of music education, and graduate coordinator in music.


Mississippi Music Educators Association.


Waltz the Hall: The American Play Party, University Press of Mississippi (Jackson, MS), 2005.

Also coeditor of Southern Music Education Journal and member of editorial board of Orff Echo.


Alan L. Spurgeon, an associate professor of music at the University of Mississippi, explores an all-but-forgotten form of entertainment in his 2005 work Waltz the Hall: The American Play Party. A phenomenon comprised of group singing, dancing, and games, the play party was popular in rural and frontier regions—especially in fundamentalist communities—during the nineteenth century, though it survived in some areas until the 1950s. Spurgeon divides his work into two parts: the first presents a history of play parties, based on interviews with participants, while the second collects more than ninety tunes often sung at the events, complete with lyrics and dance steps. According to Michael Cala, writing in Sing Out!, Waltz the Hall "is a pleasant surprise, covering in sprightly fashion a little known social phenomenon that took place in a simpler and yet more formal time. The author is wise enough to keep the prose light and short as befits the subject." Journal of Southern History critic Nancy Cassell McEntire noted that the author "brings the story of this unusual musical entertainment into a comprehensive and clear narrative," and concluded that "the reader will come away from this fine study with a thorough understanding of both text and context of an important chapter in the history of American traditional music and dance."



American Studies, summer, 2006, Bernard Mergen, review of Waltz the Hall: The American Play Party, p. 117.

Folklore, April, 2006, Mavis Curtis, review of Waltz the Hall, p. 117.

Journal of Southern History, May, 2006, Nancy Cassell McEntire, review of Waltz the Hall, p. 496.

Sing Out!, summer, 2005, Michael Cala, review of Waltz the Hall, p. 108.


University of Mississippi Web site,http://olemiss.edu/ (May 10, 2008), biography of Alan L. Spurgeon.