First Baptist Church, Huntsville, AL
Saturday, July 04, 2015

Minister of Music & Worship

Billy Orton - Minister of Music and Worship
Email Billy Orton

Serving as Minister of Music and Worship at Huntsville’s First Baptist Church since August of 1998, Billy administers a growing program of music ministries with more than 25 choirs, instrumental groups and ensembles.  In addition to his role as a worship leader, he also conducts three choirs (youth, adult and senior adult) and the orchestra of the church.  The special presentations by FBC’s Music Ministry such as the Living Christmas Tree and the Spring/Easter concerts are enjoyed by thousands in the region.

A native of Greenville, Ky., Billy graduated with highest honors from Western Kentucky University (Bachelor in Music Education, recipient of The Ogden Award) and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Master of Church Music), where he was vice-president of the graduating class. Prior to answering the call to Huntsville First Baptist, he served for ten years as Minister of Music at Columbia Baptist Church in Falls Church, VA, and earlier in churches in Bowling Green, Ky. and Winston-Salem, NC.

Rev. Orton has been a teacher, conductor and performer in various states throughout our nation, specializing in instrumental leadership and choral conducting of all age groups. He has had numerous published articles in the area of church music ministry and administration, and has organized and led music mission endeavors both at home and abroad. He has performed and taught in Russia, Zimbabwe and Germany, including a leadership role at the Baptists In Worship international conference in Berlin. He has served as guest conductor in numerous settings, including several honor choruses, workshop/festival events and Baptist All State orchestras.  Billy has also served as an adjunct, part-time instructor for several institutions of higher learning, including UAHuntsville.

Billy is the Artistic Director for the Huntsville Community Chorus, the first performing arts organization in the North Alabama region and one that now encompasses a symphonic chorus, chamber choirs and ensembles, children's and youth chorales, and musical theatre. In 2001 he was a charter member of one of The Huntsville Brass Band, and has served the group as conductor, a member of the euphonium section, and presently the bass trombonist. Other community involvement includes serving as conductor for various stage productions such as musicals, an opera and a ballet.  He is Chorus Master for the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra and has prepared numerous groups for HSO concerts.

He has served on the Executive Council of the Baptist Church Music Conference, and was elected to national office of that organization in May of 2004 as the Vice-President of the Local Church Division.

His wife, Jane, is a social worker (MSSW) and therapist (Clinical Director of the National Children’s Advocacy Center) with degrees from Western Kentucky University and the University of Louisville. Billy and Jane have two children, John (1982) and Mary (1984). In addition to loving his work at First Baptist, Billy enjoys basketball, reading, walking, and being with children of all ages.