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VENTING, ALBERT SOBIESKI

VENTING, ALBERT SOBIESKI (1883–1965). Albert Sobieski Venting, pastor, teacher, musician, and hymnologist, was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on Feburary 6, 1883. Venting was the son of Count Adolf Sobieski of Crasaw, Poland, and Willie Mae (Ellyson) Sobieski of Richmond, Virginia. His father was a representative of the Polish government, and his mother was an artist. After Willie Mae Sobieski died in childbirth, the count attempted to care for the child alone, but found he could not. At age two, Albert was turned over to some friends of his father to be cared for. When he was five, his father died. When he was fourteen, his foster mother died, and the boy learned that she was not his real mother.

The same year, Albert was converted by the preaching of Dr. Richard Venting, a Baptist minister from England who was the pastor of First Baptist Church, Council Bluffs, Iowa. Afterward, Albert felt called to preach the Gospel, but his foster father was not favorable toward religion. In 1897 Venting adopted Albert. After graduating from high school in Council Bluffs, Albert attended William Jewel College in Liberty, Missouri (1899–1901). The pastor wanted his adopted son to experience the English education he had received, so in 1901 Albert moved to England, where he attended Harley College in London (1901–03) and Mansfield College, Oxford (1904). Albert Venting came to Texas in 1908 as pastor of East Henderson Baptist Church in Cleburne. In 1916 he entered Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he received a Th.M. degree (1920), a Th.D. (1924), and a B.Mus. (1931).

Venting was trained as a violinist very early in life; his foster father was a member of the Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of New York. Albert was playing violin at age five and at age twelve was going with his foster father to orchestra practice. However, after his conversion, his training took him in the direction of religion and philosophy. He became a Baptist minister in 1900 and continued as such, at least part-time, until his death. He also taught religion and philosophy classes at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary from 1921 to 1937. His love for music and musical training was evident there, as one of his most popular courses was "Religion and the Fine Arts." He also influenced I. E. Reynolds, the dean of the music school at Southwestern. Venting introduced many of the songs from English hymnody to Reynolds. He was also instrumental in the change of name of the music school at Southwestern from School of Gospel Music to School of Sacred Music.

Concurrent with his teaching at Southwestern Seminary, Venting also pastored several churches: Seminary Hill Baptist Church in Fort Worth (now Gambrell Street Baptist Church), 1923; Tabernacle Baptist Church in Fort Worth, 1929–31; and First Baptist Church in Cleburne, 1933–47. Later, he quit pastoring in an official capacity, but taught a "Business Men's Bible Class" at Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth (1952–65), where he influenced the lives of many influential business leaders. In 1952, after Venting retired, Baylor University in Waco asked him to form a Department of Sacred Music within the School of Music. He remained on its faculty until his death on June 13, 1965, of heart disease. His funeral was held on June 15, 1965, at Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth. He was buried in Cleburne.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Fort Worth Star–Telegram, June 14, 1965. Enid E. Markham, "A Lonesome Place Against the Sky," Baylor Line, July–August, 1965. William J. Reynolds, The Cross & the Lyre: The Story of the School of Church Music, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas (Fort Worth: School of Church Music, SWBTS, 1994). Vertical File, Archives and Special Collections Department, Roberts Library, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth.

Michael Pullin

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Michael Pullin, "VENTING, ALBERT SOBIESKI," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fve20), accessed April 18, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on December 7, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.