Bobby Wiggins, Founder and Artistic Director of New Arts Cultural Society, was a native of Mansfield, Louisiana. He was a product of the Desoto Parish Schools, Southern University and the University of Texas at Austin.
Bobby’s interest in vocal performance and choral technique was awakened early in his career by Richard Condie, Director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and mentor and friend Robert Shaw. An accomplished pianist and organist, Mr. Wiggins has established himself an enviable reputation as one of the country’s finest choral directors.
He was the retired Chairman Emeritus of the Music Department at Southern University’s Shreveport Campus and Director Emeritus of Choral Music at Wiley College, Marshall, Texas. In 1995, he was honored with the “Living Legend” Award in the Humanities and Performing Arts along with John Shenaut, NACSI Board Member and Founder & Emeritus Conductor of the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra, and International Pianist Van Cliburn. Bobby was the last of those three musical giants of our fair city to pass away. Mr. Wiggins also served as musician for St. Paul United Methodist Church.
On June 13 of 2017, Mr. Wiggins went home to be with our Lord.
The following is from his memorial service program:
“To everything there is a season,— Ecclesiastes 3:1
and a time to every purpose under heaven:”
A Time to be Born…
Bobby Wiggins made his entrance into the world as the seventh child of Lawyer Pierce and Savannah Wiggins on January 9, 1936 in Mansfield, LA. His parents and his six of his seven siblings: Mary Nell, Bertha, Ollie, Archie, Otis, and James, have all preceded him in death.
A Time to Build…
After observing Bobby for the first years of his life, his mother detected that he was engrossed in anything that could make any kind of musical sound. She sacrificed and bought a piano. He promptly started playing it. When Rev. L. Flannigam first started preaching, he often asked Bobby to play and his sister Bertha to sing at some of the local churches in DeSoto Parish.
Bobby enjoyed being Minister of Music at the East Side Baptist Church and St. John Baptist Church in Mansfield, LA. In 1983, he began serving as an organist and choir director at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Shreveport, LA. Expanding the church music ministry, he became minister of music; and faithfully served the church and community for 33 years.
While in college at Southern University, he taught at The Louisiana State School for the Blind. After college, he became the band and choir director at DeSoto High School. Most of his life, he worked as the Chairman of the Music Department at the Shreveport Campus of Southern Unversity. After retiring from Southern, he went to work at Wiley College in Marshall, TX as a Choral Director.
Bobby was recognized by many for his musical talents. He performed professionally with the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra, the NAFEO (National Association for Equal Opportunity) in Washington, D.C., and at the Strand Theatre opening concert in Shreveport. He served as Chorus Master for many of their operatic productions.,
A Time to Embrace…
There are very few that are truly gifted in their chosen field. Bobby not only loved music, he wanted others to enjoy it also. His goal was to preserve and celebrate the Negro Spirituals,
He taught music with so much perfection and delight that many students were inspired by the excellence of the music — many of whom won many competitions singing the Negro Spirituals.
A Time to Plant…
In 1972, he decided to organize a community chorus as a support unity for the Festival of the Arts at Southern. This became known as The New Dimensions Choral Society under the New Arts Cultural Society, Inc. This was one of the best decisions he made in his life when he founded this group. This enabled the Negro Spiritual to stay alive in the music world. This chorus has been invited to perform at many events in many cities over the course of forty-plus years.
Many of his former students and choral members have become public school educators, college / university professors, musicians, and professional singers. Some of them have performed all over the USA as well as in other countries.
A Time to Die…
On June 13, 2017, God transitioned Bobby from time to eternity, where he will continue to direct and conduct music in and for the Kingdom.
A Time to Love
He leaves many to treasure his memory: his brother George (Dorothy); his beloved nieces Sabrina (Freddie) Scott and Tammy; nephews Joe Lee (Linda) Murray. Titus (Gloria), Bruce, and Tracy Wiggins; special cousins June and Earnestine; and other relatives and friends.