First Baptist Church is a place where individuals respond to the word of scripture and seek their own interpretation. Where Separation of Church and State and religious liberty are taken very seriously. Where we hold our Baptist beliefs with deep conviction but we hold them in modesty.
» Called and Chosen, Staff Profiles: Louise Avant
She was born into First Baptist Austin when Carlyle Marney was senior pastor and returned as the music minister interim in 1994, under Browning Ware. Louise was instated as full-time Minister of Music in May of 1995, near the end of his tenure. Just as she was brought-up in the graded choir program under Bob and Millie Downer, Louise raised her own children at First Austin. She feels that being a parent was the most exciting and important job in her life but she is most thrilled about her new career opportunity of becoming a grandmother. No doubt that baby girl Gilligan will join the First Austin choirs as well!
At eighteen, Louise was hired by Bob Downer to serve as the Assistant Organist for First Austin. She was already a gifted pianist but had never played the organ. Bob saw a desire to learn, had faith in her abilities and ultimately guided the course of her life into church music. Louise was a charter member of the Young Womens' Ensemble, created in 1976 by Millie Downer, later changing their name to the Cantamos we know today. Both of the Downers have guided and supported Louise's growth as a musician and person throughout her life.
Another pivotal experience as a teenager that further added to Louise’s love of sacred choral music was attending the Westminster Choir College 2-week summer program. While there, she took classes in voice, theory, conducting, handbells and chorus; realizing a deep passion for all things music. The opportunity to attend a summer vocal camp is still open to the youth of First Austin, through the generous support of the Living Music Scholarship Fund.
Louise loves chocolate, Starbucks, her family, and the people of this church who have inspired her gifts and assisted in creating one of the strongest church music programs in the city.Through her dedicated work, the First Austin Sanctuary Choir was invited to sing the Mozart Requiem with the Austin Ballet for their “Wall of Names” program in 1999 and 2001.Louise was honored to direct both choir and orchestra for this unforgettable event at Bass Concert Hall. She looks forward to the future and her continued efforts in producing a heightened worship experience through music.