President’s Gala Speaker – Shorter University

Shorter University’s Christmas on the Hill President’s Gala will return this year as a don’t-miss event of the Christmas season. Join us for this festive evening of food, music, and fellowship celebrating the birth of Jesus and looking forward to Shorter’s promising future!

The event will be held Thursday, December 5, in the Winthrop-King Centre. Reception at 6:00 p.m. Dinner at 7:00 p.m. For tickets or sponsorship information, visit

Featured Speaker: Shorter Alumnus Cliff Duren

A 2001 graduate of Shorter, Cliff Duren is a two-time Dove Award-winning composer and arranger of musical resources for the local church. He serves as Worship Pastor at First Baptist Church, Woodstock. He also served as FBC Woodstock’s Staff Arranger from 2006 to 2012, leading worship for the contemporary service and playing piano for the blended service with choir and orchestra. From 2012 to 2019, he was Worship Pastor at the Church at Station Hill, a regional campus of Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tenn.

Cliff arranges, orchestrates, and produces music resources for various publishers while also producing various artist recordings. He is grateful for the opportunity to fulfill his passion of creating resources for the local church.

Cliff became a Christian at age 17 and soon after pursued a music education degree from Shorter University and a master’s degree in church music from Lee University. He has won two Dove Awards for his contributions to church music ministry resources. In 2014, Duren released his first instrumental record, “Tune My Heart: Hymns of Worship Featuring Piano and Orchestra. In 2016, he released a follow-up record, “Tune My Heart: Christmas.”

In March of 2002, Cliff married his college sweetheart, April. The two have been leading worship together since they were students at Shorter. The Durens have four children; Mac, Sydney, Elijah and Emma Kate.

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