July 1 was my fifth anniversary as Director of Music Ministries at St. George’s. When I arrived here in 2005, there was one adult choir that sang at the one Eucharist with music, a small children’s choir that performed occasionally and a Handbell choir that performed once a month. I had a mandate from the Vestry to add a second service with music, the only requirement being that I not use the organ for the new service.
Here’s where we are now, five years later: 3 Eucharists with music, three adult choirs, two of which perform weekly, a growing children’s choir that performs monthly, a 10 piece Jazz ensemble and 7 piece chamber ensemble that perform weekly, a Celtic ensemble that performs weekly and a Handbell choir that performs weekly at alternate services. In addition, over the past year alone, we offered free monthly Jazz and Chamber Music Concerts to the community, birthed a Chamber Orchestra, acquired a 2 manual harpsichord and hosted several nationally known choirs and ensembles.
We’ve added a part time music position and increased our volunteer music leadership by providing continuing education opportunities. As we speak, our new pipe organ is nearing completion and I get regular inquiries for info about joining our music program.
All of this growth occurred despite being without our worship space and organ for a substantial period of time. We at St. George’s have been truly blessed in our musical endeavors, a blessing that reaches out to others. Consider this quote from a visitor : ,”They must all be professionals down from DC, maybe members of the Symphony…the clarinetist was extremely good… the piano player was great… the cantor was excellent.”
And this one from a regular attendee: “The prelude sounded like a recording! It was so beautiful.”
I’m extremely proud of and grateful to all the musicians in our choral and instrumental programs, who selflessly donate their time and talents to enhance our worship. Working with these people is a gift that keeps on giving. Onward and upward…..