I've been making music in church as long as I can remember. As a matter of fact, the reason my parents signed me up for piano lessons when I was seven was because I would come home from church and plunk out the melodies of the hymns I had just heard. When I was in the sixth grade my aunt, who had been our church's organist for years, retired and there was no one in our small country church to take her place. So I quickly turned my attention to the organ. And the rest is history.
When I was in high school, my dad came up with the brilliant idea that I should market myself to area churches as a summertime substitute. So I sent letters to every church in town advertising my services. As a result, I had a steady stream of summer gigs over those years...one month with the Methodists, one month with the Lutherans, and one month with the Episcopalians. I continued to play for our Evangelical church during the school year, as well as the Seventh Day Baptist church on Saturday mornings for a little extra spending money. Needless to say, I know my way around many hymnals and feel at home in almost any church setting.
Somewhere along the way, I fell in love with the Roman Catholic liturgy and, in my early twenties, became Catholic myself. For almost twenty years, I served as Music and Liturgy Director in a variety of Catholic parishes. (You can find my resume here.) Currently I am the Director of Music Ministries/Associate Director of Worship at Winnetka Presbyterian Church (Winnetka, IL).
I am originally from Centralia, WA, a small town about 90 miles south of Seattle. A week after I graduated high school, I got on a plane (my first flight ever!) and flew to Singapore, where I spent a summer with family friends who were missionaries in that country. My experiences of church life in Singapore and Malaysia left a lasting impression on me, and I'm sure that is why, to this day, I continue to be passionate about including music from every part of the globe in my worship planning. Over the years, I have been fortunate to serve in congregations with large Filipino, Samoan, African American, Indian, and West African communities, as well as parishes that are predominately Anglo-European.
About ten years ago, I moved to Chicago, where my musical horizons have only continued to expand. I had the privilege of being the last music director to direct music in the historic St. James Church building in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago before it was torn down. I have also played with some outstanding jazz musicians in the city. And I have served on the board of Windy City Performing Arts, an incredible choral arts organization committed to fostering diversity and understanding between the LGBT community and their allies.
When I am not making music, I am an avid reader, an amateur icon painter (I know...technically you "write" an icon), and a great cook! I enjoy living just down the street from Lake Michigan, where I go frequently to drink my coffee and be inspired by its beauty. I love to travel, having recently returned from a trip to Rome, Assisi, and Venice...talk about some magnificent churches and music!
I hope you'll take some time to explore my website. I would love to talk with you about ways we might partner together to help your congregation create more meaningful worship. Here's how you can contact me.