Reflections on Being Interim Director of Music
Interim Director of Music and Arts
August 2016–January 2018
Over the last few weeks, I have been reflecting on my experience as Interim Director of Music and Arts at Pinnacle this past year and a half. From the start, I made it very clear that I was only willing to steward Pinnacle’s music program until a new, permanent Director of Music was found. Nonetheless, it has been an undeniable pleasure to lead the music ministries during this time of transition.
Pinnacle Presbyterian is richly blessed in music ministries. With nine singing and ringing ensembles, there is something for everyone! The four children’s ensembles and three youth groups, under the direction of Brandon Burns, Katherine Talley, and Sonja Branch, cheered our hearts as they sang and rang and drummed for Martin Luther King Sunday, Haiti Sunday, Ash Wednesday, Children’s Appreciation Sunday, Youth Sundays, Children’s Sabbath, Children’s Christmas Pageant, Christmas Caroling at Vi, Christmas Eve, and other regular worship services.
My Pinnacle Pealers’ adult handbell ensemble provided reverberant, ringing melodies for Holy Thursday and Palm Sunday, as well as in regular Sunday worship services and for the annual “Celebration of Christmas” concerts. The workhorse of worship-leading — the adult Chancel Choir — presented sonorous and heart-felt song in weekly Sunday morning worship; for special musical presentations; for Christmas Eve and Easter services; and at weekly Wednesday evening and extra Saturday-morning rehearsals. In Spring 2017, Chancel Choir presented the West Coast premiere of Dr. Timothy Sharp’s “Come Away to the Skies: A High Lonesome Mass.” At Christmastide, the Chancel Choir shouldered the greatest musical responsibility in presenting Pinnacle’s most visible musical outreach event, the fourteenth (2016) and fifteenth (2017) annual “Celebration of Christmas.”
It is now eighteen months since I first was encouraged to apply for the Interim Position of Music and Arts at Pinnacle. The time has flown by, with my planning, leading, and/or participating in almost one hundred worship services; ten vespers services; two ecumenical Thanksgiving worship services; two glorious “Celebration of Christmas” concerts; and one "toe-tappin,’ foot stompin’" spring major work. The two adult ensembles under my direction performed more than one hundred pieces of music; and I learned and played some ninety pieces on the piano. Transition can be a rocky road at times – obviously, there was a LOT for me to learn and negotiate during these short months – but joy-filled spirit and love was the constant.
When I was first hired, I wrote a blog about “The Blessedness of Change.” These words from that blog are apropos at this time of closure:
As a musician and professor, resilience and change have been constants in my career work over the past forty years. By necessity of my calling, I have had to embrace change; indeed, the rhythm of my life has been motivated by change. Music constantly unfolds and surprises with its changes of rhythm, melodic patterns, instruments, and harmonies. With each new measure of music, there is new opportunity for change. Throughout the centuries, every musician strove to honor voices of the past while at once forging a new musical identity for his or her own voice. Music is change. Change is life. Life is change.
Change was then, and – once again – change is now. Thank you for all the support, encouragement, and love you have shown me during my time here at Pinnacle Presbyterian. I trust that you will do the same – and more – for my now dear friend and colleague Mr. David Allen, who will so ably represent Pinnacle in the coming years in his role as permanent Director of Ministries in Music and Arts I pass the baton to him with great gladness and joy, secure in the knowledge that you all will be very well served.
I am genuinely overwhelmed with deep gratitude as I write this, my final blog. I will treasure forever my tenure here. Please know that I have nothing but love in my heart for all of you.
“May the road rise to meet you,
may the wind be always at your back . . .
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”
In deep appreciation,