This year is a big milestone for me, having completed twenty-five years as Director of Music at Trinity Cathedral in Sacramento. I was looking back at all that has happened over the years. I calculate that I have participated in over three-thousand Sunday services, close to a hundred Christmas services, twenty-six “Kirkin of the Tartan” services, five tours of England and much more. I’ve worked for three Deans and three interim Deans… and three Bishops.
When I arrived at Trinity in January 0f 1985, there was a small adult choir of about twelve members, and a small Children’s choir. Over the years the program has grown to include five singing choirs plus handbell ringers. We have hundreds of people sing in our choirs, many styles and genres. We’ve had many wonderful highs, and struggled through the occasional lows as well.
One of the most exciting parts of our history, has been the opportunity to take the Cathedral Choir to England, to sing in the great Cathedrals. Daily Choral Evensong is one of the venerable music traditions in England. Their resident choirs usually take a couple of months off during the summer months, and invite visiting choirs to sing in their stead.
Our first tour was in 1990, as we were “in residence” at Wells, Chichester, and Salisbury Cathedrals. This was a huge stretch for the Cathedral Choir. Having to sing 13 services of Choral Evensong, plus Matins and Eucharist on Sunday mornings was a massive musical undertaking. But as we sang our final evensong at Salisbury Cathedral, I knew we’d opened a new chapter in our musical life. Subsequent tours in 1993, 1997, 2000, and 2003, have had us singing in Cathedrals at Winchester, Lincoln, Canterbury, Norwich, Truro, Peterborough, and York Minster. Our last tour finished with a spectacular Evensong at Westminster Abbey. What a privilege it has been to sing daily services in these ancient and beautiful places.
I have been assisted in this wonderful journey by many talented people: singers, musicians, clergy, lay people, seminarians (including our current Presiding Bishop!). Each has contributed something wonderful to this time at the Cathedral, and I have developed friendships which are supremely important to me. I am grateful for everyone’s patience as I tried new and unusual things… many of which have worked beyond our wildest imagination… and occasionally some things that just didn’t work. I am grateful to my choir singers who’ve let me experiment with them, challenge them to do things that seemed beyond their capability, and put up with my weird sense of humor.
I was privileged to have a sabbatical in the summer of 2004. Having decided to do something completely unrelated to my work, I had the opportunity to climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. What a trip!
And to the congregation and leadership of Trinity Cathedral, for your unflagging support and good words I am sometimes speechless. What a amazing community to be a part of.
I am grateful too, for my wonderful family. They put up with a lot… weird work hours, holidays spent away from them at work, and countless distractions. To my beautiful wife and daughters, thank you. I love you more than you can know.
Lastly, I am grateful to our Creator for giving me the opportunity to do this for a living. I am thankful for it each and every day, and look forward to many more years.
Thank you, and blessings to all of you, my friends.