Last November marked thirty years since I played my first service at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Sacramento. The fact that I am still here after thirty years is certainly mind-boggling. At the time I thought, “I’ll put in a few years, and then move on to a church with a better budget, and a bigger pipe organ.” But, when one finds a good “fit,” it makes it difficult to move on. As I am turning sixty this year, I realized that I have spent half of my life here!
When I arrived at Trinity those many years ago, 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 four singing choirs plus handbell ringers. We have had hundreds of people of wildly varying levels of ability sing in our choirs . We’ve had many wonderful highs, and struggled through the occasional lows as well.
I have been assisted in this wonderful journey by many talented people: singers, musicians, clergy, lay people, seminarians (including our outgoing 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 at all. I am grateful to the musicians who have let me experiment with them, challenge them to do things that seemed beyond their capability, and put up with my weird sense of humor. And mostly I am thankful for everyone’s willingness to work so hard to bring music to life in our worship. It is truly an amazing thing to be able to make a living doing this work which I love.
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 on five different occasions. Daily Choral Evensong is one of the venerable music traditions in England, and their resident choirs usually take a couple of months off during the summer months, so invite visiting choirs to sing in their stead. The challenge of these tours is tremendous, and the choir has experienced wonderful growth in the process.
I was privileged to have my first 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, the highest peak in Africa. I am looking forward to another sabbatical this summer… this time of rest and re-creation is vital to my ministry at the Cathedral. You’ll hear more details of my plans as we get closer to the time.
Finally, I am grateful for my wonderful family. They put up with a lot… weird hours, holidays spent away from them at work, and countless distractions. To my beautiful wife JoAnn, and lovely daughters, thank you. I love you more than you can know.
Please join me in a celebration of thirty years of music making on Friday, May 29th at 7:00 pm, at Trinity Cathedral, 2620 Capitol Avenue at 27th Street. There will be music, refreshments, and general merriment, and I would love it if you could come!