Some of you know by now that I’m leaving my longtime church, St. Francis Episcopal in Palos Verdes Estates, CA. I’ll be starting early next month as Minister of Music at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Corona del Mar, which is in southern Orange County near Newport Beach and Irvine. My wife and stepdaughter tell me it’s the setting for the TV show Arrested Development!
My final Sunday at St. Francis is January 5. I’ve been at this church for close to 25 years, and some of my deepest roots, musical and emotional, are there – the building with its marvelous acoustic, the people, and the South Bay area. I met my wonderful wife there, and our dear daughter, now a college freshman, wouldn’t exist if the Rector at the time, The Rev. Robert Dunn, hadn’t hired me, ‘way back in 1989!
It’s been a long and basically a good run, and I’ve had many great experiences there. But now with our daughter gone we are semi-empty nesters. It seemed time for a major church move for me, this position came up, et voila!
I am excited about it – I’ll be playing a fine organ in a fine acoustic, and directing potentially the best adult choir I’ve ever had, with four section leaders and the ability to hire other musicians, both vocal and instrumental, for occasional services (recently I went unannounced to a Lessons and Carols service there which was quite good).
There is also a bell choir, in which a former Associate at St. Francis and a longtime friend, The Rev. Dr. Barbara Stewart, is a member. They also have a children’s choir, and a Friends of Music group with an active concert series (I’m already booked for a program with a string quartet next May!). And there’s a Corona del Mar Baroque Festival I hope to get involved in.
So, I guess that’s God’s Christmas gift to me! Happy holidays to all of you!