Music has been – and continues to be – an important part of my life. With Mom’s encouragement, I started playing piano when I was 7 and then joined the school band in junior high school. She also got me playing organ for church services when I was in high school. Since then, I’ve been involved with church music, in some form or another, just about all the time. I played the organ for the student chapel and a nearby congregation while I attended college getting my degree in civil engineering. Singing with or directing the vocal choir, or playing organ for worship services, or directing the handbell choir have been my volunteer activities with church music ever since college. My wife and I met while singing Christmas Carols on the Riverwalk in San Antonio; she also was involved in school and church music during her childhood and teenage years. So when our son was born, he was exposed to lots of music in our home, at church, and many other places. We strongly encouraged him to be involved in music. He studied music in college, with piano being his main instrument.
My “daydream” has been, for a long time, to retire from my engineering day job and be on staff with a church so I could be more involved with their music program. In 2006, a part of that dream came true as I accepted a very part-time staff position at Lutheran Church of Prayer in Bakersfield, California as the Handbell Choir Director. And in September 2012, I also took the position of Organist / Choir Accompanist. This level of involvement was challenging – I still had my engineering day job – but it brings me great satisfaction! Being able to help lead our congregation’s worship of God is truly an honor!
UPDATE May 5, 2015 – Since the first of September 2014, I have been “living the full daydream”! I accepted the position of Music Director with Faith Lutheran Church in Stephenville, Texas. Moving back to our home state of Texas has been a great experience for my wife and me. We are much closer to her family in Houston and to my parents in Georgetown, but we are now very far from our son who is still in California. This part time job in church music ministry has been very exciting and fulfilling – assisting in the planning of our worship services, playing organ / piano for worship services, directing the adult vocal choir, teaching music to some of the children, playing piano for the day school’s weekly chapel services, working with other instrumentalists to include them in music of the church. The only downside is since we do not have a handbell choir, I have not been preparing arrangements of hymns. But that should be changing soon as we have started an adult chime choir; as their skills improve, I hope to be preparing arrangements for them that could also be used by handbell choirs. So I’m now looking forward to many years of serving in a much more active role of planning and leading congregational worship of our Lord God!