Opening for Organist and Choirmaster, Saint James Episcopal Church, New London, CT
St. James seeks applications for the 3/8-time position (approximately 15 hours per week) of Organist and Choirmaster, particularly from musicians with a strong background in choral conducting and an understanding of the Anglican tradition, to begin January 1, 2017. A Masters in Music is desirable but not essential, with some previous experience in church music; salary is commensurate with experience and based on AGO guidelines.
The church maintains a strong music program, anchored by its fine organ, a 4-manual Ernest M. Skinner, Opus 220, which was built in 1914 and reconditioned in 2002. The sanctuary also holds a Mason & Hamlin piano, and the choir room is equipped with a Steinway baby grand piano. The St. James music library is extensive, having been collected over many decades, and includes access to the scores of The Anglican Singers, artists-in-residence at St. James.
The Adult Choir consists of approximately 15 dedicated choristers with extensive experience in choral singing and good sight-reading skills. Several of the choristers also sing with local auditioned groups such as The Anglican Singers and the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Chorus. Funds for four section leaders are in the budget, which is utilized at the discretion of the Organist/Choirmaster. Interest in recruiting singers for the Adult Choir, as well as developing a Children’s Choir, is highly desirable. The Choirmaster is expected to rehearse weekly with the Adult Choir (Thursday evenings, 7:30-9:00) in preparation for the 10:00 a.m. Sunday service, which follows Rite II and uses the 1982 Hymnal. He or she will also prepare the choir for special services such as Christmas Eve, Holy Week and Easter.
The Organist/Choirmaster shall have first refusal in playing for funerals, memorial services and weddings; these events are paid separately. The Organist/Choirmaster is welcome to use the organ for private lessons.
The Organist/Choirmaster will work with, and be ultimately responsible to, the Vestry and Rector. The Vestry members are strong advocates of the music program, committed to providing substantial freedom to the Organist/Choirmaster. St. James is currently carrying out a search for a new Rector; an important requirement therein is a willingness to collaborate with and support the Organist/Choirmaster. The Organist/Choirmaster is expected to interact regularly with parishioners, and attend staff meetings as well as the Church’s annual meeting.
St. James has long hosted both The Anglican Singers as guest artists-in-residence, and numerous organ recitals sponsored by the local section of the AGO; the Music on Whale Oil Row series was recently launched by the church, and it is hoped that the new Organist/Choirmaster will continue to develop this music series, which has sponsored excellent vocal and instrumental performers.
Southeastern Connecticut is rich in music, as home to Musical Masterworks, the Connecticut Early Music Festival, Salt Marsh Opera, and the Eastern Connecticut Symphony, conducted by Yale’s Toshiyuki Shimada. There are numerous local, auditioned volunteer choirs such as the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Chorus, the Mystic River Chorale and, slightly further afield, the Chorus of Westerly. Two music schools reside in Southeastern Connecticut: the Thames Valley Music School, on the campus of Connecticut College in New London, and Calvary Music School in Stonington, under the direction of Joseph Ripka.
The current building housing St. James, a gem of the Gothic Revival style, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places; completed in 1850, it was designed by the renowned American architect Richard Upjohn. The building also features magnificent stained-glass windows, including six designed by the acclaimed artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany. Earlier in its history, St. James was the parish of The Right Reverend Samuel Seabury, first Episcopal bishop in America.
St. James is in an urban setting in the heart of New London, and has a deep commitment to helping the less fortunate residents of the city. In collaboration with St. Mary Star of the Sea, the church founded the Covenant Shelter in 1983 to house single adults and families. More recently, St. James dedicated part of the church building over 7 years as a homeless shelter, which relocated in 2013 to become the New London Homeless Hospitality Center.
The application deadline is September 15.
Please send cover letter and CV to:
St. James Episcopal Church
76 Federal Street
New London, CT 06320
or email to: BrightKat@snet.net