Some people are born to do a thing. From age four I knew that music would be my life. Toting my Magnus chord organ up and down Razor Drive in Greenville, SC, I gave improvised recitals to my indulgent neighbors.
Organ lessons began a few years later. I used the back of the pew in front of me to play along with the organist. Yet, it was the hymn singing that moved me most of all. For years I studied organ, then oboe and clarinet. My high school theory teacher was clairvoyant,
however; she predicted I would one day conduct.
As it happens, I had a natural affinity for the organ and pursued degrees at Baylor and Juilliard. I decided to forego a career as a recitalist after the realization that (as my high school theory teacher had predicted) I really wanted to focus my energies on conducting.
Church jobs with choirs and community college instruction were enough for a while; I wanted to teach, though, and unsuccessfully sought a suitable position. After the third go-round, I quit this country for Italy, where I studied the language and art. And, I ate.
Upon returning, I established my graphic/web design business in Greenville—an ancillary career that has served me well in every position I’ve ever held. Eventually I founded two mens’ choruses (one in Greenville and the second in Asheville, NC) and began to compose in earnest. Although I had no desire to return to New York, from the blue an old friend and former employer called to offer me an interim position at a Park Avenue church.
With its own community chorus (Central City Chorus
) and funds for musicians, I was able to expand my repertoire. Following my two-year term, I worked for a glossy magazine in New York—thinking yet again that I was finished with music.