Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church

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Clergy Corner

Music at HI

  • The Rev. Dr. Bill Murray
  • Aug 08, 2018
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In every church I have ever served, music is a subject that can spark some quick and heated debates. Some folks want moving, soaring, technically proficient performances of the highest choral tradition. Other folks prefer songs from the old Methodist or Baptist hymnal sung with piano and guitar. Still other folks love a band with contemporary Christian songs and the proverbial wall of sound. I am sure it will be no surprise to hear that conversations around music tend to be some of the first ones to reach my ears. Thankfully the anger has subsided but wounded hearts and concerns for the future now come to the fore.

In speaking with several consultants for music searches, they all recommended the same thing. After a 30 year tenure, the church needs an interim, healing season for the music department. There is no judgment on what has come before or what happened. The recommendation is sound- any church needs to have a year of transition to prepare for the next musician.

With all of that in mind, I am incredibly pleased to announce that we signed a contract with our Interim Organist and Choirmaster Randy Romig to stay through May 2019. This will give Holy Innocents a full year to think, pray, and sing our way into a healthy, hopeful, and joyful approach to our next Organist and Choirmaster. I am also pleased to announce that our new Leader of Children’s Choirs will be Adrin Akins. Adrin is one of our current paid singers who leads children’s choirs as his full-time job as the Music Teacher at Atlanta Speech School. Our hope was to extend the contract of Suzanne Logue in the role of Leader of Children’s Choirs, but she formally resigned from the position citing increased work at her school and the impending sale and move from her current home.

The Vestry and Staff and I are all excited about the gifts and talents that Randy and Adrin will bring to our programs this year. They are energetic and joyful men who will provide a steady hand for our music department. Please join me in welcoming and celebrating them both for their many gifts and their dedication to Holy Innocents.

Comments (9)

Robin Whitaker on Aug 9, 2018 6:03pm

Thanks for the update and the reason behind the decision. It is nice to have a picture of where we are heading. We got hand bells you know .... I bet that would be a nice cross generational activity for the musically challenged.

Phyliss Brassey on Aug 10, 2018 11:53am

Hand Bells are nice. So are the hymns most of us (originally not Epicopalians)grew up with. We've heard some of those recently and it is a freeing, joyful feeling. Also,some of the choral as well. Perhaps just not one type but all types. Glad to know where we are headed.

Betty Barstow on Aug 10, 2018 11:53am

You go, Robin!

Mary Vaughan on Aug 10, 2018 12:46pm

Robin: I played in a hand bell group at COA and the time that the group had together meant a lot to me. There were times we laughed and others that we wanted to scream because none of us were "pro."!

Carolyn Dwyer on Aug 11, 2018 6:10am

I’m not sure how you determined that “the anger has subsided” because it is still very real to those of us who were directly affected by the decision of a poorly informed and under-handed interim to remove one of the best choirmasters in the U.S. We are still reeling from the lies that we and the congregation were told by the senior warden. Have you bothered to reach out in person to any of us? To find out why it sickens our souls to even think about stepping foot into HIEC? I dare you to grace one of our weekly get-togethers. Be ready for an earful!

J Bart Miller on Aug 11, 2018 1:47pm

I admire your taking this issue on.

Anne Sullivan on Aug 11, 2018 9:06pm

Thank you for being a calming influence during these days.

Betsy Donnelly on Aug 13, 2018 3:42pm

The anger simmers and the hurt still runs deep for many of us, although my family decided to remain at Holy Innocents through this transition. I've taken a much needed respite this summer, so that my head and heart will be clearer upon return. Regarding handbells--there were two handbell choirs many years ago. One was purely fun for some of the retired members of the parish. Their music was just lovely. We had another group comprising several members of the choir and other serious musicians. Sadly both groups disbanded because we simply didn't have enough interested folk to keep them going. I can think of only one other person left in the parish, besides myself, who were members of either group.

Bill Murray on Aug 16, 2018 3:14pm

Betsy and Carolyn, I understand that the anger still simmers and hurt runs deep. I would be very willing to sit down and listen. That would include coming to the Thursday night dinner. I do not know all that happened but I believe the church's call is to reconciliation. It is not likely to happen in one conversation but I believe we need to start where we are. I will reach out via email as well. Blessing to you all