Well over a month ago, I was put in contact with Larry Clouse (no relation to any local Clouses that we all know), who with his wife Krista and daughter Autumn moved to Fostoria a couple years ago from the East Coast, purchasing a huge, fixer-upper home. Larry took some time away from music ministry to perform professionally with his wife for numerous organizations in the Washington, D.C. area. He is looking to return to Church music, because he misses it. I've invited Larry to become our part-time Music Associate and Principal Organist/Pianist. He studied organ, piano, conducting and classical vocal training at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He comes to us with decades of work in Catholic parishes. The parish on his resumé that I recognize most is the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. (the largest church in the northern hemisphere), where he sang and played organ and directed a 100+ member children's choir. He has a long history working with children and youth choirs as a Catholic School Teacher; and many of his students have gone on to have successful music careers. He also has plenty of experience with pretty much any church ensemble, chorale, choir, or instrumental group you could imagine. From my many conversations with him, I believe he has a good understanding of the role of Sacred Music in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Larry is going to ease into the position by becoming our principal accompanist for weekend Masses. I don't want to lose the valuable ministry of Kris Rosendale and Marcie Williams who stepped in so generously as pianists after Anthony left. They will continue in the rotation. I am also appreciative for Shellie Gabel directing the choir during Holy Week and Pentecost. Finally, I am grateful for all the files Anthony organized to help us continue the music ministry in his absence.
Larry would be capable to take on pretty much anything that would enhance the experience of Mass and Sacred Music at the parish. We've discussed the possibility of continuing the children's choir that Anthony began, certainly working with the adult choir as well, perhaps putting together an octet that could offer us an experience of polyphony. I could imagine us adding the bell choir on special occasions. We have to see how things develop with this new system for providing music for the parish.
Why the new system? As I explained in a couple bulletin letters, we received only four resumés for the Pastoral Associate of Worship position. Only two of the applicants seemed to fit. Both of those resumés were excellent, as was interaction with both applicants; but we simply could not justify increasing the salary of the position so significantly to meet the needs of those applicants. It would not have been prudent for the parish. Hiring Larry as part-time Music Associate fits us well, given how things have developed since Anthony left; and it fits Larry's current situation as well.
So the current system is a bit more complex than having a full-time Pastoral Associate for Worship, but I think it is very realistic and will serve the parish quite well for years to come. The current system?: Dave Yost agreed several months ago to become our part-time Music Coordinator. This means that he helps me plan music, and he does all the administrative/musical work getting the music plans and music sheets to cantors and accompanists. He also handles copyright reporting with OneLicense for any printed programs or livestreaming. He has done this very well for the entire Easter season. The cantors schedule themselves by signing up for specific Masses on our Ministry Scheduler Pro app. Currently, I am scheduling the accompanists. Larry Clouse will now be added as our principal accompanist for weekend Masses and funerals, but he can also help us with some other endeavors, as I mentioned above. Marcie and Kris will still serve as accompanists for some Masses, and also funerals as need be. We also have the accompanists you have seen from outside of the parish who will be able to substitute as need be.
I am very grateful for all of our music ministers! I think our music at Mass has still been beautiful since Anthony left, thanks to their capable and faith-filled ministry. I am especially grateful for their patience as I have tried to organize things, always asking Jesus and Mary to guide us to the right solution. I hope everybody will continue to be generous and welcoming as we add Larry to our music ministry program.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu, Mariae et Iosephus,