by The Rev. Dr. Stuart Baskin
It has been a long journey since Donald Duncan announced his departure. It has been some 16 months since he left us for South Carolina. In the interim, we’ve had music leadership from a number of excellent sources, notably Lee Kohlenberg, and most recently Ruth Hardy and Guinette Tell.
Now it’s time to welcome Weston Jennings, our new Director of Music and Organist.
Weston comes to us from Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music, an interdisciplinary program combining faculty from Yale’s School of Music and Yale Divinity School. He received his college education at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, one of the world’s premier music schools, where he began his study of organ in earnest.
Weston’s journey to our organ bench is fascinating, and he’ll have a chance to tell us more himself, but to make a long story short, he grew up in a Methodist church in Virginia that did not have an organ. As a result, he had little exposure to organs growing up. It wasn’t until he attended summer camp in high school at Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan that he played organ for the first time. It was love at first sight.
Since that summer, Weston’s love of music, and of the organ in particular, has become his life’s passion. After college, he spent two years in England playing organ, first at Canterbury Cathedral and then at the Cathedral Church of St. Mary, St. Peter, and St. Cedd in Chelmsford. In those positions, he played for church services almost daily.
Weston is also a fine choral conductor, having learned at the feet of some of the very best.
Weston’s first Sunday with us is August 13. Following the 11 am service, the congregation is invited to greet him at a tea in his honor in the Fellowship Hall.