With the new school year (starting in one week!) comes many things to look forward to. One particularly exciting new addition this year is my appointment as Organ Scholar at Saint Mark’s Church, in Center City Philadelphia. Ever since being introduced to Anglo-Catholic liturgy at Saint Paul’s, K Street, I have been hooked on the artistry and power of the service, and (in my experience) friendly and open community that leads and enjoys it. Saint Mark’s is just that kind of parish: a friendly and very demanding church with a tradition of distinguished excellence in music and liturgy. Clara Gerdes, a colleague of mine at Curtis, will also be an Organ Scholar, and we will have Simon Thomas Jacobs, Interim Choirmaster and Organist, as our main musical mentor at Saint Mark’s. We will be learning a lot – probably more than we realize – from Simon, the clergy (who are great musicians as well), congregation, and each other, while serving as the primary liturgical and choral accompanists, working with the semi-professional (and brilliant) Parish Choir and Choristers, and helping Simon in the operations of the music program. The organ is a magnificent G. Donald Harrison Æolian-Skinner and is one of the best organs for singing I’ve heard: supportive in all of its immense and beautiful color. After being so inspired by the services at Saint Mark’s last year, I can’t wait to learn from and help be a part of this incredible tradition. I am grateful for the guidance and support that has brought me here, and that which I’m about to receive. Here’s to an exciting year of challenge and fun!
– Bryan Dunnewald, 25 August 2015