I’ve always been drawn to the organ because of its technical, architectural, and tonal properties, not to mention its musical possibilities! And so it’s with lots of excitement that I announce my plans to move to California in September 2022 to pursue a career in organ building at Schoenstein & Co., where I’ll work as Assistant to Tonal Director Jack Bethards, focusing on voicing, tonal design, and client relations. Schoenstein & Co. was founded in 1877 and has built some of America’s most notable organs, including the LDS Conference Center, Salt Lake City; Saint Paul’s Parish, K Street, Washington, D.C.; and Saint James’ Church, Madison Avenue, New York. Over the years, I’ve been enjoyed working during the summer with Schoenstein at their Benicia, CA plant on a wide variety of tonal and technical projects.
Many of Schoenstein’s instruments are built to accompany liturgical music programs like ours, and I look forward to using my experience in Anglo-Catholic music, organ performance, and orchestral conducting to good use in building symphonic organs.
Of course this brings the sad news that this will be my last season at Saint Mark’s.
I am so grateful to the Saint Mark’s community for all they have given me over the past six years. They gave me the opportunity to grow as a musician and person while surrounded by supportive and friendly people. There’s nothing better than performing beautiful music with a smile! I will always remember my time at the church fondly as one of the most formative experiences of my career.
The (now three!) choirs at Saint Mark’s are made up of talented singers and wonderful people of all ages. They provide me with joy, inspiration, conducting lessons, a good laugh, and make even the most fussy accompaniment a pleasure to perform. I count my lucky stars to have worked under Fr. Sean Mullen’s strong, smart leadership in a thriving parish. His support of my career and the music program has given me a rare opportunity in church music: a chance to focus on what I love and help build programs that expand our horizons. It also allows Robert and me to work as a team, and I think we make a good one!
My heartfelt thanks go to Robert McCormick for his generous mentorship, support, and inspiration. While in high school, I wrote an essay detailing my dream to work as Robert McCormick’s Assistant Organist. Little did I know what was in store! They say you should never meet your heroes, but I’ve worked with mine since 2016 and he continues to be an exceptional colleague and friend.
I intend to continue playing and conducting, and I look forward to an exciting future ahead! Thank you to all those who have helped me along the way. Here’s to a great last season at Saint Mark’s, and a bright future at Schoenstein!
– Bryan Dunnewald, 21 October 2021