Last Sunday, on behalf of the Music Director Search Committee, Gordon Hardy gave us an update on the process of finding a new leader. Here are his remarks:
Today I’d like to bring you up to date on the music director search process. As you
know, in the fall Program Council formed a search committee, designed to
represent all constituencies across our music programs and all of Follen. We
asked people to self-nominate or nominate others. The nominations resulted in a
committee of: Melissa Howe Raberg, Nick Hart, Amy Horsburgh, Kate Bromley,
Karen Gray Carruthers, and me.
In December Claire and the committee wrote a job description and posted the job
in many venues. Claire also consulted with fellow ministers who had been
through a music director search process. We then compiled and issued a
congregation-wide questionnaire. 173 of you filled it out – an amazing number –
and we then held listening sessions with the Senior Choir and the congregation as
a whole to get more feedback. We also spoke with our soloists, accompanist
Shaylor Lindsey, and others who have been involved in music here.
During the process we received approximately 60 applications. After review, we
followed up with 12 preliminary phone interviews; five in-person interviews with
the committee; and three finalists. In the past three weeks each of the finalists
has met one-on-one with Claire, and guest-conducted the junior, youth and
senior choirs. The choirs’ valuable feedback was recorded and is with the
committee now. Over the next few days or weeks we will review all the input
we’ve gotten, and make a recommendation to Claire. As leader of our staff and
our worship experience, the final decision will rest with her.
We on the committee feel very fortunate to have arrived at this point. Each of the
three finalists has strengths and ways that they match with Follen – and also ways
in which they will want to learn and grow with us. Each of them is a good fit for all
of Follen, not just one constituency. Each of them will also call on us to learn and
grow – by listening to them, being in relationship with them, and trying new ways
of experiencing music in worship.
We are very excited by the candidates we have. All of us are a little sad, too,
because it makes Thomas and Holly’s departure a little more real to us. Let’s face
it: we all love Thomas and Holly, and their successor has big shoes to fill (or clogs,
in Thomas’s case). This transition is going to take a lot of commitment from all of
us. But the committee is confident all of our candidates are eminently capable of
building a great music program, carrying out Thomas and Holly’s work – and
building a meaningful, warm relationship with all people of all ages, from all
corners of Follen.
So: we on the committee thank you for your input, and look forward to
introducing you to the new Follen music director very soon.