Monday, January 18, 2016


Yesterday one of my College Church interns -- an active blogger, widely read, much discussed, often misunderstood, sometimes vilifiled -- re-posted something I wrote here in 2013. That re-posting will probably be read more than my whole blog history!

Which is one of my great joys. Jonathan Aigner, at Ponder Anew, is just one of a long list of interns that have gone on to have significant -- and growing -- impact in their spheres. They are making an impact on this profession in ways that I could never dream of having myself. If they are kind enough to consider their internship significant in any way, let it be known that they each brought their gifts into the experience. My job was simply to not interfere with those gifts!

A quick review of those delights:

Andy Bruhn was in the last class of the Luther Seminary/St. Olaf MSM program, and is now head of choral music at Rockford (IL) Christian. He is a composer and arranger as well, with several choral publications to his credit.

Levi Henkel was a parish organist for a couple of years after graduating from Wheaton Conservatory. He is now in the MDiv program at Southern Seminary.

Levi and Andy were my last two interns, in my last year at College Church. My time with them was deeply satisfying, and as I look back on it, I realize they were God's special gift to me during a time which I did not then completely understand.

Jordan Newhouse began as an intern following his graduation (piano performance) from the Wheaton Conservatory, as he began his graduate work in Christian Formation. A semester into the internship, I took a sabbatical, and Jordan came on staff to cover the evening services. When I returned, we continued as colleagues. What a gift to me! Jordan took a position of growing responsibility at another church in the area.

Michael Devine is also a graduate of the Luther/St Olaf MSM program. He is music director at Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church, and artistic director of Choral Arts of Chattanooga. Michael is probably the most-networked church musician I know.

David Doty came back to College Church, where he had been an undergrad, after finishing a grad degree in composition. He helped me in a variety of ways in evening services while exploring a vocation in the church. He brought with him a knack for the Celtic. He also brought along, eventually, the young woman who became his wife, Gloria. They are now in pastoral ministry in Rochester, NY.

Timothy Smile collaborated with me for Sunday evening services. An extraordinary pianist, a gentleman, and just nice to be around . . . He went on to finish a masters degree in Piano and is now -- what else? -- a medical student!

Technically, Justin Rojek was not an intern. He was a student employee helping me with concert series mamagement. But this gave us a lot of time together. A fine organist, Justin went to Emory for a grad degree in organ, took a church position in Montgomery, AL, and is now serving the country in the U. S. Army. Small world: Justin's ministry circle intersected with Michael Devine's; and members of his church are relatives of Andy Bruhn.

Jonathan Aigner is working on yet another graduate degree, has taught grade school music, and is now a thriving church musician. He came to Wheaton Grad School after his degree in vocal music at Baylor.

Jeremy Selvey is my first intern to become a doctor of the choral arts. His work in choral music and higher eduction is getting recognized in several states, primarily but not exclusively with his Chorosynthesis Singers. Other interns through Moody include Darren Weibe, now a MDiv graduate of The Masters Seminary; Kirk Eichelberger, enjoying an opera career; Melissa Doussard, and Lana Norris - Lana, who was left holding the bag when I left the church just as she was beginning her internship.

Earlier Wheaton College interns were Ben Niemczyk, who is doing good work in and around New York City; Bryan Park, one of the best sight-readers I know, and an ace with hymn tune names, and singing some of the best sacred music being sung in Philadelphia; Holly (Whitehead) Watson, who was the first Sunday evening pianist intern - much needed, much appreciated, she set the bar for the instrument in that service; and Jonathan Blumhofer, now Dr. Blumhofer, composer and music critic.

I am probably missing someone. And I've done none of these interns justice with my short sentences and incomplete bios. But there they are, whose time spent with me did me more good than it did them. And whose work I love to follow.