I have been Director of Music at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation for six years, directing the choir, leading the contemporary band (which I started), planning hymns, and more. This past year, my roster of private students has grown to the point where it is difficult to balance teaching, performing, and my work at Northwest. To make room for more students, we are searching for a new Director of Music, while I stay on the staff in a smaller role, leading the band and being responsible for the use and upkeep of the sound system.
The new Director of Music will lead the choir, plan Sunday morning music (except for band Sundays), and more. He will also be my supervisor. To ensure that I'm passing the choir over to a good conductor, I put myself on the music search committee. It felt a little funny searching for my new boss! At this point, the search committee has concluded the search and made a recommendation to the board. The board has approved our decision. Assuming that he accepts the position, I think we have the potential for a truly excellent new Director of Music.
With my tenure as Director of Music winding down, I'm experiencing a lot of lasts this month. A few days ago, I led my last choir rehearsal. Tomorrow is my last Sunday leading the choir. I had my last staff retreat this past week, and my last staff meeting will be this week. The following Sunday will be my last Sunday as Director of Music. I am experiencing a mix of excitement, relief, and wistfulness as these "lasts" come and go. I'll miss Wednesday choir rehearsals, but even as I let the choir go, my private teaching practice is blossoming. The scales balance.
To make for a smooth transition, I've typed up a checklist that I'll go over with the new director to help get him oriented: a tour of the music library, the choir roster, how to use the sound system, how I handled my weekly and monthly "to do's," and a few other things to help him get settled.
I'm looking forward to seeing what our new Director of Music does with the choir, I'm looking forward to focusing more on teaching, and I'm optimistic about the future of the music program at Northwest UU Congregation.
- Tom Godfrey
- Atlanta, GA, United States
- When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995, served as Director of Music at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation from 2011 to 2017, and currently serve as Contemporary Band Director at the same congregation.