October 2, 2017

Music Ministry: A Tribute

At my home parish, St. Augustine Episcopal Church, Asbury Park, New Jersey, we have been truly blessed to have a Music Director, Gladstone Trott, who began with the church as a child prodigy at age 13 and remained for over 45 years until his recent death after a long illness.

As a tribute to Gladstone’s long tenure there are many wonderful behaviors he practiced that congregations can embrace to ensure a successful music ministry. They are as follows:

  • He continuously invited people to join the choir, he did not see the choir as a special club of trained voices but instead invited all who were interested to participate regardless of their vocal skills and worked effectively to blend their voices
  • He believed different forms of music could enhance a service and introduced classical, gospel, jazz, Caribbean etc. styles to our worship experience
  • He asked the congregation for suggestions about their favorite hymns and found a way to include them in the services over time
  • He was open to suggestions about adding new hymns. When I attended a conference and came back with a new hymn, he eagerly explored and added to the choir’s repertoire
  • He was open to feedback, if a hymn was difficult to sing we felt comfortable going to him after the service and letting him know that it did not work, and conversely heaped praises when a hymn worked well
  • He also provided one-on-one tutoring if requested to anyone even if not a choir member to sing a hymn better. He would at times rehearse the congregation before the service started if a new hymn was introduced
  • He was very connected to the local and diocesan community, offering his talents and those of colleague musicians to organize special services at the cathedral or at community events
  • He mentored and trained young musicians

We are very thankful for the life and ministry of Gladstone Trott, may he rest in peace and rise in glory!