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Sep 9 / admin

Announcing New Choir Director and Organist

Dear Members and Friends of First Parish Church, Congregational, UCC–

The Music Committee is pleased to announce the happy news that we have found a new Director of Music and Organist!  We look forward to introducing him to the congregation on his first Sunday with us, which will be October 6th.  In the meantime, we want to let you know a little bit about him, so that you can begin to understand why he was our unanimous choice for this position.  First, let me share his picture and bio with you:

Herman Weiss is an internationally renowned composer, conductor, organist and pianist. Dr. Weiss is co-founder of two chamber music societies and created a Master of Music program in composition at the Longy School of Music, where he chaired the department of composition for twelve years. Formerly president and founding member of the Composers in Red Sneakers, he most recently served as organist-choir director for the Village Church of Nahant and, with Marsha Johnson, is a part of the Dreamsong Duo.

As you can imagine from the short summary above, the committee was very impressed with Dr. Weiss’ education, experience, and vast array of musical talents and gifts! So, with his permission, we share with you some of the details he shared with us during the search process:

Prior to serving as Choir Director and Organist of the Village Church in Nahant, Dr. Weiss was Choir Director and Organist at Quincy Point Congregational Church in Quincy, MA, Musical Director at Temple Beth Shalom, Peabody, MA, Organist, Choir Director and Composer at Temple Isaiah, Lexington, MA, Organist and Choir Director at First Baptist Church of Medford, MA, and Organist and Choir Director at First Congregational Church of West Medford, MA. He has conducted adult and children’s choirs and also managed a bell choir.

Besides extensive experience working with churches and temples, Dr. Weiss has a PhD in music composition from Brandeis University and studied composition and organ in Paris at Conservatoire National on a Fulbright Fellowship with Olivier Messaien. He also studied composition, piano and conducting at New England Conservatory.

In his work at Longy School of Music outlined above, he created and taught curriculum for Theory and Modern American Music programs.  As a composer, Dr. Weiss has written a great range of works including solo pieces, chamber music, symphonic and choral works. As a pianist and conductor, Dr. Weiss has been a guest artist at numerous music festivals in New England.

Dr. Weiss also has a wide range of musical ability and has worked in Shakespearean theater, was involved with production of musicals including “Godspell” and “Guys and Dolls,” and worked at an improvisation type theater. He worked with a choir to perform an interesting and delightfully humorous musical setting of a weather report composed by Henry Mollicone that is called “National Weather Report.” Herman also performs as part of the DreamSong Duo with his wife, soprano Marsha Johnson.

Herman has expressed that one of the most satisfying aspects of being a church Music Director is making the worship experience in church more meaningful. He also enjoys getting people to make music together. All of this, in combination with his “big picture” thinking, contributed to our committee’s sense that Dr. Herman Weiss is exactly what our church is looking for–praise be to God!

With joy and gratitude,
Maggie Michael, on behalf of the Music Committee
(Ann Greenleaf, Lauren Gudonis, Maggie Michael, Jen Powers, and John Round) and other church leaders who participated in the search effort (Rev. Dr. Marlayna Schmidt, Interim Minister; Nancy Peterson, Moderator; Paul Knox and Rebecca Shrimpton, Section Leaders)