Originally, I didn’t want an “About the artist” page on my website. A part of that thinking was associated with my natural tendency toward privacy; but most of it has to do with this album project. I want this website to focus on the music I've loved to make for most of my life - the hymns of the Church, the songs I've written, my passion for them - and not on me. In the genre of classical music, the persona of the performer is of relatively little import. Listening to the music, and the performance of it, reigns supreme – not so in the rest of the musical world. Pop culture, and the media coverage of it, has made the personality of the musician almost as important as the music itself. I’d like to think that listening to new music doesn't require “knowing” the musician that created it; but that is changing. So, here I am, in a nutshell: a gay Christian citizen of the United States of America – NOT AFRAID to be gay, NOT AFRAID to be Christian, NOT AFRAID to be American! Most especially, I’m NOT AFRAID of fundamentalist extremists of ANY religion – Islam, Judaism, Christianity, etc. I pray that God's boundless love and His infinite mercy shall prevail against all religious extremists and their oppressive, hate-filled, self-serving agendas.

In particular … I was born into a Christian home and baptized as an infant, then confirmed as a teenager in a Presbyterian congregation. In college I avoided church like the plague. At the age of 21, I had a conversion experience which led me to join an Episcopal congregation that was involved in the lay-witness movement of the ‘60's and ‘70's. Ten years later, I left the Church when my personal integrity required that I make that choice, rather than acquiesce to a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding my homosexuality. After 2 years of exploring my sexuality as a gay man, I overheard a guy several barstools down from where I sat celebrating my thirty-third birthday. He was talking enthusiastically about his church. Holy Spirit raised me up off my seat; and I introduced myself. To draw this part of my story to a closing point, my partner and I have been committed to an exclusive, loving relationship since 1980 - we married in 2013. I was also a member of his Lutheran congregation for 25 of those years. For several years after that, I was a member of a UCC congregation, then St. Brendan's Celtic Community, a progressive Celtic Christian community. Now I'm attending services of another Lutheran congregation.

OK, what kind of musician am I? You may have already learned some of that on the “About the music” page. I consider myself a consummate listener, rather than a consummate player, and have been since childhood. I began piano lessons at the age of five. By age 6 or 7, my piano teacher began giving me ear-training. That proved to be a real awakening for me, and has served me well to this day. In high school, I decided I wanted to play what was then called “popular music”. My piano teacher, bless her soul, considered any music that was outside of classical or religious to be an abomination. So, I discontinued formal training, bought 3 huge fakebooks full of standards and Top-40's and taught myself to recognize chord symbols and play from the charts, using my ear-training. Several years later, I began to employ and further develop my musical ear, when I volunteered to play piano with a small ensemble in my Episcopal congregation. We began accompanying a Sunday morning folk mass and expanded to be house musicians for 9 years in a ‘70's-style Christian coffeehouse ministry on Sunday nights. During my “coffeehouse years”, a singer/guitarist I met there formed a musical duo with me. For 8 years, we played the small club and restaurant venue, either as a duo, a trio or a 4-piece cover band. Finally, I had my fill of that scene and stopped playing music professionally. Not too long after becoming a Lutheran in 1980, I began playing keyboards in my congregation’s contemporary worship ensemble and accompanied the early Sunday worship service twice a month for many years. Throughout all that time of playing as a volunteer church musician and as a professional, I relied on, and continue to develop, my gift for listening ~ listening to the music around me from other musicians, past and present, and listening to the music which comes from within. I couldn’t begin to imagine my life without the ability to hear music.


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