Music at St. Thomas
The music program at St. Thomas Medina has a rich history, and has been a leading program in the Diocese of Olympia and beyond. The music became known when David Locke, St. Thomas organist and choirmaster in the late 1960’s, guided the church to purchase the Metzler pipe organ from Switzerland.
In the early 1970’s, Richard Proulx was hired at St. Thomas to build a renowned music program, and it was at this time section leaders were hired and the expansion of the choristers program evolved. A concert series was developed under Proulx’s leadership, and the choir and organ were featured in the 1978 National Convention of the American Guild of Organists. Richard Proulx had a tenure of ten years, and in 1980 became director of music at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. Well-known church musician and composer Dent Davidson, a son of St. Thomas Church, succeeded Proulx and continued to grow the music program, beginning to include world music and sacred music from the jazz tradition.
David White, now organist and choirmaster at Church of the Ascension in Chicago, began at St. Thomas in the mid 1990’s and began the Evensong Choir. He led the choir on their first tour of England, singing at St. Alban’s Cathedral.
Charles Rus, now organist and choirmaster at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, came to St. Thomas in 2006. Originally from San Francisco, Charles was the organist for the San Francisco Symphony as well as organist and choirmaster at All Saints Episcopal. Charles brought to St. Thomas much creativity in the liturgies, and expanded the New Years Eve concerts. An Eastman School of Music graduate, he played a vast amount of organ repertoire.
In 2016, Douglas Cleveland was hired and under his leadership, the choir program has been in residency at Gloucester Cathedral, singing daily Evensongs and leading the Eucharist on Sunday morning.
ST. THOMAS CHOIR
The St. Thomas Adult Choir is the primary choir of the parish, and is comprised of both professional and amateur singers of all ages who can read music. The choir leads the singing and other liturgical aspects of the 10:00am Eucharist each Sunday, plus occasional services such as Ash Wednesday, the many Holy Week liturgies, the Christmas Eve services, and the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. The choir also sings for Evensong services once a month. Music at the Sunday services typically includes two anthems, plus leadership in a psalm, hymns and service music.
Rehearsals take place on Wednesday evenings from 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM. The finest repertoire is sung from the last five hundred years of choral composition around the world, as well as world music. The choir currently has 35 members and meets September through May. The choir traveled to England to be in residency at St. Alban’s Cathedral in 1997 and Gloucester Cathedral in 2019.
The Chorister program is for singers in grades 1 through 8. The Choristers learn to read music and practice proper technique for healthy vocal development. Currently, the Choristers sing once a month in the 10:00 AM service, and many times join the St. Thomas Choir to sing the great music of the Anglican tradition.
The Choristers have over 40 members and are directed by Jacki Sullivan, Director of Music at St. Thomas School. Rehearsals take place on Wednesday evening from 5:30 to 6:30pm in the Music Room. St. Thomas is a member of the Royal School of Church Music, and we use its curriculum Voices for Life, which gives children and youth a strong background in sight singing, vocal techniques and special choral repertoire suitable for liturgical worship. The Choristers have sung at Benaroya Hall, joining the Canadian group The Three Tenors.