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Seminary organist and adjunct professor accepts appointment in Florida

Dec 29, 2008
Dr. Thomas E. Goetz has announced his resignation as Choir Director, Organist, and Adjunct Professor of Music at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in order to accept an appointment in his home state of Florida. Goetz will serve out his tenure at the Seminary through January 31, 2009.

“Dr. Goetz has been instrumental in developing a rich, vibrant music ministry at our Seminary and for the wider Louisville community,” said Seminary President Dean K. Thompson. “Year after year, he has assembled our students, employees, faculty, and members of the community to form the Seminary Choir, which has prepared exquisite music for spiritual worship and reflection. His personal faith is at the core of his ministry in our chapel and also in his collaboration with others in creating diverse, intercultural worship experiences through music.”

Since joining the Louisville Seminary community in 1996, Goetz has presented numerous sacred musical services, including Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem, Opus 48; Handel’s Messiah; the majestic Cantata No. 4, Christ lag in Todesbanden (Christ lay in the bonds of death) by Johann Sebastian Bach; Vivaldi’s Gloria; Robert Ray’s jubilant Gospel Mass; and The Mass in G Major by Franz Schubert. The Seminary Choir and other Louisville musicians present the annual service of Lessons and Carols. This popular community event incorporates readings from the Bible, favorite carols, and songs and music from around the globe for the Advent and Christmas season. The congregation joins in singing, and members of the Seminary community participate in the leadership of the service.

“I have relished every opportunity to work with the Seminary Choir and musicians, to play the organ for chapel services and special events, and to teach men and women preparing for ministry. It has been a blessing, and an educational experience, to hear many preachers and to worship together in Caldwell Chapel,” said Goetz.

In addition to his leadership in the Seminary’s Frank H. and Fannie W. Caldwell Chapel, Goetz has served as a member of the Seminary’s adjunct faculty. Over the past 12 years, he has offered graduate-level courses in church music to students and individuals who may or may not be studying for the pastorate. His three-credit “Church Music for Pastors” course is designed to help prepare individuals for a ministry that utilizes music and worship planning. In presenting this and other courses, Goetz has hoped to cultivate students' interest in and knowledge of church music in general, with particular emphasis on congregational song. His courses have been offered generally for students in the Master of Divinity degree program; however local pastors and church musicians have also enrolled.

“We will miss Dr. Goetz’ gifts of worship leadership and his contributions to our community. With his courses in church music, Tom has ensured that our graduates have a good understanding of the role music plays in sacred worship. That has been an important contribution. His willingness to work—sometime improvise of necessity—with students and faculty as they plan weekly worship in our chapel is a testimony to his love of music and a gentle collegiality that has enriched our life together. Tom is a talented, caring, and thoughtful colleague, a real blessing to us. We wish him and Paulette well in their new place of ministry,” said Seminary Dean David Hester.

Goetz is moving to Florida to serve as Director of Music at First Presbyterian Church of Vero Beach, Fla., which he said is “an unexpected opportunity for Paulette and me to return to our roots.”

Goetz has devoted his entire career to church music. He has served churches and institutions of higher learning as a professor of music, organist, and director of music ministries. Highly ecumenical in experience, Goetz has served in Baptist, United Methodist, and Presbyterian churches since 1971, and he has taught church music courses in Kentucky, Illinois, and Florida since 1981, including twelve years in Miami. In addition to his teaching commitments at Louisville Seminary, he has directed the music programs of St. Paul United Methodist Church, Broadway Baptist Church, and most recently Second Presbyterian Church, all of which are in Louisville, Kentucky.

He earned the Doctor of Music degree at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., where he also served as organist at Alice Millar Chapel. He is active as a clinician in church music and has made presentations for the American Choral Directors Association, the American Guild of Organists, the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts, and various universities and colleges, and he has conducted numerous choir and orchestra performances throughout the U.S., Europe, and the Caribbean.

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