By Michael Chertock
After a decade as volunteer choirmaster at St. Barnabas, Amy Hill, will be retiring from her role this June.
Amy studied music at the world-renowned Indiana University School of Music. As a member of the Singing Hoosiers, she was the student manager from 1971-1974. As an Alumna, she was the first vice president of the Indiana University Singing Hoosiers Alumni Council from 1990-1995. She received the Singing Hoosiers Distinguished Alumni Award in 1994.
From the founding of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, Amy sang in the soprano section of the Adult Choir and was the soprano soloist in the vocal quartet that helped to lead worship at the 11:30 a.m. service for many years. In addition, Amy participated in the music ministry at Rockdale Temple for many years.
In 2010, Amy stepped forward to begin conducting the Adult Choir during rehearsals and services, organizing the music library, and serving as a liaison among the different areas of music ministry.
Amy has planned music, organized, and conducted the Choir during Lessons and Carols, Christmas Eve, Holy Week, Saint Barnabas Day, Pentecost, and Youth Sundays. She has also offered these talents beyond St. Barnabas at benefit concerts for Habitat for Humanity, Cincinnati Respite Care, special programs at the Montgomery Care Center, and for Cincinnati Opera’s outreach program: Opera Goes to Church. Under Amy’s direction, the Choir has steadily grown in numbers. In addition to our wonderful volunteer singers, we have had the pleasure of adding Choral Scholars to the mix including our present section leaders Griff Bludworth and Grace Devoid.
The Choir has performed portions of Handel’s Messiah, the world premiere of the choral version of “First Responder’s Hymn,” and scores of anthems during Sunday services. Her musical expertise and attention to diction and phrasing has elevated the Choir’s musicianship throughout her tenure. Most significantly, Amy shared not only her superb sense of organization, but her compassion and pastoral abilities. She has always been the first to respond to a member of the Choir when they walked through difficult times of health and other struggles. Amy also coached members of the choir privately in singing, and “pounded out parts” for more extra hours than could possibly be counted.
While Amy is planning on continuing to sing in the choir, she has asked to retire on June 15 as choirmaster. Although we will miss having Amy in this particular capacity, we are delighted she will still be with us and look forward with anticipation to continued growth under Joshua Goines’ leadership.
Amy resisted having a title for many years, but I think the expression that sums up her leadership the best would be: Pastoral Musician. This aspect of Amy’s gift will be with us as long as she continues to worship with us.