Saturday, October 16, 2004

Notes from the Music Guy I
(my first parish bulletin article)

Since this is my first article, I should tell you something about myself:

My name is Jay Ricketts, I live in Emmett with my wife Kim. We're both long-time Michiganders - I went to Eisenhower High School - but we've moved around a bit. We have two kids, both grown, and three grandkids, ranging in age from 1 to 4. I've been a musician all my adult life, but except for a few years in the late 70's, it's been a sideline rather than a career. I played in rock, pop, and country bands in and around Detroit, Washington DC, and Winchester VA, as well as a little bit of regional touring. One of my bands even played at the Blue Banjo a few times. I've also done some solo piano - jazz isn't my strong suit, but I can do it in a pinch.

Music became a ministry for me in about 1992, in West Virginia, when I "accompanied" the singer at the blessing of our wedding by recording some MIDI tracks of piano and organ parts. Fr. Brian watched the little MIDI box and flashing lights, and then approached me afterwards about joining the music ministry. I did, and got more and more involved in the church, eventually taking a directorship at St. Cornelius in Dryden in 1997. I learned a lot over the next five years from the great folks there.

I stayed in Dryden until 2002, when I returned to school to work toward a Church Music degree at Madonna University in Livonia. After about a year of that, I had to return to church work for financial reasons, working as the organist for the gospel choirs at St. Elizabeth's in Detroit, and as an accompanist at St. Blase in Sterling Heights and Ss. John & Paul in Washington Twp. I'm continuing my studies at Madonna, but am not taking courses this semester. The degree should come in about two years, if I stick to it.

Fr. Doc called me a few months ago when the parish found itself without a music director, and I accompanied the Saturday masses until he and Fr. Steve offered me the directorship. This looks to be an excellent parish, how could I say no? Thanks to everyone who's been so kind and welcoming to me in my first weeks here. It means more than you can imagine. I'd also like to thank Mary Love, Sarah Schultz, Anne Roszczewski, and Caroline Muylaert, who are all from St. Cornelius, for pitching in and canting at Saturday masses, and especially Chris Swoish, who has agreed to continue accompanying and canting here on a regular basis.

Watch this space! This will be a more or less weekly column, with information and musings about ministry, music, and worship. Next week: part two of the introduction, where I'll talk a bit about worship and ministry. Meanwhile, anyone who's interested in being part of the cantor ministry, please call the parish office and leave me a message. With any luck, I'll have the phone system figured out by then...

May Christ be the song in your heart,


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