Introducing Kyle Sheppard — Old First's new organist

Introducing Kyle Sheppard — Old First's new organist
I am pleased to share that the wonderful young organist, Kyle Sheppard, who shared his musical gifts with us this past fall, will be with us in a more permanent capacity as organist twice per month.

When I was hired as Artist in Residence this past month, I asked if Old First would consider hiring an organist, as I am first and foremost a choir director, pianist, & professional singer, but truly not an organist – at least not one who could really utilize the full spectrum of colors and levels of expression that this organ could provide.  As Kyle had just played for us so beautifully during Christmas, it was a natural fit, pending his availability and desire to commit to being with us twice monthly.

The Worship SLG wholeheartedly agreed to move forward with this arrangement for the upcoming year and review at the end of the year, visioning towards the future musical desires of our community at that point.

As Kyle was still fulfilling his internship at another church during January & February, he was only able to commit to one Sunday per month, but two thereafter, once his internship was concluded. Unfortunately, due to our recent blizzard, that was the one January date Kyle could play, but was unable to get to us, due to the storm. This month, however, we will have the pleasure of enjoying the organ throughout the service THIS Sunday, Feb. 21st!  Kyle will be playing throughout the service, including accompanying the choir and also a beautiful piano and organ duet with yours truly! I can’t wait!

Here is some background information on Kyle, to enable us to learn more about him, so we can welcome him into our Old First family:
Kyle Sheppard is currently a student at Rowan University. He is pursuing a Bachelors of Music in Organ Performance under the instruction of Gordon Turk, organist of the Ocean Grove Auditorium. Kyle has previously been the organist at St. John’s Lutheran (Newark, DE), Central United Methodist Church (Bridgeton, NJ), and First Presbyterian Church (Bridgeton, NJ).  He has also had the privilege to perform in Charleston SC, The Citadel, Gettysburg College Chapel, Martin Luther College, and many other churches in our local area. In addition to his organ playing, he also accompanies local choirs and pit orchestras, and teaches music to students of all ages.  Outside of music Kyle enjoys traveling, going to the beach, working on the family farm and making stained glass windows.

I hope everyone will come to church this Sunday to soak up not only the usually poignant sermon, scripture readings, prayers, intimate sharing of Communion directly after the postlude, but also the incredible array of music we will share, as we continue our journey through the Lenten season.

With joy,
Holly Phares
Artist in Residence