It’s no secret that music is the heart of our worship. If you told me that music is really the heart of our faith, I’d believe you. We worship a God who sings creation into being, so some of that singing is going to get into the soil and into our souls. Music is the heart of the Bible; it’s the heart of the people, and if you’ve ever been to Church of Peace on a Sunday, then you know. Music is the heart of what happens here.

From the Praise Band to the Children’s Choir… From the beginning soloist who’s developing confidence to the world-renowned soloist who’s used to play- ing in glittering venues… From Gothic Cathedral to the Boar’s Head Carol… From the Bix jazz service, to the Bell Choir, to the Choir Exchange, to the chorus of “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…” Consider all the music that has filled our sanctuary, and seeped into the walls of the church, and seeped into our prayer. Music is a beloved tradition of our congregation. And as with any tradition, the trick to keep- ing it alive is to build in change.

For years, Mary Kae Waytenick has served as Music Director and Organist. (She has also been leading the Children’s Choir as gift to the church!) Mary Kae will continue working as the Music Director and will begin playing the organ on a part-time basis (about 25% of the time). The ministry Mary Kae gives to our congregation comes from deep compassion and sparkling creativity. We are grateful to her.

Additionally, we are thrilled to welcome Daniel Barrott to the church staff. Daniel will work closely with Mary Kae and will serve as part-time Organist (playing about 75% of the time). He comes to Church of Peace as a friend and former student of Curtis Fischer-Oelschlaeger. Daniel mentions that Curtis is “one of his main influences and inspirations to originally pursue music.” Daniel is the grandson of Joyce and Everett Nesseler. (Everett is the son of Bud and June Nes- seler.)

Daniel’s main instrument is piano; he also plays guitar and violin. He explains that he enjoys playing because “music is a universal lan- guage that everyone can understand, but it’s another thing to know how to ‘speak’ it.” Indeed! I asked him to complete the sentence, “If you re- ally knew me, you would know…” Here’s what he said: “You would know that I have homes in two countries! I was born in New Zealand and lived there until I was 9 years old. I then lived in the Quad Cities from 9 till 14 and then want back to New Zealand again until last year.”

When you see Daniel, please introduce yourself and help him feel welcome. Together we are entering a season of new possibility. Togeth- er we can take up the tradition of our faith and “Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD all the earth” (Psalm 96:1).

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