Music Director/Organist Position Description

Blacksburg Presbyterian Church, a 400-memebr congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA) with a 187-year history of committed social outreach, is seeking a part-time Music Director (20 hrs./week) to replace a highly-respected incumbent. The position is responsible for all aspects of music in the life of the congregation, with the objective of furthering a creative music program of superior quality. The church currently has one worship service on Sunday morning at 10:30.

Summary of Position

The purpose of this position is to maintain and further develop a creative music program of superior quality. This includes direction of the adult and hand bell choir, and playing the organ for regular Sunday worship, weddings, funerals and other services. It includes the selection of music in consultation with the pastor, rehearing with and accompanying the adult choir, rehearsal and direction of bell ringers, direction or oversight of the elementary age choir, and coordinating guest instrumentalists and vocalists.

Personal Qualifications

The candidate is expected to have a commitment to Jesus Christ and to the Church expressed in a willingness to work with the pastor and people in the total witness of BPC.

She or he must be sensitive to the Reformed tradition of worship, able to communicate energy and enthusiasm in recruiting and leading choir members, and cooperate well with pastor and staff.

Professional Qualifications

This person will be a well-qualified musician who is professionally trained and experienced in church music, a competent and experienced choir director, able to instruct and guide bell choir members in proper techniques, and be acquainted with music suitable to hand bells and their effective use in worship.

Specific Responsibilities

a.   Selection of music with regard to the Church Year in consultation with the pastor

b.   Directing and accompanying choirs in rehearsals and services of worship, including special services on the church calendar; rehearing with and accompanying vocalists and instrumentalists for worship as needed

c.   Practicing for and playing the organ for regular and special services of worship

d.   Recruiting and training new members of adult choir and bell choir, including youth

e.   Preparing the music budget; purchasing new music and other equipment as needed; keeping accurate records of expenditures

f.    Overseeing the care and maintenance of all musical instruments (organ, pianos, hand bells, chimes), and of the music library

g.   Submitting timely information for the church bulletin and newsletter

h.   Arranging for substitutes when necessary

i.    Recruiting instrumentalists as needed for choral accompaniment or special music

j.    Enlivening congregational singing, expanding the range and variety of hymns; educating the congregation about specific special music in worship or in general

k.    Fostering opportunities for the bell choir to participate in local or regional festivals

l.    Authoring the use of the organ, piano, or bells by others and scheduling such use

m.   Serving as organist for member funerals on an honorarium-only basis and for non-members at the rate of the Sunday substitute fee; serving on request as organist for weddings based on the fee schedule in the Wedding Booklet.

n.    Coordinating schedules for adult and children’s choir in worship and in rehearsals

o.    Attending staff meetings and meetings of the Worship Ministry

p.    Recommending uses for Dunlap Music Endowment funds

q.    Advocating for and arranging for rehearsals and music events by the Virginia Tech Music Department and the Blacksburg Master Chorale.

r.     Directing—or overseeing the director of—the elementary children’s choir

General Responsibilities

This position is responsible for the total music program of the church, is ultimately responsible to the pastor, and is accountable to the Session. He or she will work closely with the Worship Ministry, which represents the Session, and along with the pastor, is responsible for the oversight and ordering of worship and the related programs of the church. The Personnel Ministry conducts and an annual review and recommends any salary or job description changes.

Applications may be sent to or mailed to Music Director Search Committee, 701 Church Street SE, Blacksburg, VA, 24060

Search Committee

Jama Hayes, Chair, is currently the elder for the Worship Ministry at Blacksburg Presbyterian (Session term: 2016-2019).  She has been a member of the choir since joining Blacksburg Presbyterian in 1981. Jama has been a member of Grace Notes, a BPC women's acapella trio, since 2008. She is also active in Presbyterian Women and Knitwits, the church's knitting group.

Steve Drumheller is a past chair and current member of the BPC Personnel Ministry.  He has been an active member of the adult choir since joining BPC in 2001.  Outside of church, Steve has sung in an eight-voice a cappella group for over 20 years, and he is currently an active participant in a local shape note singing group.

Sarah Woolsey is a lifelong Presbyterian and former member and clerk of Session at BPC. While she is inspired by music, especially that of her children Emma Grace (15) and Sam (13), Sarah considers her own talents to lie in other areas. Having served as a member of the local school board and chair of a local educational foundation, she is particularly committed to broadening educational opportunities of all sorts (including musical ones) for children of all ages.

David Jacobsen moved to Blacksburg in 1988, to join the Virginia Tech Music Department as professor of flute and saxophone. At that same time, he and his wife, Renee, joined the BPC Choir. He retired from VT in 2016, but continues to sing in the church choir.  He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Wisconsin, a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Illinois.

Robert Dean is not a musician, but enjoys an enviable collection of classical, jazz, and blues music. He has a famous inability to sing and encourages you not to sit in front of him in worship. Nonetheless, music is a significant part of his worship experience. Rob has been a member of BPC for the past seven years, co-teaches the 1st-2nd Grade Sunday School class, and serves as a Deacon.

Kendra Crabtree has been Director of Communications and Church Life at BPC since October 2015. At BPC we refer to her as our resident “Oracle of Joy.” She holds a Bachelor’s degree in music education from Belmont University in Nashville and a Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation from The Portland Seminary (formerly George Fox Evangelical Seminary). Kendra directs BPC’s K-5 choir, Joyful Noise. 

Pastor/Head of Staff Catherine Taylor is the granddaughter and niece of Presbyterian organist/choir directors. She has been singing too loudly in church since childhood and has enjoyed collegial relationships with music directors and organists in six congregations. Catherine is serving as staff for the Search Committee.

back row (L to R): Steve Drumheller, Jama Hayes, and Sarah Woolsey. Front Row (L to R): David jacobsen and Robert Dean. (Not pictured: Kendra Crabtree and Catherine Taylor.

back row (L to R): Steve Drumheller, Jama Hayes, and Sarah Woolsey. Front Row (L to R): David jacobsen and Robert Dean. (Not pictured: Kendra Crabtree and Catherine Taylor.