Dear Parish Family and Friends,
It is a pleasure to announce that I have appointed Simon Thomas Jacobs to be the Interim Organist and Choirmaster for the 2015-2016 program year. Simon will take up his duties immediately after Labor Day. Let me tell you a little about him.
Simon read music and was organ scholar at Clare College, University of Cambridge. During this time he accompanied and assisted in the direction of the chapel choir in the weekly routine of chapel services and in their capacity as an internationally-renowned vocal ensemble, performing concerts throughout the UK and Europe.
In 2009, Simon moved to the USA to take up the post of Associate Director of Music at Christ Church Greenwich, CT. Since that time, Simon has made America his permanent home holding subsequent positions at Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis, IN, and recently as interim at the Church of the Ascension, Chicago, IL. Most recently, he completed an Artist’s Diploma in Organ Performance at Oberlin College where he was also a graduate teaching assistant.
In the summer of 2013, Simon won First Prize and the Audience Prize at the St Albans International Organ Competition, which celebrated its fiftieth anniversary that same year. Under the management of Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists, Simon has developed an active career as a recitalist in the USA and has performed at some of the world’s most esteemed concert venues: Notre Dame de Paris; King’s College, Cambridge; St Albans Cathedral; Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford; St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh; Ste Croix, Bordeaux. His debut CD Parthenia Nova, recorded on the new instrument by Richards, Fowkes & Co. at St. George’s Hanover Square, London is due for release at the end of 2015.
At Saint Mark's, Simon will have responsibility for directing the Parish choir as well as the Boys & Girls Choir, and exercising general oversight of the music program. He is a fine musician with a clear sense of how to guide the program and the many people involved with it through this period of transition.
A small committee has worked with me in conducting a very concentrated search for this position. I'm grateful to Mother Erika Takacs, David Marshall, Addie Peyronnin, Barbara Mische, and Martha Johnson for their ears, advice, prayers, and input. I looked carefully at four highly accomplished and very capable candidates, interviewed three of them here in Philadelphia, and invited two of those candidates to participate in full round of interviews and audition with me and the committee. I was impressed with the talent and commitment of all of the candidates. The committee's enthusiasm about Simon, matches my own, and we look forward to welcoming him to Saint Mark's early next month. The committee will continue to work with me as we plan the search process for a permanent Organist & Choirmaster. Meanwhile we are eager to welcome Simon to his new work.
A word from Simon on his appointment: "St Mark’s, Locust Street is known throughout the United States for the excellence of its liturgy and music, combined with its wonderful mission and outreach work within the City of Philadelphia. When I began my professional career as a church musician in the USA, I had always hoped that I might one day serve in such a Parish. I am both honored and humbled to have the opportunity to continue my musical ministry at St Mark’s and I look forward to working with the adult choir, boy and girls choristers and congregation as we all see seek to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness."