Welcome Mariko Matsumura!

It is with great joy and excitement that we welcome Mariko Matsumura as the new Director of Music Ministry at First Congregational Church!

Mariko has, of course, been our Interim Music Director since September and has done an outstanding job in this capacity. When she began last fall, we set the expectation that she was simply to “hold things together” while we looked for a permanent person. Mariko, however, did no such thing! She took the Interim position and worked hard to expand and innovate our music ministry. She engaged young families and children in particular. She connected well with our established members and approached new people to become involved. Her welcoming and approachable manner, coupled with crafting low-commitment ways to get involved, quickly endeared her to many in the congregation.

Mariko comes to us from First Parish Malden, Unitarian Universalist Church where she was the Music Director and soloist. She was also the Music Director at Interfaith Chapel at Brooksby Village in Peabody. Along with being a soprano soloist, she plays both the piano and organ and has experience leading both adult and children’s ensembles. Her other staff positions include the Franklin School for the Performing Arts and Chorus Boston.

You will note that her new job title at our church is not “Music Director” but rather “Director of Music Ministry”. This is to reflect the fact that this position is no longer simply a traditional organist/choir director position but instead is one that coordinates the various musical groups in our church while also exploring new models of music ministry at FCC.

Given Mariko’s popularity, many have asked why the Search Committee took the time to interview other possible candidates. The reason was twofold: It assured that our church got the best person possible, and it reinforced for Mariko that she earned this position through competing in a thorough search process involving other well qualified candidates. You can be sure that no shortcuts were taken in this search process and the committee worked with intentionality each step of the way.

A huge thank you, then, to the Search Committee members: Jaime McAllister-Grande (Chair), Tom Foth, Betsy Garrett, Bob Jamison, Lisa Jamison, Ann Ahlin, Michael Leskiw, and Beth Grzegorzewski. Each of these people gave up many hours of their time to guarantee a fair, methodical, and complete process that not only sought out the best candidate, but also evaluated our current music ministry and its future trajectory.

Thank you also to those of you who came to the performance part of our interview process and provided feedback. Your time and opinion were invaluable.

So if you haven’t had a chance to introduce yourself to Mariko, please do! And if you have ever considered becoming involved in any aspect of the music at our church, she is sure to make doing so as easy as possible for you and a lot of fun as well!

This is a great time to remember that the music of our church belongs to the entire congregation and we count on everyone’s involvement—and that includes YOU!

Welcome Mariko!

See you in church,