Bidding Farewell to Dwight

A Weekly Reflection, Sunday, June 25, 2017

By: Beth Stephens

IMG_1999Weezie recently reminded us that this is the time in the church year when we focus on our lives within the church, on striving to become part of the Body of Christ. This calls to my mind 1 Corinthians 12, which reflects on God’s gifts to be used in His service: gifts of wisdom, healing, teaching, leadership. As we bid farewell today to our beloved organist and choirmaster Dwight Graham, it is meet and right to celebrate the gifts he has shared with us.

Dwight arrived at St. Mary’s 18 years ago as organist, bringing his extraordinary talent and an unparalleled work ethic. No one plays a better service, I’m sorry to tell you! Dwight soon began serving double duty as choirmaster and organist. New to Anglican choral music, he took a deep dive, embracing everything from Byrd to Britten. Under his direction, we have tackled some of the finest musical repertoire our Anglican tradition offers, albeit with varying degrees of success. Irrespective of results, Dwight encouraged us always to rise to the challenges presented and to savor the chance to offer such great music in this worship setting. As Dwight grew into his role as choirmaster, the choir and its ministry at St. Mary’s has also grown—we have come a far piece from the women-only volunteer group that sang on occasion in Little St. Mary’s years ago. Dwight has left an indelible mark on our music ministry, and the whole parish is grateful for his years of service. This much is obvious.

Less obvious is how, through his enduring and endearing patience, his kind nature and uncommon decency, Dwight has created a singularly rewarding experience for the choir, making each of us feel wholly appreciated as a member of this musical Body of Christ. With every Thursday rehearsal and Sunday service, Dwight showed himself a man of grace and excellent humor, supportive, always prepared, and unflappable in the face of our collective tendency to roam off script. He is a gem. What a gift he has given this happy band of singers in the loft!

It’s fitting that we sing one of Dwight’s favorites today, C. H. H. Parry’s anthem setting of Psalm 122, “I was glad.” We are all of us so glad to have had this time with you, Dwight. God be with you, Michelle, and your whole family, till we meet again.