Grace Cathedral hires new organist

by Dean Torey Lightcap

It brings me great excitement to announce the hiring of Dr. Donald Livingston as Organist of Grace Cathedral. His first Sunday with us will be June 26, 2022.

Dr. Donald Livingston, new organist at Grace Cathedral

In a statement, Dr. Livingston said, “I can hardly express my feelings about returning home and being your organist at Grace Cathedral. This church was where I first heard an organ and was captivated by its sound and mystery, and I am honored to become a part of its legacy of music and ministry. I look forward to weaving my life into the rich fabric of the Cathedral and the community.”

Donald has an infectious love of music honed over a lifetime, born right here in Kansas. He was confirmed at St. Paul’s, Manhattan, and played organ there as well as at St. Luke’s in Wamego. He served various parishes in Indiana, Texas, and Minnesota. While living in Austin, TX, he lectured in organ and harpsichord at the University of Texas. In Minneapolis, he has been Organist at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church as well as Creative Director for the Twin Cities Early Music Festival.

His academic credentials include bachelors degrees in both piano performance and philosophy from Kansas State University; the Juris Doctor from the Mitchell Hamline School of Law; the Master of Music in organ from Kansas State; and the Doctor of Music degree from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University-Bloomington.

His compositions and editions have been published by Augsburg Fortress, National Music Publishers, and Paraclete Press.

In addition to work with professional artists and dedicated volunteers to provide organ music for services, Donald will supervise and conduct the Cathedral handbell choir; assist in selecting and developing hymns, service music, anthems, and other service music for worship; and oversee the Great Spaces program.

He will succeed Dr. Sylvia Hamilton who has so capably served as Interim Organist since July of last year, and before that as Assistant Organist for many years. We will mark her formal retirement date on June 12th.

As you know, these last few years have been extraordinarily demanding on church staffs, ours included. Sylvia has risen to every challenge and I am so grateful for her ministry, her insightful questions and ideas, her collegiality, her artistry, and her good cheer.

I am indebted to the council of advice that helped steer this decision, including David Woods, Chris Shermoen, and Cynthia Sheppeard as well as our Senior and Junior Wardens, Rick Backlund and Linda Ditch.

Please join us in wishing both Sylvia and Donald every success as Grace Cathedral seeks to continue an exceptional history of praise to God through our music ministry. 

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