INTRODUCTIONS: Meet George Fergus

MUSIC AND FAITH GO HAND IN HAND

For George Fergus, music and faith go hand in hand. He is the new Director of Music at Christ Church Episcopal— and organist. 

Fergus grew up singing in the choir at an Anglo Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth, Texas. Then, as he got older, he would join his parents, who sang in the adult choir. 

“Being part of church music was just always part of who I was and core to my identity,” said Fergus. 

“I think it was just part of my DNA growing up going to church sitting in the Organ gallery feeling the vibrations of the stops and the low pipes sitting there and listening to the Organ so much and watching the organist play, it was always something I was drawn to,” said Fergus. “I was very fortunate to have people that supported that interest, and let it grow into a passion.” 

Fergus attended St. Olaf College and earned a B.M. in Organ Performance. He then attended Yale University, Institute of Sacred Music, in New Haven, Connecticut, where he gained a master’s in organ performance and Church Music.

“There was a strong calling for me there that no matter what it was, being in the church felt at home to me,” said Fergus. 

During his time at Yale, he worked as an organ scholar at a church in New York City, Grace Church, which he shares gave him a sense of purpose and vocation for what he was doing in the church while also getting all of the technical training at school. 

Briefly, Fergus considered going into orchestral conducting and doing opera and musical theater, but quickly realized that wasn’t the path he was going to take. 

At the end of his time at Yale, Fergus joined the Washington National Cathedral, in 2016, as an assistant organist. At the end of his second year, their organist moved onto another position and Fergus was the interim cathedral organist for a year. Afterward, Fergus was promoted to Associate Director of Music and Chorister Program Director the next three years. 

“The most memorable moment of my career was in December of 2018. President George H.W. Bush passed away, and it was announced to the staff internally and then very shortly afterward to the rest of the public that we would hold his funeral service at the National Cathedral. I was the only organist on staff at the time, so it quickly hit me that I would be joining a very select club of organists who have been played for presidential funerals. There are now three of us alive, who are in that club,” said Fergus 

While Fergus thoroughly enjoyed his time at the Cathedral, he and his wife have a two-year-old toddler, and decided it was best to move closer to his wife’s family in Savannah. 

He then took on the role of Director of Music at Christ Church Episcopal in July. His primary role will be to lead music for the worship and liturgies that happen on Sunday mornings and then other times throughout the week. He also plays the organ, volunteers, leads the hymns and directs the adult choir. 

“They’re some of the most welcoming folks that I have met here, the entire church is just very welcoming and warm and open. It’s been a great first five or six weeks or so getting my feet under me here, and feeling the support of the congregation and the rest of the staff along the way,” said Fergus. “I believe in the power of being in a community, which recognizes you for who you are, honors your gifts, and encourages and supports you to use them.”

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