Introducing Soprano Theresa Schroeder
Theresa grew up in State College, though now, much of her family lives in York, PA. Her first choir experience was singing in the children’s choir at Grace Lutheran Church in State College–but her most significant choir experience was singing in the Rooke Chapel Choir at Bucknell University. She joined Compline five years ago, having realized over time that the one thing she really missed about her college years was singing, and those services at Rooke Chapel. Once her children were a little older and she had more time, it seemed like the perfect fit for her.
She and her husband have three kids, two of whom are in high school; the third is in middle school. They also have three cats and two fish (anyone want to adopt their fish????) When not working at her job at Carnegie Mellon and spending time with her family and friends, she enjoys walking in Frick Park, reading and sometimes, a nap!
Introducing Dr. Stuart Boyd Diller, born in the Appalachian highlands of Virginia. He is descended of a long line of mechanists, many of which worked under Queen Victoria in the British Raj. Much in the same vein, Stuart got his bachelors in engineering from Jefferson’s own University of Virginia. Excelling in the field, he took his talents to Pittsburgh as a PhD candidate at CMU. Since then, the newly christened Doctor Stuart is taking his talents to the private sector, where he is nurturing his own startup. Following both the models of his ancestors and the great industrialists of Pittsburgh past, he is currently hiring (calling all roboticists).
Stuart has always been a fascinating fellow. As a child he lived for a few years in French Switzerland, a stone’s throw from Geneva. His taste in media has always been superb. As a young adolescent he took on the great volumes of Tolkein and considers them an important part of his life. This blossoming of cultural sentiment was simultaneous to his first forays into the world of music, and where his journey to the Pittsburgh Compline Choir began. He started singing in middle school while still a boy alto. Now the choir’s flagship bass, his voice is considerably lower, often shaking the pews! He resides in Greenfield and enjoys playing soccer and engaging with the wider Pittsburgh community.
Introduced by Noah Dawgiello
New this year to the Compline bass section is Sam Sesti. Sam is also a member of the Board of the Lutheran Campus Ministry of Greater Pittsburgh.
He grew up about 6 miles down the Ohio from the Pittsburgh’s Point in Avalon, PA and still resides there! Sam makes his living as a Special Education Teacher. He is also a volunteer leader in for the Boy Scouts. In addition to singing, Sam’s hobbies include camping, kayaking, volleyball, and spending time with friends and family.
Sam has been deeply involved in music since childhood. He has been a singer and a percussionist since the 4th grade. As a percussionist he was a member of the concert band, jazz band, and marching band from middle/high school through college. Sam’s favorite percussion instruments are the timpani, drum set for jazz music, and the djembe! Sam was also a member of the concert choir throughout high school and college. In fact, Sam has even performed twice at Heinz Hall with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. But perhaps his highest achievement was his 12,000 foot skydive in Queenstown, New Zealand!
Introducing tenor Mark Jensen! Here is what Michele Baum had to say about him at Compline this past weekend:
“Were he introduced according to his Scandinavian ancestry, his name would be pronounced MAR-kus YEN-sen. Mark Jensen was born in Annecy, also known as “the Venice of France”—a town east of Lyon and due south of Geneva, Switzerland. He has skied the Alps and the Rockies, and although the mountains near Seven Springs resort suffer by comparison, he enjoys skiing there, too.
The family moved to Lexington, Mass., while Mark was a baby, later settling in Wethersfield, Conn. (Also the hometown of our choirmaster, Mark Boyle.) Because of this, he is schooled in colonial history. His family is well seasoned with pastors on both sides, and he was raised in the Evangelical Free Church, a Scandinavian style of evangelical Protestantism. He is the middle child of three brothers; the eldest, Matthew, is a pastor in Portland, Ore. A grandfather and an uncle also were pastors. In fact, the family is the fourth generation in the Wethersfield Evangelical Free Church. Mark’s younger brother, Luke (notice a trend?), works in the family business, the Jensen Machine Co. of Newington, Conn.
Mark graduated from Carnegie Mellon University. He is a software engineer, having fallen in love with programming during elementary school. He considers himself lucky to have found his calling so early in life. He’s a relative newlywed, married for the second time in May 2019. He has two children. Skye, 21, studied computer science at the Rochester Institute of Technology and works for a robotics firm. David, 18, is an engineering major at Carnegie Mellon University.
Mark and his wife, Bronwyn, live in Squirrel Hill and attend the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer. Mark has been singing for many years, performing in high school and church camp musicals. What he loves most about the Pittsburgh Compline Choir is learning new music.”
Our Comings & Goings feature offers a closer look at Choir members, past and present. Matthew Lobe is in the spotlight for our 4th installment.
In mid-summer 2017 Matthew Lobe moved from Pittsburgh to Rochester, New York, where he is working in home interiors and pursuing his passion for design. Matthew joined the Pittsburgh Compline Choir in the fall of 2015, singing tenor throughout his time with the choir. An accomplished organist, Matthew also accompanied the choir from time to time and served as guest organist. “Even though I sang with the Pittsburgh Compline Choir for only two years, it made my three years living in Pittsburgh feel that much more like home,” Matthew wrote recently. “I will miss the beautiful space of Heinz Chapel. I will also miss the service itself and the objectives of the choir – its outreach to others. I love the office of Compline, so rich with psalms and prayers, and its accompanying choral music. Being able to participate, make beautiful music, and pray together with fellow choir members made being a part of the ensemble so meaningful to me. As a member of the PCC, it was my constant, weekly effort to minister or ‘reach out’ to the attendees of Compline. Despite this, I found myself each and every week just as nourished spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, if not even more than the attendees.”
Our Comings & Goings feature offers a closer look at Choir members, past and present. Luther Rinehart is in the spotlight for our third installment.
Luther joined the Pittsburgh Compline Choir in the fall of 2013 and for four years was a bright star in our tenor section. This summer he moved to College Station, Texas, where he is pursuing a Ph.D. in mathematics at Texas A&M University. (Yes, when Luther left the Compline Choir our average IQ took a dive.) In addition to having a beautiful voice and excellent musicianship, Luther was always the first person to volunteer to do some ungrateful task on behalf of the choir. We miss him, and it seems the feeling is mutual. “I’m singing with my church choir, but there’s nothing here like Compline,” he writes. “I miss the choral repertoire, the compline service, the psalm settings, the confession and forgiveness, Alastair and everyone else. I’ll always remember many pieces, one that comes to mind is the setting of “Blessed Heavenly Light” to the tune Seelenbrautigam, probably because it’s featured on the recording of the same name. Compline was important to me as an expression of faith and an act of worship.”
Our Comings & Goings feature offers a closer look at Choir members, past and present. Alastair Stout is in the spotlight for our second installment.
Our beloved former director, Alastair, Stout, is thriving in Rutland, Vermont, where he oversees the music ministry at Grace Congregational Church. There he directs six resident choirs as well as the Rutland Regional Chorus in an annual Christmas performance of Handel’s “Messiah.”
Alastair joined the PCC as a bass in 2007, before becoming director in 2010. He fondly recalls the Pittsburgh Compline Choir’s performance of “In Honor of Etheldreda,” by Arthur Wills on the Feast of St. Etheldreda in 2011. Wills was director of music at Ely Cathedral while Alastair there was a chorister and has remained a life-long mentor and inspiration. Saint Etheldreda was the founder of Ely Cathedral, and she appears in the windows of Heinz Chapel. For Alastair, the Pittsburgh Compline Choir “encompassed all that is fantastic about sacred music and liturgy.”
We caught up with Alastair for the following Q&A:
What voice part/parts did you sing?
What are some of the things you will miss the most about the choir?
The wonderful singers, meaningful liturgy and spiritual atmosphere.
What is one piece of music that you will always remember from Compline?
In Honor of Etheldreda by Arthur Wills. Saint Etheldreda – the founder of Ely Cathedral – appears in the Heinz Chapel windows. We sang the piece on the Feast of St Etheldreda in October, 2011.
What new ventures/opportunities are you pursuing that resulted in your departure from the Pittsburgh Compline Choir? Tell us what you’re up to.
Overseeing the music ministry at Grace Congregational Church in Rutland, VT. Directing the six resident choirs as well as the Rutland Regional Chorus in the annual Messiah performance at Christmas.
What’s the best “One Sentence” reason you could give for why singing with Compline was important to you?
The choir encompassed all that is fantastic about sacred music and liturgy!
Our new Comings & Goings feature offers a closer look at Choir members, past and present. Stayed tuned for more! Dr. Mark A. Boyle is in the spotlight for our first installment.
Dr. Mark A. Boyle joined the Pittsburgh Compline Choir as Director in the fall of 2017. He has served as Director of Choral and Vocal Activities at Seton Hill University since 2013. Dr. Boyle is active as a guest conductor, choral clinician, poet, and composer. He has conducted all-state, regional, district, and county choral festivals across the Northeast and Mid-Western parts of the United States. As a tenor, he s a rostered member of Kinnara Ensemble and the Pittsburgh Camerata and enjoys a concert career as a soloist. He currently is a professional chorister at Shadyside Presbyterian Church. His music and poetry is has been performed by choirs from Hawaii to Maryland.
Dr. Boyle began his association with the Divine Office with the Compline Choir of the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, while serving in the United States Navy. There he fell in love immediately with the beauty of the liturgy, the chant, and the vast repertoire of motets offered at the service.
Originally from Wethersfield, Connecticut, Dr. Boyle attended Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. After five years in the United States Navy, he completed his Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance at Ball State University, where he remained to complete a Masters of Music in Choral Conducting. He completed the Doctorate in Musical Arts at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Dr. Boyle is married to music educator and pianist, Jane Boyle, and resides in Harrison City, Pennsylvania, with their sons, Nathan and Patrick.
The Lutheran University Center‘s Pittsburgh Compline Choir is very excited to announce that we have a new Choir Director, Dr. Mark A. Boyle. Mark’s rich background and his passion for sacred music makes him very well suited to lead our Compline Choir. He is also the Director of Choral and Vocal Activities at Seton Hill University in Greensburg,
In Mark’s words regarding the Service of Compline: “Compline entered my life while serving in the United States Navy in Hawaii. I was fortunate to stumble into the Lutheran Church of Honolulu and its Compline Choir, one of the “baby Complines” that came out of St. Mark’s in Seattle. To have the opportunity to return to this beautifully meaningful service with the Pittsburgh Compline Choir is a dream realized.”
The Pittsburgh Compline Choir is an expanded and enlarged version of the Order for Compline as found in the Lutheran Book of Worship and we are looking forward to the further growth of Compline under Dr. Boyle’s Leadership.
Please join us this Sunday evening at Heinz Chapel at 8:00pm as the Compline Choir begins a new year.