St. Stephen’s Episcopal Parish in Hurst, TX is pleased to announce it has hired Stan Paschal as its new accompanist.
St. Stephen’s has been blessed over the years with talented and passionate musicians, including former Music Director and composer Jim Maas, the current Music Director Adam Wood (also a composer), and the incumbent organist Michael Reed. In a bittersweet parting, Michael Reed left St. Stephen’s to take a position as both organist and choir master at another parish, a move that will allow to exercise the full range of his skill and talent and give him the opportunity to play on a fine instrument. The community of St. Stephen’s wishes him and his new family abundant blessing. (And the parish Communications Director, Deb Vardell, has vowed to keep him on the mailing list!)
With Mr. Reed’s departure, the Music Director Adam Wood and the Rector Vernon Gotcher met to discuss the type of candidate the parish should look for, and how that choice would affect the overall direction of liturgy and music at St. Stephen’s. Both Mr. Wood and Rev. Gotcher were in agreement that, given the blended worship style of St. Stephen’s and the lack of a “real” organ, the best option would likely be a strong piano player with a range of stylistic experience.
As God would have it, before a single job-posting could be published or an email of inquiry sent, an old friend of Rev. Gotcher (who happens to be the music director of a local Catholic parish) called to suggest Stan Paschal as a potential candidate. Mr. Paschal plays the piano, organ, and harp, and additionally teaches Voice at Tarrant County College. He has worked as a music/choral director, an accompanist, and a choir member at several parishes, and is comfortable in a wide range of sacred styles both traditional and contemporary.
Adam Wood, the music director at St. Stephen’s, had the pleasure of “auditioning” Stan, and he was not subtle in his opinion of the new candidate. “I thought he was fantastic right away. He’s incredibly gracious and warm personally, and he plays wonderfully. I was ready to hire him on the spot.” Once Rev. Gotcher was also able to meet with Mr. Paschal and hear him play, he was likewise impressed. So was the community; after his first “audition mass,” the Senior Warden’s first comment was, “Can we keep him?” Indeed they could “keep him,” and Rev. Gotcher reached out to Mr. Paschal to make an offer later that week.
Paraphrasing the Book of Job, Mr. Wood sees the working of the Holy Spirit, caring for the St. Stephen’s community.
“The Lord took Michael away from us, and gave us Stan. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!”