If you’ve been to church during the second half of August, you’ve probably noticed and maybe met Andrew Shenton, the new interim Music Director at St. Paul’s. Andrew’s first Sunday playing at St. Paul’s was August 18th, following the departure of Sam Nelson, who starts a full-time position as Assistant Organist and Choirmaster at Church of the Redeemer (Episcopal) in Sarasota, Florida September 1st.
Andrew grew up in Canterbury, England. Although his parents weren’t church-goers, Andrew – drawn to the music, art, and architecture of the Anglican church – was, and had his first serious organ lessons with the organist of Canterbury Cathedral. He had his first church job in a village outside Canterbury at the age of 11.
After earning a bachelor of music from London University, Andrew came to the US in 1991 to further his education. He obtained a master’s degree in organ performance from the Institute of Sacred Music, Worship and the Arts at Yale, and a PhD in musicology from Harvard. He also has diplomas in piano and choir training.
Since being in the US, Andrew has played in churches of many denominations, including Episcopal churches (the US equivalent to Anglican churches) where he says there are generally greater opportunities to explore a variety of music.
In addition to his academic duties (he’s an associate professor of music at Boston University), Andrew also has a busy performance career. He conducts the Boston Choral Ensemble, one of Boston’s premier choirs, known for creative and professional-quality performance, including (as far as we know), the only “scratch and sniff” concert ever done. Ask Andrew about it sometime. He also conducts Vox Futura, New England's foremost professional recording choir.
What could be more entertaining than recording music in a studio or performing scratch and sniff concerts? According to Andrew, it’s all fun. But when he’s not making music, he also enjoys cooking, especially baking, and he also enjoys hiking. He recently moved to Weston and has discovered some great trails in the Weston area.
Andrew learned about St. Paul’s from Sam and helped out during St. Paul’s 100th Anniversary Evensong in 2018. He was drawn to us because of his interest in helping during our music director transition. It’s also important to him to be in an Episcopal parish, and he is interested in exploring our organ and its potential. He sees St. Paul’s as a well-run parish dedicated to its music program and is looking forward to working with Rob, Julia, the wardens and vestry, the choir and congregation!
Andrew would like to continue raising the general standard and diversity of the St. Paul’s music program (his thoughts range from plainsong to gospel music to art music) and to involve more people, either actively or passively, in our music making.
He welcomes feedback, especially as we figure out how to direct our investment in the music ministry at St. Paul’s. “Feel free to tell me what you think,” he says. “Often, you don’t get negative feedback because people think you don’t want to hear it. But I prefer people to talk to me. If you have requests for preludes, postludes, anthems, or hymns, I’m happy to consider them, especially hymns outside our Hymnal. We’re all invested in the music program and I hope to engage as many people in making music as I can.”