|Teen Choir Director|
Some say a church service just wouldn’t be the same without a choir and organ and hymns. And when one church needed a new choir director, members soon learned that age was no barrier. Reed Galin reports.
(Locator: Mt. Gretna, Pennsylvania)
He’s been called a prodigy … the maestro of Mt. Gretna.
Ryan Brunkhurst, Teen Choir Director: “When I was about three or four years old, my grandma taught me how to just play some of the basic things. She was the organist at her church at 12.”
When Mt. Gretna United Methodist Church in Pennsylvania had an opening for an organist and choir director, Ryan Brunkhurst volunteered. At the age of 15, he’s way ahead of his time.
Ryan Brunkhurst, Teen Choir Director: “I love hymns. I love taking a hymn and just putting my own style into it and just playing the way I like to play.”
When he first performed at the church, Ryan could barely reach the pedals.
Tracie Brunkhurst, Ryan’s Mom: “He’s a really good kid. We often say that he’s a 60-year-old man trapped in a 15-year-old’s body.”
Choir at rehearsal: “I think I hit every wrong note there could be.”
Most of the choir members are three or four times Ryan’s age … old enough to be his grandparents.
Sarah Ellis, Choir Member: “I think it’s pretty amazing. I know when I his age, I don’t think that anything like that would have even been on my radar.”
But reaching across the generations, the choir members have a special bond.
Ron Jones, Choir Member: “The hour that we spend together every Tuesday night is, I would say, about half serious and about half bantering back and forth.”
Choir practices: “Good. Perfect. Done.”
Ryan also held a recital that raised two-thousand dollars for church renovations.
The Rev. Janet Steger, Mt. Gretna United Methodist Church: “Because he is so talented, the adults in this church treat him with a lot of respect. And I don’t know that we always treat and honor our children and our youth with a lot of respect.”
He wants to pursue a doctorate degree in music. By then, Ryan will even have a driver’s license so other choir members at Mt. Gretna won’t have to drive him home.
Ryan Brunkhurst, Teen Choir Director: “If I wasn’t the organist here and if I didn’t use my talents in a good way, I just can’t imagine that. I mean, when God gives you something like that, how can you not use it.”
Ryan Brunkhurst hopes to keep playing for churches and possibly teach after he finishes college. And even with the time he spends with his music, he still keeps a perfect grade-point average in his high school.
You can contact Mt. Gretna United Methodist Church at 717-964-3241.
Also, see: Teen musician steps up to lead church choir