Although my memory isn’t especially clear on this, this clipping from an early 1954 Houston Chronicle article shows that my sister, my cousin, and I (among others age 6) “took attendance honors” for the Carol Choir of St. Luke’s. Eighteen months later, my family moved away from Houston.
My next St. Luke’s memory was in 1965 while visiting Rice University as a college option. My family sat in the balcony and I was in awe of the amazing church service. The choir procession and the music really caught my attention. I also remember being unable to figure out where the organ was located.
As the Fall Semester at Rice began, I considered visiting several churches before settling on one, and, because of my earlier childhood history, I visited St. Luke’s first, including St. Luke’s Chancel Choir during the first choir rehearsal of October 1965, and then never got around to visiting any others. (Interestingly, the Associate Organist at the time was an amazingly gifted young musician named Rob Landes.)
Having had only one year of piano lessons in the 4th grade, clarinet in high school band, and NO church music experience, I found the music at St. Luke’s astounding. Still do, as a matter of fact.
This discovery sparked an enduring interest in sacred music, but a heavy academic load at Rice (followed by 3½ years of graduate school plus 2 years in the U.S. Navy) interfered with any focused pursuit, so I was able only to putter with trying to improve my keyboard skills.
Upon returning to Houston permanently in 1975, ready to begin full-time practice and teaching of endodontics (yes, I’m a dentist in real life), I began to take organ lessons from St. Luke’s then-Organist/Choirmaster Robert Bennett. One day in Summer 1977, he asked me if I would play the organ prelude and processional hymn. Any prior wild idea that someday I may find myself playing the Pillot Memorial Organ for this choir in this church was beyond inconceivable, but strangely it happened – further evidence that God moves in mysterious ways. Over the ensuing years, I was asked to play more and more, and eventually was appointed Assistant, then Associate Organist at St. Luke’s, which continued through the Spring of 2018, when our wonderful “new” Associate Organist, Jim Roman came aboard. I still sing in the Chancel choir, now 54+ years since joining in October 1965. (Do the math.)
St. Luke’s is one of the greatest blessings in my multi-blessed life.