John M. Edgerton
John serves as an Associate Minister, with a focus on how we live out our faith beyond the church's doors. John is a board member for the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, focusing on broad-based, interfaith, multi-racial community organizing. John supervises Old South Church's seminary interns and mentors people seeking to become ministers. Since 2013, John has written for the UCC's Stillspeaking Writer's Group, contributing to the daily denomination-wide morning devotional. John received his M. Div. from the University of Chicago Divinity School, focusing on biblical studies, preaching, and the intersection of faith and public life.
Originally from Chicago, John and his Brooklyn-born wife, Heather, live in West Roxbury. They love life in the city and are excited to have another great American metropolis to explore together. Their household is complemented by an elderly cat who sneezes a good deal more than most. In the evenings, John will most likely be found in the kitchen cooking dinner. For fun, Heather and John play a wide variety of German board games which eliminate the element of chance. But now that they have a young daughter they spend their free time exploring the big questions. Questions like where, exactly, the wild things are and why dragons love tacos but hate spicy salsa.
June R. Cooper
June is the Executive Director of City Mission which is the second oldest nonprofit organization in the country. City Mission (formerly City Mission Society) was formed in 1816 to carry out social justice in Boston. She has over thirty years of management experience in health and human services and community organizing. She managed the Boston Health Start program, which has been credited with significantly decreasing the infant mortality rate in the City of Boston in the late 90’s. She has served as a consultant to nonprofit and governmental sectors locally and nationally.
June has held academic appointments at Boston College School of Social Work, Boston University School of Social Work, Andover-Newton Theological School and Simmons College. She has served as a diversity consultant to Fortune 500 organizations around the county.
She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Newton College of the Sacred Heart, a Master of Social Planning from Boston College School of Social Work and a Master in Divinity from Andover Newton Theological School.
She is an ordained American Baptist minister and she has standing in the United Church of Christ. June is also the Theologian in the City at Old South Church in Boston, MA. In this role June is engaging the congregation in the life of the city.
June values the promise of what can be accomplished by mobilizing people of good faith to overcome social injustice She lives in Boston and is a model train enthusiast.
Nancy S. Taylor
Nancy S. Taylor has served since 2005 as the 20th senior minister and chief executive officer of Old South Church. The dual nature of this role reflects Old South’s dual identity as both a thriving urban church, and an historic leadership institution in Boston (and, as such, steward of storied events and personages, of a National Historic Landmark Building, as well as collections of rare books and silver).
Under Nancy’s leadership, Old South Church has grown remarkably in ways measurable (worship services, attendance, participation, programming, national profile, financial stewardship) and immeasurable (there is a palpably spirited ‘buzz” at the church, a sense of excitement and joy in the work we are doing). The Church, recognized in 2011 as a United Church of Christ (UCC) “Center for Excellence,” has grown in its vocation as a teaching church and developed an exciting Vision for the 21st Century in which it is engaged. The Church has exercised ecumenical and interfaith leadership, for instance, in hosting worship services on the inauguration of Deval Patrick as Governor, convening the leadership who planned services and events on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, addressing growing instances of Islamaphobia, and ministering to the city following the bombings at the Boston Marathon Finish Line.
Nancy describes her enthusiasm for the ministry of Old South Church: “To enter the life of Old South Church is to step into and become a part of a great stream of history. You stand in the same waters as Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams and Phillis Wheatley. You take your place in the movement of God’s people that goes back to Abraham and Sarah and wends its way down through the ages. It is humbling and thrilling. To ask ‘To what is God calling us in this age?’ is to hear the echoes of prior ages. You want to measure yourself by the great ones who have come before. You want to rise to the moment and to serve God in this time. Such is the pull of Old South Church.”
Nancy studied at Macalester College (B.A.), Yale Divinity School (M.Div.) and Chicago Theological Seminary (D. Min.). Before her call to Old South Church, she served as Minister and President of the Massachusetts Conference of the UCC (2001-2005). During this time, Nancy was instrumental in introducing the legislation making clergy mandated reporters of suspected child abuse; worked to establish a public voice for the UCC; supervised a $1.5 million Lilly Endowment grant for pastoral excellence program; hosted Freedom Schooner Amistad’s visit to Boston Harbor; and worked with inter-religious leaders in the aftermath of 9/11.
Nancy has served churches in Idaho, Connecticut, and Maine. She co-founded the Idaho Human Rights Education Center (see Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial and Idaho Voices of Faith for Human Rights). During her tenure as Senior Minister of First Congregational Church in Boise, Idaho, Nancy was instrumental in efforts that successfully defeated two anti-gay ballot initiatives and helped to secure a minimum wage for Idaho farm workers. She was Moderator of the General Synod of the UCC (1999-2001), the highest elected volunteer position in the denomination.
Nancy’s ministry has been recognized through several awards and honors: The Andy Gustafson Generosity Award (2017), The Rabbi Murray I. Rothman Award for outstanding inter-religious leadership (2011); Yale Divinity School’s award for Distinction in Congregational Ministry (2009); the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry Building Bridges Award (2006); the Hewlett Packard Award for Distinguished Leadership in Human Rights (1999); Macalester College’s George W. Davis Memorial Prize in Religion (1981). She was named among the Boston Globe’s “Best of the New Faces” (2005) and has been awarded honorary degrees by Piedmont College (2015), New England School of Law (2010), and Albertson College of Idaho (1998).
Nancy co-chairs the Dean’s Advisory Council at Yale Divinity School. She is an independent trustee of Pax World Funds, the oldest socially responsible mutual fund listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and is chair of the Funds’ Governance Committee. She serves on the Advisory Boards of both Hebrew College’s Miller Center for Interreligious Life and Boston College’s Center for Religion in American Public Life. She is a trustee of the Old South Meeting House, and trustee emeritus of the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology.
Donald A. Wells
Don has been Old South’s Theologian-in-Residence since September 2008, teaching classes in Christian spirituality and theology. Don is a Pastoral Theologian whose life and ministry have been immersed in the church, both local and ecumenical. His experience and academic background provide an important perspective on the intersection of faith and contemporary life. Don’s series of "On the Road" articles, which have appeared in various Old South Church publications, explore familiar biblical themes through new lenses.
Don is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, and has served as pastor of three churches in Massachusetts: Cambridge, Lexington and Melrose. He also taught for a semester at Boston University and co-managed The International Fellowship House, Boston, while completing his Ph.D. dissertation at Boston University’s Graduate School.
Prior to his work at Old South Church, Don was the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Bible Society (MBS), a progressive educational agency working to promote biblical literacy as well as a better understanding of the biblical imperatives for justice and reconciliation. A major focus of his work at MBS was to increase awareness of the multiple voices embedded in the biblical texts and of the voices of people at home and around the world who are reading those texts, including feminists, Womanists, and all who have traditionally been marginalized. He served MBS for 19 years and was named Emeritus in 2007.
In recognition of his creative ministry, MBS Trustees established a Preaching Prize in his name. The award is given annually to a student from any of the Boston area theological schools who prepares the best sermon on a biblically based social justice theme.
Don has served on numerous boards and commissions and currently holds memberships in The American Academy of Religion and The Society of Biblical Literature. He is a Field Education Supervisor at Harvard Divinity School and an Associate Member of the Iona Community. His articles and reviews have appeared in both scholarly and popular publications.
Don, with his late wife, Elizabeth Granlund Wells, parented two children and he now has four wonderful grandchildren. He has been known to play a spirited game of tennis, enjoys reading, writing, cooking (basic!), and hiking the back shore of Great Cranberry Isle, Maine, where he serves as Pastor of the Island’s Church each August.
James W. Crawford
James W. Crawford began his ministry at Old South Church in the spring of 1974. Upon his retirement in 2002, the congregation voted unanimously to grant him the honorary title Senior Minister Emeritus. He continues to compose sermons for an annual preacher’s liturgical resource, The Minister’s Manual, and to preach on occasion at Old South. Jim and his wife, Linda Lovett Crawford, have four children and fifteen grandchildren. They are avid travelers and devoted members of Red Sox Nation, and reside in Lincoln, MA.
During Jim’s nearly twenty-eight years of ministry at Old South, the congregation undertook an outreach perspective, contributing resources, money and church space to support justice and reconciliation projects and agencies that others could not—or would not—support. Jim no sooner arrived at Old South than Boston found itself plunged into a citywide school desegregation effort. Jim enlisted in that effort, riding buses with school children across the city and opening the church to meetings in efforts to bring residents and parents from different neighborhoods together to help resolve the crisis. He makes no claims for any success in his engagement in this project. The desegregation plan and its implementation met furious resistance, and the city still lives with the memories and current realities of that major civic upheaval and effort to promote educational justice.
In the early 1990s, an informal gathering of members, friends and staff of Old South began meeting to promote a more affirmative welcome to persons who happened to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. This group composed “A Note on the Inclusive Dimensions of God’s Grace” as a testament to the church’s commitment to an “open door” in God’s name, which aligned Old South with other congregations in the United Church of Christ known as “Open and Affirming Congregations.”
Among other things, Jim chaired the committee that brought The New Century Hymnal into existence, and served during a significant renovation and refurbishment effort at Old South that saw a restoration of the Sanctuary interior to its original design and the installation of the E.M. Skinner, Opus 308, orchestral organ (which was brought from St. Paul, Minnesota). This significant change in the ambience of the nave earned the church and its contractor several noteworthy architectural and construction awards.
Jim is the composer of a number of hymn texts, and is author of the book Worthy to Raise Issues, Preaching and Public Responsibility. Jim has also taught courses in urban mission and preaching at Andover Newton Theological School.
Ken Orth leads Healing Worship at Old South on the second Sunday of each month at 10 a.m. Ordained in 1976, he became a Fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors in 1980. Ken’s life-long journey has been one of living into God’s vision of inclusive, healing love for all people. Growing up in South Dakota in the UCC offered possibility and hope in the most unlikely of circumstances. He is also the pastoral counseling and spiritual direction affiliate of the First Congregational Church of Winchester (UCC).
Ken was joyfully married to his husband, George Paoluicci at Old South Church in 2004. They have now shared 44 years of life together, with God offering new surprises of grace, healing and love at every turn. Ken loves poetry, comedy, singing, and exploring new places with George. Gratefulness abounds!
David was born and grew up in rural Georgia. He was the fourth child of five in a family for whom the church was the center of life. He received a BA from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia and a Master of Divinity from Southeastern Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He served as pastor to two churches in Georgia and North Carolina before doing Hospital Chaplain work in Atlanta before retiring . He moved to New England ten years ago to work in Consumer Financial Services.
A second retirement gave him the opportunity to join the Wedding Staff here at Old South. He enjoys the work of meeting new couples and helping them get ready for their new life together.
David also sings in the Chancel Choir at Old South and the Boston Gay Mens Chorus. He also enjoys volunteering and singing with The Revels.
David is happy to be part of a vibrant inner city church which honors the best in all people. Old South has a wonderful history of service and David is happy to be serving God at Old South.
Katherine A. Schofield
Katherine is the Interim Associate Minister at Old South Church. Her primary areas of responsibility are Thursday Night Jazz Worship, Christian Formation, small group communities and congregational care. Katherine is passionate about relationships and believes that it is through our interactions with creation, including other people, that we come to understand more about God, ourselves and how we are to live in the world. Taking a walk through the woods, serving at a soup kitchen, singing a spiritual, and participating in an interfaith dialog can each bring us closer to God and to our neighbor in authentic and valuable ways. Katherine seeks to help cultivate those opportunities for connection in the life of Old South Church.
Before joining the leadership at Old South, Katherine served as Interim Minister in the Memorial Church at Harvard University, and prior to that she served as the Pastor of the First Congregational Church of Wareham for four years. From 2011-2014 Katherine served as the Minister for Campus Engagement at United University Church in Los Angeles, and as a staff member of the Office of Religious Life at the University of Southern California. She was also a contributing author and editorial assistant for the book Interfaith Just Peacemaking: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives on the New Paradigm of Peace and War (Thistlethwaite et al. 2012). Katherine is a graduate of Hamilton College with a Bachelor of the Arts in Religious Studies, and received her Master of Divinity degree from Chicago Theological Seminary.
Jamie has a background in social justice and climate change communications. Before coming to Old South, she served as the Communications Manager at Boston-based nonprofits Climate XChange and Climate Action Business Association. Jamie graduated from Tulane University with a degree in Environmental Studies. During her time in New Orleans she co-founded Tulane's fossil fuel divestment campaign, served as Facilitation Team member of the grassroots Gulf South Rising movement and Leadership Team member of 350 Louisiana, and worked at the Tulane Office of Sustainability. In Massachusetts she has worked on campaigns to stop new natural gas infrastructure, organized in solidarity with Native communities fighting fossil fuels, co-founded a bottled water ban campaign, and worked with the leadership development program Climate Summer. In her free time, Jamie likes to see live music, ride her bike, and hang out with her cat, Charlie.
Corey Spence, Old South Church’s Weekday Receptionist, joined the staff in November 2009. Prior to coming to Old South, Corey worked at the Arlington Street Church as Assistant to the Senior Minister, and during his travels across the country, worked as an Administrative Assistant at the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, TX. Corey is a member of Saint Mary's Church in Rockport, MA and sings in the choir there. He is a member of the Old South Ringers. He is also an officer of the Massachusetts State Grange. Corey and his husband Christopher reside in Rockport, MA. In his free time he likes to go for walks, garden, knit, and read.
Ruby Reyes is a public education advocate. Born and raised on a small farm in South Texas, she spent ten years with The City School, a social justice youth education non-profit, first as development staff and then as Co-Executive Director. There she developed an innovative shared leadership model that institutionalized youth leadership and voice in all parts of the organization from the board to staffing. In November 2017, Ruby became the Director of the Boston Education Justice Alliance, sharing in public education advocacy. She also serves as the Massachusetts Adult Literacy Hotline Coordinator, connecting adult learners to education resources across the state. She has a B.A. in Communications with a concentration in Journalism and Literature from Emerson College and is fluent in Spanish.
Helen is responsible for a wide range of administrative responsibilities, including the scheduling all activities in the church’s buildings, managing the church database, and supervising the administrative support staff. She appreciates the uniting of avocation and vocation that comes from working at Old South. Helen has spent the last 30 years working in administration with nonprofit/faith-based organizations. Though she hails from the South and many generations of Episcopalians, Helen has lived in New England since 1993 and been an Old Souther since 1999. Helen lives in Boston with her husband John and their cat Finbar.
Rebecca has worn many hats at Old South Church, from Pre-School Godly Play Storyteller, to Ministerial Intern, all the while working as the Administrative Assistant to both Helen McCrady and Linda Van Praet. Rebecca enjoys working with people of all ages and backgrounds, which is what makes Church life so attractive to her. She is a graduate of Boston University’s School of Theology and is also serving Payson Park Church in Belmont, MA as their Youth and Community Outreach Minister.
Rebecca loves the sunny hot days, but commutes by bicycle all year long, whether rain or shine. She calls Boston her home, even though she was born and raised in Zurich, Switzerland.
Allison Moreland Albaugh, is an interior designer, and an aqua aerobics and aqua arthritis Instructor. She has planned a lot of events and parties, and loves to connect with people for a happy occasion. She’s a member of Old South, is on the Operations Committee and serves as the Wedding Coordinator.
Betsy Wooster is a third year MDiv candidate at Boston University School of Theology and is a member in discernment for ordination in the United Church of Christ. She recently completed an internship at the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life at Wellesley College, where she worked with the Protestant chaplaincy and the student multifaith council. Prior to moving to Massachusetts, Betsy served as the director of spiritual formation at Fairmount Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, Ohio, a role which affirmed her call to ordained ministry.
Betsy is delighted about the opportunity to serve at Old South. Her love of the music, liturgy, and rituals of worship inspire her interest in the broader narrative of the religious and spiritual life, and she finds that it is through our worship practices that we become most aligned in our love for God and neighbor.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Betsy lives in Wellesley with her husband, Matt, who serves as senior minister at the Wellesley Hills Congregational Church. Their sons, James and Sam, live and work in Cleveland, Ohio, so there is much visiting back and forth as the family gets to make the great city of Boston home, while keeping roots in the midwest! Home life revolves around cooking good food, talking endlessly about movies, books, music, and comedy…because we all think we’re pretty funny.
Children & Youth
As Youth and Young Adult Ministries Leader, Martha coordinates, organizes, and teaches middle and high schoolers in Youth Group and 20- and 30-somethings in the Young Adult cohort. She is focused on nurturing fellowship, service, and theology across age groups, and wants to help folks stay connected to their community and the church. She takes joy in the brilliance, hilarity, and weirdness that comes with working with young people.
A member of Old South since 2016, Martha is passionate about empowering young voices, gender and sexuality justice, and diving deeper into her own faith. A former journalist, she believes that words have power, and that everyone should have a chance to tell their story.
Martha graduated from Emerson College with a B.S. in Journalistic Writing for Social Advocacy, a self-designed major. In her free time, she cuddles with her guinea pig (Teddy), enjoys her neighborhood (Union Square), and watches TV (queer-representative, preferably!).
Since 1979, Carolyn has directed our weekday program for young children ages 2-5 years at our Old South Preschool. Many years ago, the church historian identified the founding year of the school as 1947. However, a recent review of historical documents by Senior Minister, Nancy Taylor, noted it originated in 1942, "as a means of providing childcare so that mothers can participate in the Tuesday [Women's] Guild work (part-missionary work, and part-war effort)." Carolyn began as director one year after the school expanded its schedules to 2 - 5 days. Together with a team of seven or eight teachers, interns, volunteers, and parents, she guides the education and care of the children, and provides support and learning opportunities about the social, emotional, physical, and cognitive realms for parents. The particular focus of the school on relationship-building is a key component for continuously extending knowledge and developing camaraderie in the Old South community. The Preschool has been fortunate to work with Lesley University's Threshold Program for young adults with diverse learning differences, making a three-decades-long commitment and becoming the recipient of the inaugural Founder's Award in 2017.
Carolyn is energized as she expands her base with an array of experiences related to families. They include teaching adults in Continuing Education courses, serving on neighborhood elementary schools' Boards of Trustees, collaborating with Heads of a group of downtown elementary schools and preschools, broadening access of early childhood education through service with community organizations, and doing extensive training in Parenting Education. She and the teaching teams joined forces to author a detailed descriptive document (Preschool in Action: Fundamental Nature of the Program) distributed online and in-house. It provides parent and teacher testimonials, a philosophical overview, a selected resource list of books, online links, and videos about children's learning. Carolyn often acknowledges the joy of connecting with young children: "Children are inspiring. I love being a witness as they construct knowledge through challenging engagement, and reveal their diverse ways of thinking." In her work with parents, she is an enthusiastic advocate for them to strengthen their skills and understand theories that increase positive interactions with their children during challenging times.
Passions and interests are wide and varied. Music, theater, museums, road trips, especially those through mountainous areas, book groups, and sports of all kinds give her a terrific boost. As a docent for a walking tour group for several summers, she enhanced her knowledge of local architecture and affirms that she is very intrigued by the process of developing structural designs. Carolyn has lived in the Boston area long enough now that she can finally identify it as home when asked about that, even as the years in Minnesota, Tennessee and the Carolinas have a grip on a distinctive spot in the collective home.
Kate Nintcheu has served as our Director of Children & Family Ministries since 2014, leading a team of staff and volunteers who teach church school classes, provide safe and reliable childcare, and lead our students in music and worship arts. She serves on the Christian Formation committee, hosts all-church inter-generational activities, and works to equip and encourage parents as the primary faith leaders to their children. Kate comes to us from the United Methodist faith tradition after studying literature in undergrad and receiving her M.Div from Candler School of Theology at Emory University. In her free time, Kate enjoys cooking, knitting, and spending time at home.
Amy Budka has been a part of the Old South Church family since 1991. Amy holds a bachelor's degree in percussion performance from the New England Conservatory, and a Masters in Music Education from the Boston Conservatory. She enjoys playing all styles of drumming, and performs when time permits with various community music ensembles, including the Boston Civic Symphony, the Wellesley Symphony and the Metropolitan Wind Symphony. During the week she teaches music, jazz band, choral and theater arts to middle school students in Bedford, MA.
As Senior Sexton, Elias is the magician behind the scenes, directing all of Old South’s building setup and maintenance operations. Elias was born and raised in the rough streets of Brooklyn. In Elias’s words, “My father always held two full-time jobs, one of them being a building superintendent. I graduated from high school but never went on to college, and instead held a job with my father’s company. I picked up all my skills from him.” In 1991, Elias moved to Boston and took up a position as a building superintendant, but began looking for a new opportunity a few years later. “In 1996, I came upon an ad for a ‘Church Sexton.’ I grabbed my dictionary to look up this strange term. It was like opening up the Bible—like a voice saying I could do this! I’ve been here ever since, and love being a part of this beautiful thing called Old South Church!”
As Building Manager David is responsible for a wide variety of activities to keep Old South Church functioning. Activities include scheduling maintenance, working with contractors and vendors as well as being the Church's representative with capital projects. He also serves on the Operations Committee at Old South. David has had a wide ranging career from working as a research microbiologist, a corporate communications specialist, and a marketing executive in the biopharmaceutical industry. In addition to his work at Old South David is also a member of common cathedral, a non-profit organization providing support and outreach to unhoused and low-income individuals in the greater Boston area. As part of his responsibilities with common cathedral he manages the BostonWarm program which was started at Old South in 2015. David lives in Watertown with his wife Allison and enjoys cooking, reading, classic movies, and traveling.
Peter Coulombe directs the Old South Ringers, our handbell choir, which plays about once a month from September to June. Some of the ringers have been playing since childhood, others just picked up a bell for the first time this year. Peter loves how the Ringers embody the open door spirit of Old South in its own unique way – everyone has a place at the Ringers’ table.
Peter has been directing, ringing in, or founding handbell groups in various church, community, and university settings for over twenty-five years and has called the Old South Ringers his handbell home since 2003. In addition to being a past guest conductor of the Boston Handbell Festival, he has also been the guest conductor at the Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire Spring Rings.
Peter and many of the Old South Ringers have been active members of the Area 1 (New England and Eastern Canada) region of the Handbell Musicians of America. Peter has frequently served as a clinician and mini-concert master of ceremonies at the biennial Festival Conference.
Peter is a graduate of Yale College and Cornell Law School. When he is not spending time at the bell tables, he serves as the Regional Director of the Boston/Metro Child Support Enforcement office.
A native of southwest Virginia, Mitchell Crawford received his earliest musical instruction as a member of the Montgomery County Boychoir. Formative study with pianist Mary Louise Hallauer of Virginia Tech and organist Richard Cummins of Greene Memorial Church, Roanoke, cemented his desire to pursue a career in music. His undergraduate studies were with Paul Jacobs at The Juilliard School in New York City, where he was admitted with Presidential Distinction and obtained the Bachelor of Music degree in Organ Performance. During his time in New York, he served The City Church as Organist before accepting a similar position at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. Following Fifth Avenue’s bicentennial in 2008, he was asked to serve the church as Interim Director of Music Ministries, a position he would ultimately occupy for more than three years.
Mitchell next earned the Master of Music in Choral Conducting as a student of Dr. André J. Thomas at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, where he was awarded a teaching fellowship. He was for two years a member of the University’s Early Music Ensemble and Cantores Musicæ Antiquæ, performing with them as soloist during the 2013 Early Music America Young Performers Festival in Boston. Following graduate study, he went on to serve congregations in The Woodlands, Texas and in Fort Worth.
As a recitalist, Mitchell has been fortunate to present concerts in many venues along the east coast, including Harvard and Princeton Universities, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, New York, and numerous churches. Though his education has primarily been in performance, he is fascinated by the history of music, and has pursued advanced studies in musicology and music theory. He is executor for the musical estate of the late Calvin Hampton, whose music he champions.
In his leisure time, Mitchell enjoys arranging and transcribing music, and has made a number of transcriptions for organ of orchestral repertoire. He has a great fondness for nature, looks forward to football season, and never misses a meal. He is immensely proud of his dog, Dale, with whom he enjoys adventuring as often as possible.
Willie Sordillo has been the Music Coordinator for the Thursday evening Jazz Worship service since its inception in the fall of 2005. A professional musician for over 40 years, Willie has been at various and often overlapping points, a solo singer/songwriter, a member of a Latin American nueva canción ensemble, a jazz musician, a member of a band which backs up a James Brown impersonator, a teacher, composer, and workshop leader. He has written theme music for several independent films, and one of his co-arrangements was used on the television show ER. The band Flor de Caña, which he co-led, was a three time Boston Music Award winner and their album, Bailando en la muralla, was a top 10 hit on the Billboard World Music chart. He has toured extensively throughout North and Latin America as well as other parts of the globe. He frequently brings jazz worship to UCC and other churches throughout New England on Sunday mornings and for two years collaborated with four ordained clergy to develop an independent creative worship service in Framingham called OpenSpirit. For 11 years, Willie served as Administrative Assistant to the Minister and President of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ, and for three he was Administrator of a national clergy development organization funded by the Lilly Endowment called the Pastoral Excellence Network. Currently, Willie works full-time as a musician. In addition to church, jazz and freelance work, his primary performing settings are a duo with vocalist Zoë Krohne and as a member of the eight piece funk/soul/R&B group, The RPS Band.
Willie has a long history as an activist for peace, human rights and justice causes. This passion has often led him to organize fundraising concerts, and he frequently performs at benefits, rallies and demonstrations. His commitment to gender and identity equality led him to found a collective which released a groundbreaking recording in 1979 called Walls to Roses: Songs of Changing Men. This recording was followed up 10 years later with an AIDS benefit CD entitled Feeding the Flame: Songs by Men to End AIDS. He has appeared on numerous other recordings as a leader, sideman and producer. His most recent recording as a leader is a jazz outing called echoing.
Willie is married to Jenny Allen. Jenny's daughter, Isobel Allen-Floyd, lives in Vancouver, BC and Los Angeles, and has worked in the music business, most notably as a personal assistant to Wynton Marsalis. Jenny and Willie's younger daughter, Nina, graduated from UMass Amherst in 2016 and lives in Waltham. The family is rounded out by a cat, Simon, and a dog, Coco.
Old South's Gospel Choir is directed by Tim Harbold, Professor of Music and Choral Director at Wheaton College in Norton, MA. Tim has conducted the Wheaton Chorale and Chamber Singers since 1995 in repertoire ranging from classical masterworks to world folk songs, spirituals, and jazz. Throughout his career, Tim has had a love of gospel music. At Wheaton his choirs collaborate frequently with gospel artists such as Donnell Patterson, Jonathan Singleton, Phillip Woods, and Horace Clarence Boyer. In addition Tim has directed Gospel Choirs at the United Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain, at UMass Dartmouth, and now at Old South Church, where the gospel choir recently performed for Gov. Baker, Senators Warren and Markey, and Mayor Walsh at the 2018 Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast. Harbold’s arrangements of spirituals and folk songs have been performed by all-state choruses, premiered by groups such as the New England Conservatory Chorus, and published by Hinshaw Music, Santa Barbara Music Publishing, and E.C. Schirmer. As a pianist, Mr. Harbold specializes in American song, performing frequently with vocalist Valerie Anastasio. The duo have paired with Benjamin Sears and Bradford Conner to create several shows celebrating Cole Porter, Noel Coward, Irving Berlin and other composers. Performed throughout New England and New York, these shows resulted in several CDs and a nomination for Best Cabaret performance by the Independent Reviewers of New England. Mr. Harbold studied music at Williams College, and conducting at New England Conservatory, where he was a student of Tamara Brooks and an Assistant to Lorna DeVaron.
As Associate Organist & Choirmaster, George shares a wide range of duties for Old South’s music ministry. He has lived in the Boston area since he began his graduate studies and has been on the staff of Old South since September 2005.
In addition to his work at Old South, George is also the Assistant Organist of Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church in Sudbury. Prior to serving at Old South, he was the Interim Director of Music and Organist at Boston's Church of the Covenant, and was also the Director of Music and Organist at Memorial Congregational Church in Sudbury (1999-2003) and the Organist of Fisk Memorial United Methodist Church in Natick (1988-1999).
George is a native of upstate New York and began studying organ while he was in high school. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Ashland College (now Ashland University) in Ashland, Ohio, a Master of Sacred Music degree from Boston University School of Theology, and an Artist Diploma in Organ Performance from Longy School of Music in Cambridge. His organ teachers have included Charles Hickman, John Gilbert, John Ferris, and Peter Sykes.