One of the catch phrases I often use both verbally and in print is that “Trinity Church has a long history of excellent music”. As I enter my 20th year as Trinity’s music director and my 28th year on the staff, I am reminded that my seemingly lengthy tenure here is really not that unusual. My dear friend and colleague, Betsy Crenshaw has been here a year and a half longer than I have. And before the two of us were Mary Holsinger and Jim Laster, each of whom began work here in the early 1970’s and served Trinity Church for similarly long periods of time. Mary was the Parish Administrator and Jim the Organist/Choirmaster when Betsy and I started, and we overlapped with both of them for several years.
Dr. James Laster came to Winchester and began work on the faculty of Shenandoah Conservatory and Trinity Church in 1973. He retired from Trinity in 1999 and from the college in 2000. Dr. Laster is an accomplished organist, choral conductor, author, and composer. Throughout his 25 years at Trinity he built and maintained a reputation for excellent music which we still benefit from today.
After almost 20 years of active retirement in the Winchester area, Jim and his wife, Madlon, are moving to Delaware to be near their son and grandchildren. As a parting gesture and in recognition of his significant contributions to the artistic life of this community, the Winchester Chapter of the American Guild of Organists is sponsoring a concert of Dr. Laster’s compositions, many of which were written for or at Trinity Church, on Sunday, October 21 at 4:00, at First Baptist Church in Winchester. Our own Richard McPherson will be providing much of the organ accompaniment and the combined choir will include members of the Arts Chorale of Winchester, and the Cantus Singers from Shenandoah Conservatory.
During this time of transition, as Trinity Church continues to grow and move forward, it is important to remember those who came before us and on who’s work our successes are built. We are grateful for the many years of service Jim Laster dedicated to our church and hope that many of you might pay tribute to him by attending this wonderful concert.