Get to Know Jason Moore, DPC’s new Director of Music and the Arts
September 3, 2021
After a four-month, nationwide search, DPC’s new Director of Music and the Arts was found right near our doorstep – in Bucks County.
Jason Moore joined our staff in August after serving as Music Director at Newtown Presbyterian Church for more than a decade.
According to David Fryling, moderator of the search committee, Jason’s experience and passionate attitude led to his selection.
“After listening to many on-line examples of his work and two Zoom interviews, we invited Jason for an in-person interview which included a rehearsal with a small group comprised of members of the search committee and Chancel Choir,” added David. “As a former choir director, I was particularly pleased with the improvement I heard in our choral sound during this short time together. The committee strongly felt that Jason has the skills necessary to continue to build the music and arts programs at DPC.”
Shortly after Jason was hired, he sat down with us to answer some questions, and offer some insight into his faith, spirit, and outlook.
Welcome to DPC, Jason! Tell us a little about your background.
I grew up in Central Pennsylvania – Huntingdon County. From there I moved around a bit. I was in New England for a while. I went to grad school in Arizona which is where met my wife Chloe. And from there we moved to Philly. In 2008, we moved into Fishtown. I had been working at my previous job (at Newtown Presbyterian Church) for 12 years. We moved to Upper Bucks County about two years ago, so I am actually reducing my commute (laughs).
What did you know about Doylestown Presbyterian Church prior to applying for this position?
Over the years, working in Bucks County, I was familiar with the music ministry at DPC. I actually went to grad school with (former DPC Director of Music and the Arts) David Fitzpatrick. My last year at Arizona was his first year so we kind of crossed paths. I was aware of what he was doing (at DPC) and the size and scale of the program he was running, but having lived in Philly during most of my time at Newtown, I wasn’t really coming up to Bucks County for anything other than work. I’m still not terribly familiar with Doylestown so it’s going to be a transition for me learning my way around town.
How did the interview process go with the search committee?
The committee was great. Most of the process happened on Zoom and it’s not always easy to make a stranger feel comfortable talking in this format and they were great about it. They were warm, they were welcoming, there was some humor. It was a positive process – which made me feel really good in accepting the position when it finally came time to do that as well. Spending 12 years in my last job – it’s tough to leave; tough to walk away from those connections. And having really gotten to know the committee through the process made that easier.
What initial challenges do you foresee as you get started here?
The challenge, I think, coming in at this point, both with taking over the position as well as the process happening during COVID, is that I haven’t met most of the choir members, or the bell choirs, or the kids. It’s basically been the committee and a dozen or so singers that were there at the audition. My first priority is to get to know folks. I will be making phone calls and having coffee with folks and just gauging their comfort level on coming back so that I can plan and make an impact, which is the goal. These initial conversations of getting to know people will be so important.
With so much uncertainty over the past year and a half due to COVID, leading a music was no easy task. How were you able to adjust?
It is tough because one of the concerns was keeping people engaged – both the general congregation and the vocal and bell choirs. Bell choir sort of swooped in an saved the day for churches all over during COVID. I had my full bell choir on board with social distanced rehearsals and a lot of videotaped content that we’d put out in worship and weekly meditations. Newtown was fortunate in having an outside space; a second building, our historic church. So we were able to do some social distanced, masked, outdoor services when a lot of churches weren’t able to open. I had a small group of about 6 who were comfortable coming in and singing masked to put together some easier anthems. So I was able to conduct a small choir, in addition to the bells, during that period.
We were doing 3 reflections each week online, and I was able to take one and call it “Music Monday” and we’d offer a piece of music either by a volunteer, or the organist, or myself, or the bell choir. It was similar to what you were doing with Bridges and Beacons.
Like your previous Music Director Mark (Helms), early on, there was realization that the job I was hired to do, wasn’t really needed at the time so I also made that transition to filming and editing videos.
How has this time been for you and your wife?
We actually moved out of Philly two years ago this month. We actually ended up moving in a week before COVID started being a thing. So we moved from a row house in Philly to two acres in the country at exactly the right time. So we never felt claustrophobic. We’ve got a huge backyard, where we can go out and play with the dog. Looking out the window here and seeing trees and my neighbor’s pond, it turned out to be the perfect place to live through COVID. We also just became foster parents so that has been a true blessing.
Does your faith play a role in how you approach your work?
I’m Presbyterian so I kind of keep things close to the vest as they say (laughs). But it is a calling. Music ministry is a calling. It’s a job that a lot of people don’t understand. It’s harder work than I think a lot of people realize. You’re not just conducting a choir, you’re dealing with people who are dealing with their own life struggles; with family issues; with grandchildren or children who are struggling. A lot of it is building those relationships with people and getting to know them. And being there not just to conduct their choirs as a community chorus but to help them be a part of something bigger; to help them participate in something that means more than just our own presence – that we’re offering something to the congregation and to God, beyond our own needs.
What has you most excited to get started here?
Everyone – everyone – who I’ve spoken with just talks about how great the church is, how wonderful the people are, and how great Pastor John is. I kept waiting to hear about the other side of it – but there is none. Everyone just said ‘you’re going to love it.’ And I do already.
DPC is proud to offer a rich and varied music ministry with vocal and instrumental opportunities for all ages. If you are interested in learning more about our choirs or ensembles, or you wish to join, email Jason at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To get to know Jason even more, you can watch the September 1 Bridges and Beacons devotional!
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