Singing a New Song means engaging with your worship community through music. In this keynote address, Gage Purdy and Thomas Conroy will offer music resources and music-making solutions for interim minsters to share with their congregations. Through a sequence of encouragement — social and spiritual— leading to service, Gage and Tom will demonstrate how you, the interim minister, might engage with your congregation and community. In what ways might you lead or delegate the music-making in an interim scenario where there is a music-making void? What happens if the ministry of music depends solely on you as the interim minister? Yes, there will be singing, and we will also explore communal spoken word. We might even clap our hands and stomp our feet. In small group sessions, you will have an opportunity to share your concerns and unique experiences. In this opening plenary, Singing a New Song, together we begin to discover the sound of a joyful music ministry in your context.


Dr. Thomas Martin Conroy studies theology in the Master of Divinity (2024) program at Virginia Theological Seminary. Tom, an Episcopalian, had a strong Catholic upbringing comprising the Maronite-Lebanese and Roman rites. His current focus is on the Anglican Global Communion, ecumenism, inter-faith dialogue, and interim ministry training and family systems. He has sung professionally with the choir of St. Bartholomew’s in New York, with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, and with the Houston Chamber Choir. To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Houston Chamber Choir, Tom composed the text and music for This Is Why I Sing, an anthem for mixed chorus which has been featured several times on NPR. In addition to his work in classical and church music, Tom has acted and conducted on five national tours and in regional theaters all around the country. He is a “Johnnie” i.e. a graduate of St. John’s College (Santa Fe) Great Books Masters Program. Tom earned the American Guild of Organists Associate (AAGO) and Colleague (CAGO) certificates during the height of the pandemic under the tutelage of Dr. Ann Labounsky at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He completed his masters degree in composition at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 2003, where he also was a faculty member from 2009 to 2013; and he earned his doctorate of musical arts in composition at Rice University in Houston, Texas in 2006. He served on the faculties of Texas A and M University, University of Houston, and Ball State University. Tom is a 2022-2024 scholar with The Society for the Increase of the Ministry. He is a member of the Compass Rose Society. He serves on the board of trustees for FOCCUS: Friends of Canterbury Cathedral United States.

Gage Purdy is a Music Director with a keen and eager passion for cultivating the emotional heart and beauty of choral music with 10+ years of organizing and motivating musicians. With a comprehensive background in varied forms of musical performance, education, and study, he aims to promote the enjoyment of choral music for both the musician and the audience. He developed a life-long love of research and learning to understand a composition in its most pure form. He believes that music is a way by which to unite people in the human experience of being close and harmonious with one another; that music fundamentally shapes the mind and changes the heart to be more joyful, more passionate, and perhaps a little better equipped to find light in our world. Gage was born and raised in beautiful Sonoma County. He has sung in many groups and director of five choirs throughout the region (California Redwood Chorale, Occidental Community Choir, Manzanita Harmony, UUCSR, and the UUCSR Justice Choir)


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