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Music Director Search

We are now accepting applications for our Music Director position. Deadline is May 31.  Check out the job description here and apply today. For questions, contact Search Chair, Kurt Wilkinson at musicsearch@stannes-reston.org.

 

Read Mtr Jess's announcement below from May 9 followed by Francisco's letter.

A Letter from Mother Jess

Beloved St. Anne’s,

 

We find ourselves again in a season of grief-joy. Francisco, our music director, was offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in a prestigious orchestral conducting doctoral program at the University of Michigan. Over 70 candidates applied and only one person is selected to study under the world renowned conductor Kenneth Kiesler. Our very own Francisco was selected this year! Please read Francisco’s letter below to learn more.

 

Francisco’s acceptance of this opportunity means his last Sunday with us will be on August 4. Spending the summer together will allow us time to open up the search process, finish the program year, enjoy VBS Camp, and have a festive send off. On Sunday August 4, during the 10 AM worship service, we will have a special musical celebration to say farewell, and send him and his family off to this next exciting chapter. 

 

We join Francisco in grieving the dream of what we hoped could be here at St. Anne’s, and we celebrate his achievement and honor to be accepted into such a prestigious program!

 

I fully believe the Holy Spirit is stirring in this unexpected transition. We never know how long our paths will cross, so we are grateful for the time, experience, and gifts we share. We received a taste of the musical potential we have in our midst today. A glimpse into the depth of quality talent embedded within us which enriches our communal worship of God. I’m curious, what gifts have you experienced? I wonder, what gifts are yet to be revealed?

 

St. Augustine is attributed to saying, when we sing we pray twice. In this grief-joy, our hearts sing out, teetering between "praise God from whom all blessings flow" and "hear thou my cry, hear thou my cry" from this Sunday's anthem, O Divine Redeemer. Together we keep singing, together we keep praying, and together we keep trusting in where God is leading us. 



Let us pray: Almighty and Eternal God, we place our trust in your loving care. So draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, that we may be lifted to your Spirit’s presence, singing a new song to you, O God. Amen.

 

Peace and blessings to you each this season of grief-joy.

The Very Rev. Jessica Holthus, Rector 
May 9, 2024

A Letter from Francisco

Dear church family,

 

There is no easy way to say this. Last November, when I was in the middle of my job search, in an attempt to diversify my options, I applied to the doctoral program in orchestral conducting at the University of Michigan. This is one of the top programs in orchestral conducting in the world, and it is extremely competitive. This was my second time applying to this program; the first time was in 2022 and it ended with a rejection. This time around, there were upwards of 70 applicants, all of them competing for only one open spot, so I didn't think I would get in. Yet recently, I got a phone call from the orchestral conducting professor, followed by an official offer letter from the university, letting me know I had been accepted into their prestigious program. I am honored to have the privilege of studying under the world-renowned Kenneth Kiesler, who will be retiring in 2 years.

 

My heart was torn and in turmoil! On one hand, orchestral conducting is my dream and life passion. (See past performances of me conducting) I never thought I would get accepted to a program of this caliber. Completing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in orchestral conducting at the University of Michigan would allow me to learn so much, gain very valuable experience, build more repertoire and connections, and in short, give me access to opportunities I don't have access to now. On the other hand, the short time I have spent at St. Anne's Episcopal Church has been an enormous blessing for me. I had already envisioned what I wanted our music program to become. I love the commitment and dedication of our choir members, and our work together, although it's been a short period of time, has already started to show some results. My dreams with them were big. Also, the support, kindness and encouragement of Mtr. Jess and everyone on the church staff have been something to be thankful for.

 

After a lot of prayer, reflection, and countless hours of conversation with my wife, I have decided to pursue this once-in-a-life-time opportunity to start the path to become a doctor in orchestral conducting. Sadly, this means that I will have to give up the opportunity to work at this wonderful church. This has been one of the hardest decisions of my life. I have been encountered with bigger life decisions in the past, but there always seemed to be a clearer and obvious path to follow. This time, I felt a big sense of responsibility with this congregation, and the idea of moving on to something else after barely having started made me feel like I was letting you all down.

 

In one of our conversations, my wife asked me a question that helped me come to this decision. She asked, in 10 or 15 years, what will you regret more? Not pursuing your orchestral conducting dream at the University of Michigan? or not keeping this wonderful job at St. Anne's Episcopal Church? Serving as music director here has been nothing short of a blessing, but the idea of regretting something later in life is what pushed me to make this very difficult decision.

 

I want to say, "thank you so much" to Mtr. Jess, our wonderful choir, everyone on our church staff, Kurt Wilkinson and the search committee, and everyone here in this congregation for your love, support and understanding as I move on to pursue this dream of mine.

 

This probably would have been easier if we had already written a life chapter together, and we were ready to move on to a new one, however, I feel that our chapter was barely a few lines long. I know there was much prayer involved in making the decision to hire me, and I prayed and asked God for guidance before deciding to accept the role of being your music director. There was also much prayer on deciding what path I should follow after the doctoral degree opportunity opened up. I don't know why God led me here to be with you for such a short period of time. I don't know if you or I will understand it now, but I know God is leading you and me, and I know there is a reason for it. I also know He will help you find a wonderful new music director to continue this sacred ministry at St. Anne's.

 

Thank you once again from the bottom of my heart!

 

With joy and sadness, your brother in Christ,

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Francisco Fernandez
Music Director

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