Jill Lauterwasser

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Organist & Lead Musician

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September 2016 marks my 25th anniversary as organist here at First Congregational Church of Reading, UCC! (Eight more years and I will match my grandfather's organist career of 33 years!) I recently marked 20 years as infant teacher and music teacher at the Stoneham YMCA childcare and program center. When not with the babies, I am singing and playing my guitar (and flute) with ages infant - pre-K.

Music, especially church music, has been instrumental (literally) in the life of my family. We all participated in the choirs of the U.C.C. church in NJ where we lived.  I was fortunate to live in the same town as my grandparents.  I studied piano with my grandmother. At least a third of her students were my siblings and cousins.

My church music background is more experience than academics. I have a BA in Spanish and MA in Christian Education. In fact, my organ playing began by "accident". One snowy Sunday I was asked to fill in at the organ for my choir director. How difficult could that be? I played piano, after all. After muddling through the service on this unknown electronic device, I decided to take lessons. I studied with our choir director. A few years later I enrolled in a post bacc. Music Therapy program continuing organ studies under Jon Gillock, adjunct professor at Montclair State College where I was studying.

A music therapy internship brought me to MA. in 1991. In September of the same year I was hired at FCCR. I can remember walking into the building for my interview and feeling right at home as I viewed the bulletin board with church activities, conference news, and outreach projects. I immediately felt welcomed and embraced by the love of the church members. Shortly after joining the staff, I became a member.  I love the variety of music in this church.  I am grateful to our music staff for many opportunities to express myself musically through singing, guitar playing, flute, hand-bell ringing and even drumming.  

When not at church or the Y, I enjoy walking, reading, exploring local Whole Foods Stores, watching and rooting for the Yankees (that's not a misprint!), being with family and friends and especially spending time with loved ones at our family "camp" in the beautiful NH Lakes region.

 

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