I grew up in a former firehouse in a Polish neighborhood in South Omaha, Nebraska. My liturgical music experience goes back to fourth grade, singing English and Polish hymns with the St. Francis Assisi Parish choir. Throughout high school and college, I concentrated on performance and composing skills, but felt called towards directing and education. I took a part-time choir director position at St. Francis Borgia parish in Blair, Nebraska, and “found my life’s calling,” as it were.
I graduated from Dana College in Blair with a Music Education degree, and spent three wonderful years teaching music to intermediate elementary students at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Omaha. After a brief tenure in diocesan parish ministry, I joined the Campus Ministry team at Creighton University, where I served joyfully for nine years as Music Director for St. John’s Parish. In 2013, I relocated to Kansas City for the next big step in my life, a Master of Music (MM) in Choral Conducting from the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, and along the way, I was blessed with the opportunity to serve as Director of Adult Choirs at Atonement Lutheran Church in Overland Park, KS. I designed promotional art for several arts organizations in the KC area, including the Kansas City Women's Chorus, Te Deum, and the choral department at UMKC. After two years of liturgical ministry in Madison, Wisconsin, I relocated to suburban Cleveland, where I now serve the people of God at Saint Paschal Baylon Catholic Community.
My “journey in the arts” took me through stints in opera, community theater, classical radio, and voiceover work. As a composer and arranger of liturgical music, I’ve been blessed to collaborate on projects such as the St. Louis Jesuits’ 2005 album, Morning Light; priestly ordinations in the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus; and original works for the Heartland/Delta V Conference at John Carroll University in Cleveland, OH in 2007. In 2008, I entered the ranks of the published when OCP released “Spirit of Our God,” and I released an album, Spirit and Life; In 2009, I took my first spin as a clinician, conducting the annual Youth Choral Clinic for the Archdiocese of Omaha, and conducted the St. Louis Jesuits concert at Omaha’s Holland Performing Arts Center.
Liturgical art has also been a significant part of my life's work; I was honored to provide cover art for the 2017–2019 editions of World Library Publications' Living the Word series, and to serve as a contributing artist for J. S. Paluch Co.
My passion for sight, sound, and spirit runs deep, but the love of my life is my family: my wife, Jenny, and our four children. In answering the call to the vocation of married life and parenting, I have found a new and profound understanding of God’s deep and abiding love that never fails to surprise, challenge, and inspire me.
I am a proud member of the American Choral Directors Association and the Liturgical Composers Forum.
photo: Anna Ward