My story, my work, and helpful resources for your creative life.

Meet Tony

I grew up in a former firehouse in a Polish neighborhood in Omaha, Nebraska. Throughout my schooling and into college, I was drawn to visual and musical arts and eventually found myself wanting to serve the greater good through them. This manifested itself in composition, musical leadership, volunteering for designs for school organizations, and eventually to service as a liturgical minister. My “journey in the arts” took me through stints in opera, community theater, classical radio, and voiceover work.

After graduation from Dana College in Blair, Nebraska, I spent three wonderful years teaching music to intermediate elementary students before embarking on a new path in full-time parish ministry. This included nine joyful years at Creighton University in Omaha, where I served as Director of Music Ministry. In 2013, my family and I relocated to Kansas City, where I earned my MM in Conducting from the UMKC Conservatory. This in turn led to years of parish service in Madison, Wisconsin before relocating to Cleveland for a three-year position on the East side. While I lost that position due to financial strain at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I remain active as a composer of liturgical music and colleague to many others in this field, including service on the Steering Committee of the Liturgical Composers Forum in St. Louis, Missouri. My career in liturgical music has included conference direction, concert conducting, and recording.

As an artist, I was always willing to lend a hand to organizations I served in the areas of layout, promotions, branding, and design. In 2007, I launched Tony Ward Music, which housed my liturgical compositions, and VisualOpus, a graphic design venture. In 2014, I combined the two into Tony Ward Arts, and have expanded my design and music services to include arranging, engraving, and a much broader spectrum of visual offerings, and regular collaboration with arts organizations and publishers and in the United States.

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.


Updated June 24, 2020

PDF version and references availale on request. Contact me for more information.


Master of Music, Choral Conducting, University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Conservatory, 2015.

Bachelor of Arts, Vocal Music Education, Dana College, Blair, Nebraska, 2000. Recipient of the Alan Brandes Award for Outstanding Music Student of the Year, and Excellence in Academics and Musical Performance Award.

Work history

Digital Artist, Tony Ward Arts, 2007–present. Services offered include visual design (branding, graphics, layout, promotional media, and UX/UI design), music (composition, arranging, conducting, and engraving), and liturgical art and music for worshipping communities and publishers.

Pastoral Associate for Music and Liturgy, The Roman Catholic Community of Saint Paschal Baylon, Highland Heights, OH, 2017–2020. Service to the community of Saint Paschal Baylon and the religious community of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. Director/coordinator of the 40-voice Parish Choir, four smaller weekend ensembles, children’s choir, and 7th-8th grade mass choir for school liturgies; supervision of two accompanists and assistant for children’s choir; selection and curation of liturgical music for masses, Taizé services, and other prayer services; graphic design and layout for worship aides and other parish projects; maintenance of sound system; volunteer for IT-related issues in parish office; sole non-ordained member of a local interfaith group, and collaboration with fellow members for interfaith prayer services. Instituted Gaudete, an annual choral concert in December, featuring the combined parish and youth choirs in performances of diverse holiday repertoire.

Director of Worship and Music, Bethel Lutheran Church, ELCA, Madison, WI, 2015–2017. Responsibilities included collaborative planning of congregational music and worship; direction of the 50-voice Bethel Choir and a small multi-generational worship ensemble; coordination and supervision of the handbells, children’s music, and Latino music ministry programs; co-creation of the weekly Worship Guide and management of related licensing; creation of congregational reprints, maintenance of the choral music library.

Director of Adult Choirs, Atonement Lutheran Church, ELCA, Overland Park, KS, 2013–2015. Service to the people of Atonement as director of the Atonement Sanctuary Choir in collaboration with Director of Worship; planning of anthems throughout the church year and in committee for major liturgical seasons. Direction of ensemble-in-residence, Kansas City BrassWorks.

Director of Music Ministry, Creighton University, Omaha, NE, 2004–2013. Service for and with the people of St. John’s Parish at Creighton University. Direction of four regular liturgical ensembles. Co-Coordinator of the Praise and Worship and Taizé programs. Collaboration with Coordinator of Liturgy and Liturgical Consultant. Responsible for music ministry and co-development of liturgical celebration for weekly parish and student community liturgies, several major all-University liturgies, special celebrations (e.g., ordinations in the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus; celebrations with the Superior General of the Society of Jesus; dedication liturgies). Member of parish renovation steering committee. Webmaster and designer of the Campus Ministry website. Designer of seasonal worship aides, including original artwork.

Director of Liturgy and Music, St. Leo Parish, Omaha, NE, 2003–2004. Service to the people of St. Leo Parish for one year as sole coordinator for all parish liturgies and choir director. Founded children’s choir. Participant in sanctuary renovation project. Choir Director, St. Cecilia Cathedral, Omaha, Nebraska, 2002–2003. Served in part-time capacity as director of contemporary music ensemble for Sunday liturgy.

Elementary Music Teacher, Liturgist, St. Vincent de Paul Elementary, Omaha, NE, 2000–2003. Served three years as music teacher for Grades 3-5 and coordinated all school liturgies. Co-directed parish children’s choir.

Choir Director, St. Francis Borgia Parish, Blair, NE, 1995–2001. Served in part-time capacity as director of choral music ensemble for Sunday liturgy. Founded children’s choir.

additional information

Software Proficiency:
  • Apple MacOS X
  • Apple iOS
  • Dorico Pro 3
  • Sibelius 8
  • Finale 2014.5
  • Logic Pro X
  • EastWest, Garritan, NotePerformer, and Steinberg sound libraries
  • Adobe Creative Cloud (Acrobat, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro, XD)
  • Final Cut Pro
  • EastWest, Garritan, NotePerformer, and Steinberg sound libraries.
  • Google Suite
  • Microsoft Office
  • FileMaker Pro
Professional Memberships:
  • American Choral Directors Association (ACDA)
  • Liturgical Composers Forum, St. Louis, MO (Steering Commitee, 2018-present)
  • National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM).

Coming soon.