Dan Dorty • Director of Music and Organist

Youth Sunday rehearsal

This past Sunday we were led in worship by our talented youth, and as we finished the postlude, I couldn’t help but leave worship feeling uplifted, enriched, and overcome with joy and feeling that I had been in the presence of the Holy Spirit. We were blessed by their singing, the spoken word, choreographed dance, and God’s Hidden Hands Puppet Ministry. Mayangela Speicher eloquently spoke on joy and the more profound meaning within this three-letter word. Where do we find joy in our own lives and faith journey? Where do we look for assurance and peace that God is with us, working through us, and present in our lives? Where do we see joy in our church? What does it mean to be joyful in the Lord?

Since being called to Derry Church in September as your Director of Music and Organist, life has been a whirlwind of change and adjustment, growing in faith and trust, learning new schedules, memorizing many names and faces, keeping many to-do lists and checking them twice. The vibrant music ministry of this church is a dream come true and an answer to many prayers, made so by each member of the many choirs. I have found fulfilling joy in working with the Sanctuary Choir and Derry Ringers, welcoming new members, and watching the choirs grow in number, musicianship, and faith. Their passion for ringing and singing is inspiring, and their care and support have brought joy each week as we pray together and become a musical family of brothers and sisters in Christ. 

Terrific Tuesdays have become a highlight in my week: working with the youth singers brings joy through their energy, spirit, and laughter. Our children’s music ministry is growing through the leadership of Claire Folts and Debbi Kees-Folts. What a joy to see classrooms full of children singing, playing drums, and ringing handbells and chimes! 

As a congregation, you have brought incredible joy in your appreciation and support of this church’s arts and music ministry. The Lee Ann Taylor Memorial Steinway and Sons Concert Grand Piano has been a testament to that unwavering support. Thank you for appreciating the value of the music in worship and the impact and mission that this new piano will have on future generations. February 12, 2023 was memorable as we dedicated this incredible instrument in Lee Ann’s honor. We were privileged to have Ruth Slenczynska play in worship and sign our new piano. Ruth is a joy!

As I have come home to my faith tradition in the Presbyterian church, I am seeing God anew in innumerable ways, and Derry Church has been one of the greatest joys in my life. When Sarah and I announced our engagement in early February, we were overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from our church family in cards, letters, emails, and well wishes, always followed by a hug. We have found joy in the warmth of Derry Church, a church with the sweetest people on earth, nestled in the heart of the sweetest place on earth. 

Thank you for sharing the light and love of Christ and for bringing joy as we share this faith and music journey together, giving God glory, praise, and adoration while giving thanks each day for all the joys God has showered upon us.