Comings and Goings in the Music Department

By Christopher Wells, Director of Music and Organist


Kate Bublitz has been the Director of the St. Francis Choir since 2012, after serving as a Staff Singer in the Christ Church Choir. She brought an entire career’s worth of music education and experience to the singers in the St. Francis Choir. Nurturing, caring, and inspiring children… Having retired from her teaching position in Bloomfield Hills several years ago, she will retire from her directorship of the St. Francis Choir at the conclusion of this season. We look forward to seeing her continue as a singer in the Christ Church Choir and as a parishioner!

Donna Hughes will retire from her position as Handbell Director at the conclusion of this season, we look forward to the Christ Church Ringers’ final performance of the year on June 17 & 18. Donna came to Christ Church Cranbrook in 2015 to reinvigorate the resident handbell ensemble. Previously, she was Handbell Director at First Presbyterian Church (Birmingham) for 15 years, a member of Classical Bells for 12 years, and handbell sales and service specialist for Schulmerich Bells for 16 years. Donna has cultivated a loving community and inspired musical heights within the Christ Church Ringers.

Joe Balistreri is finishing his final month with us as Musician in Residence, his final service will be Sunday, July 31. Following a dynamic tenure as Director of Music at The Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit, we had the unique opportunity to host Joe as our Musician in Residence where he has not only served as the principal accompanist for the Christ Church Choir and taken on the lion’s share of the organist responsibilities, he has also offered several presentations, compositions, and collaborations with church leadership. One of Joe’s specific gifts as a musician is the art of improvisation – that is – conceiving and playing music that has not been previously notated. Throughout this past season, we have witnessed music that has never been heard before, and will never be heard again! This fall, Joe will begin doctoral studies at the University of Notre Dame, where he will study with Kola Owalabi and other notable experts and scholars in the Sacred Music Department.

As we wish these departing musicians all good wishes in their future endeavors, know that we are actively searching and interviewing prospective new musicians to continue to build on the success of their predecessors.

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