Archived Story

Dowagiac teacher named music director

Published 1:08am Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thanks to Dowagiac music teacher CJ Brooks, Silver Creek and Keeler United Methodist churches have live music once again.

The churches share Pastor Heather McDougall, who met Brooks last fall when her daughter was one of his band students.

From there, a natural progression took place that allowed the churches to gain conducted, live music each Sunday and provided Brooks with a chance to continue his music ministry closer to home. Brooks made two trips weekly to a Methodist church in Kalamazoo to conduct music services, something he said he enjoyed, but was difficult to do. When the opportunity presented itself in Dowagiac, Brooks took it.

“After talking music with CJ, we began to discuss what we could do to bring him on staff as the music director,” McDougall said. “We had a volunteer choir director and, ultimately, the choir went dormant.”

Brooks reinstituted the choir at Silver Creek’s church and plays piano each Sunday at Keeler’s location, too.

“His talent has really enriched and added something to the ministry,” McDougall said.

The choir membership has taken off since Brooks’ first Sunday on June 24.

“We average about 10 to 15 singers each week,” Brooks said. “It’s an intergenerational mix, too. We have a few junior high students who participate each week.”

In the past few months, Brooks has brought back live music to Sunday morning services.

“I think it’s a blended approach,” Brooks said. “I think being younger, I bring in a contemporary style of music, but it’s 50/50 with traditional music.”

Brooks said he also bases his music selection for services on what McDougall will be preaching that day.

“If the liturgical message is more upbeat, I try to bring in music to accompany that,” Brooks said. “We did the same thing for communion one week.”

In the future, Brooks said he hopes the choir will continue to grow, as well as the congregation.

“We have a great mix of people who love singing,” Brooks said. “The more the merrier.”

For more information on Silver Creek or Keeler’s churches, call (269) 782-7061.

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