Music Program


Church Musicians:

Eve Sawyer is our musician/choir director three Sundays a month from September through the end of June.   She says about herself:  I happened to have the good fortune to be introduced to the piano by a phenomenally gifted teacher – Naydene Timberlake – when I was seven.  Six years later I played a piano concerto with the Gorham Community Orchestra, then spent the next five years causing poor Naydene grief, I”m sure, because I got a horse, and the hours that could have been spent learning lots of music and becoming a whiz-kid musician were spent instead out in the barn and fields.  I liked the idea of becoming a veterinarian.

As a junior in high school, I met my first cello, and ended up going to Rome, Italy to study this lovely instrument for a year after high school.  Upon my return, I commenced serious music studies at universities in NY, where I had excellent teachers (Gilbert Kalish, my beloved piano teacher, is still a good friend!).

Fast forward:  I moved back to Portland and started teaching and accompanying, baking bread, running marathons, running a Shaklee business, and playing music at a UU church.  I linked up with a talented song-writer and embarked on a career (the Deb Sawyer/Doug Lewis duo) in the folk-music world.  This came slowly to an end as I got serious about raising a family.  I have three great kiddos, a supportive partner, and love my work.  Now if I could just do something hugely positive about our environment, my happiness would be complete…

Rachel Herzer has been a piano instructor since 2002, currently teaching at the Breakwater School in Portland and the Portland Conservatory of Music.  Rachel is a graduate of Western Michigan University, with a BA in Music from the School of Music and a BFA in Painting from the Gwen Frostic School of Art.   Rachel plays for our services one or two Sundays a month and full-time during the summer months.

Our Musical Instrument – Since the summer of 2012 the Tory Hill Church has been blessed with a beautiful new instrument, a Yamaha Clavinova.  On June 17, 2012 we dedicated the organ, the memorial plaque reading:  “With thanks and appreciation to the congregation of the Tory Hill Congregational Church – In memory of Pamela Baldwin Gordon – January 2, 1945 to August 30, 2011 – ‘We cannot see Beyond…  But his we know:  We loved you so… ’twas heaven here with you!”‘ From her loving family:  Jake, Jamie, Mandy, Peter.”

The Tory Hill Choir – The center of our music program is our mixed-age choir, with 6-10 active members and still growing!  Three Sundays a month from September to June, we sing beautiful and interesting Christian and spiritual music from many eras, in many styles.  We sing in parts and in unison, and we value spirit and love over perfection.  This “pickup” choir is open to anyone who wishes to join and all ages are welcome.  Rehearsals are at 9:45 AM on Sunday mornings, with occasional extra rehearsals at Christmas and Easter.  Come, add your voice to the mix!

Musical Guests – We are grateful that we can welcome excellent visiting musicians—flute, trumpet, and some wonderful vocalists—for Christmas Eve and Easter.  Eve often surprises us on a Sunday morning with a visiting musician; we’ve heard some awesome violinists!  At least once a year our own Bre Neal graces our sanctuary with her gorgeous dancing talent.  Member Mike Petrin volunteers on occasion to play his harmonica as well.  It’s all in the family!   Come in and sit down with us; you are a part of the family too!