Dr. Alan Lewis
Director of Music
Alan Lewis joined the Calvary Church staff as Director of Music in August, 1997. A native both of the Episcopal Church and of Southern California, he holds degrees in organ performance and music history from Oberlin College & Conservatory of Music in Ohio, where he studied with William Porter (organ), Lisa Crawford (harpsichord), and Steven Plank (musicology). He returned to California for graduate work as a Mellon Fellow in the Humanities at the University of California, Berkeley; his doctoral research into the sacred vocal music of the Renaissance resulted in a dissertation on the motets of Nicolas Gombert, one of the preeminent Flemish composers of the mid-sixteenth century.
While completing his doctoral studies, Dr. Lewis joined the faculty of the (Episcopal) Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California, lecturing in Church Music and directing the Chapel Music for six years. He also served as the Music Director for three Episcopal congregations in the greater San Francisco region: All Souls’ Parish, Berkeley, All Saints’ Parish, San Francisco, and the Church of St. Martin, Davis. He is a passionate advocate for excellence in the Church’s musical offerings, old and new.
Under Alan’s leadership, the Calvary Choirs sing a wide variety of sacred music both as part of the parish’s weekly Sunday morning worship and in Evensong and concert settings. Portions of the Choir’s Messiah performances and Advent Lessons and Carols services have been broadcast locally on WQED-FM, and the choir can be heard in the compact-disc recording Lead me to Calvary, produced in 2002. About sixty adults and thirty children currently take part in the choirs and music program. “My central priority is to enrich the congregation’s prayer with music of the highest quality,” he says, noting that “Calvary is blessed with an extraordinary worship space, and exceedingly fine musical resources, both human and instrumental. Drawing music worthy of the space, and its mission, from those resources is a privilege and a joy.”
The parish’s instruments include two excellent pipe organs, timpani, handbells, and an eleven-bell chime in Calvary’s tower. A residency by the instrumental trio Chatham Baroque has augmented those resources, and provided the nucleus for larger period-instruments ensembles, with which the Choir has performed works both large and small. An annual choral Requiem service has become a regular feature of both the musical and pastoral landscape of the parish, and a sacred concert on Good Friday evening has offered seasonally appropriate works, including Passion settings by Bach and Handel.
In addition to his work at Calvary, Alan is the President of the Association of Anglican Musicians, serves as the Dean of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, and sits on the steering committee for the Organ Artists Series of Pittsburgh. He and his family live in Shadyside.