Thursday, June 29, 2023

Chad Fothergill Selected as Duke Chapel Organist


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Duke University Chapel has selected Chad Fothergill to be its Chapel organist. Currently the interim Chapel organist, Fothergill begins his new role on August 1, which also includes serving as the primary organist for Duke Divinity School.

In conjunction with the university organist, Fothergill will continue to lead and support congregational singing at Chapel services and university ceremonies in the Chapel. In addition to accompanying the Chapel Choir, he will mentor the Chapel’s organ scholar and perform at weekly organ demonstrations as well as in Chapel concerts. At the Divinity School, he will assist with the planning and leadership of weekday liturgies.

“This past year, Chad has shown himself to be a gift to our Chapel and campus communities, both as a musician and as a colleague,” said the Rev. Dr. Luke A. Powery, dean of Duke University Chapel. “He will bring musical excellence, administrative thoroughness, and a gentle demeanor to his new role.”

As a scholar-performer, Fothergill is frequently engaged as a worship leader, speaker, writer, consultant, and composer. He has presented solo recitals, lecture-recitals, hymn festivals, workshops, and papers at gatherings of, among others: the American Guild of Organists; Haydn Society of North America; National Worship Conference of the Evangelical Lutheran and Anglican Churches of Canada; North American Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music; Society for Christian Scholarship in Music; and congregations throughout the United States.

“Chad is a respected and versatile musician and scholar,” said Dr. Zebulon Highben, director of Chapel Music. “His extensive knowledge of organ and piano repertoire, and his creative approach to hymnody, are strong matches for the breadth of music offered at the Chapel. His ability to teach about worship leadership has been highly appreciated at the Divinity School.”

Prior to coming to Duke in 2022, Fothergill was interim co-director of the Institute of Liturgical Studies at Valparaiso University, editor of CrossAccent: Journal of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, and held visiting faculty appointments at Gustavus Adolphus College and the University of Delaware. He completed degrees in organ performance at Gustavus Adolphus College and the University of Iowa and is a doctoral candidate in musicology at Temple University with focus on the social and vocational histories of Lutheran cantors from the Reformation through the time of J. S. Bach.

“The Chapel community has been extraordinarily kind and welcoming,” Fothergill said. “It is a joy to be immersed in music-making with gifted colleagues and in Spirit-filled worship with the congregation.”