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Hand Bell Choir Director

Crystal Black

My primary profession is as a board-certified music therapist working with individuals with disabilities and refugees. I graduated from Stetson University with a Bachelor of Music Education and a minor in Speech and Theater, and attained a Master of Arts in Music degree from the University of Connecticut. I later attended the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, studying church music and pastoral counseling. I trained for music therapy at IUPUI. My professional experience includes music therapy with individuals with developmental and medical issues through the Indiana Medicaid waiver and refugees and seniors through charitable organizations and private practice; music performance; music education at the college level; and as a church musician for three different denominations over 40 years. I have completed a study on music therapy’s effects on engagement in adults with dementia. I functioned as a music therapist clinician on the SMART2 study, working with resilience in illness. I am a member of the American Music Therapy Association. I am married to a bright, caring man. I have two children, four furry and two winged children. I have visited all 50 states in the United States and have driven to Alaska three times in my life.

At St. Matthews Episcopal Church, I continue my 40-year tradition as a church musician by leading St. Matthew’s Hand Bell Choir. The Hand Bell Choir is made up of volunteers of varying degrees of experience who join together each week to prepare music for the Sunday morning 10:00 Eucharist service. Bells are weekly used in the liturgy and present musical compositions generally once a month. Bells are the ultimate in group musicianship, because the ensemble depends on every member’s participation. The absence of one diminishes the musical quality of the experience. We are always seeking new individuals who would like to join the bell choir.

I love so many things about St. Matthews. Coming from a non-liturgical denomination, I am moved by the beauty of the traditional rituals of worship. At St. Matthew’s, that beauty is compounded by the wonderful music and contemporary architecture that allows voices to resound together. Community is created through saying the words and singing the songs and experiencing worship through all of our senses. It reflects the way all of ourselves are welcome at St. Matthews, in this community of varied individuals.