Centre organist to lead conferences on worship and music
After three years of planning, Centre College organist and adjunct music instructor Jeff Jones is about to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, directing the Presbyterian Church USA’s primary conferences on Worship and Music. The well-known event, held at the Montreat Conference Center in North Carolina, consists of two identical conferences with 47 faculty members leading a variety of classes, workshops and choirs.
“It’s been exciting to be a part of the three-year planning process that has allowed a conference of this magnitude to come together,” Jones says. “Working with so many creative minds has been invigorating, and it’s going to be rewarding to see it all finally come together when the first of the two conferences begins on June 19.”
For the past 15 years, Jones has been attending the Montreat Conferences on Worship and Music, and he served on the planning team for the 2010 conferences. He has also worked closely with the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, the Presbyterian Church’s (PCUSA) denominational organization that supports the work of church musicians.
“As a musician, I wear many hats,” he says. “I’ve spent my career piecing together part-time jobs in order to pursue my passion of performing and teaching music. I believe that juggling a part-time job as a church musician, teaching part-time at Centre, teaching privately in the community, performing solo concerts and serving as the assistant director and accompanist for the Lexington Bach Choir have all helped prepare me for the organizational challenges of a conference that annually attracts nearly 2,000 conferees.”
Jones’s work at Centre began in 1994, and since then, he says, he has enjoyed “the diverse opportunities that Centre presents. As a college musician and a church musician, I get to interact with students and faculty in a variety of ways. Whether it’s teaching piano or organ, playing for commencement, accompanying the Centre Singers or filling in as a sabbatical replacement, wonderful opportunities abound.”
Working with students in the College’s voluntary Sunday evening service, “Get CENTREd,” is one of Jones’s favorite activities.
“The Presbyterian Church and Centre partnered five years ago to pursue my dream of late-evening service of prayer and meditation for the college community,” he says, “and five years later, it’s still going strong and has become a part of the fabric of the religious life of the College.”
Having played a role in so many activities on campus and off, Jones is thrilled to be taking his passion for music and teaching to the next level at the upcoming conferences.
“It continues to be a joy to work in Danville and to have the varied opportunities to contribute to the musical and spiritual lives of the College and the broader community,” he says. “This summer’s Montreat Conferences are just an expanded opportunity to continue doing what I enjoy doing best.”