I have a long list of things I’ve wanted to say to you, years of gathered thoughts about your music ministry. I do not exaggerate when I say it was always the most important part of my worship at All Saints, the trigger for God Loves Me tears, I’m Not Alone tears, Transformational tears, Incandescent tears. You have given me peace, well-being and joy through your music. It has changed my life.
I did mean it when I said, in my next life I want to be a person of excellent voice so that I might sing in the Canterbury or Coventry Choirs. I’ve even thought that I might buy a spot, in the interim between this and the next life should there be one, in the columbarium so that I could stay close to all the joyful noise.
I’d always thought, if I marry, when I pass, some other major life event, I’d want you there standing guard, knowing that whatever sacrament, you’d know I’d want more music than words, and put forth the most profound sounds, stirring us all to our depths.
So many experiences come to mind over your and my many years at All Saints: my embarrassment over thinking I was introducing you to this wonderful new composer I’d discovered, Morton Lauridsen, not realizing you not only knew the music, you also know him personally, the National Medal of Arts awardee and most frequently performed choral arts composer in modern history. I’ve loved being introduced to all the magical and moving foreign hymns you’ve incorporated into our worship.
During the service with Archbishop Desmond Tutu following the first democratic election in South Africa, the choirs sang the South African National Anthem. You even sent me the music to the anthem, one of your many kindnesses over the years. I have wept every time we sang the Central American, I think, hymn about being only me in my small boat…with just my love for Jesus to offer. I have also wept each year at the end of the Good Friday service when you rang the bell 33 times to signify the years of Christ’s life. I have laughed at your stories about Lucy; cried for you when she died; celebrated you when you married.
The members of the choirs say that you have lived your life with them with love, humor and grace. No one in the entire congregation has ever had less than high praise for all you’ve done for us. I think, since we are actually a church community made of people with opinions and foibles and personalities, this is pretty damned remarkable!
So, let me express both profound gratitude for your time at All Saints, and profound sadness that your time there has come to an end.
With great love and admiration, and all good wishes for happiness in your new life,
Margo GrovesMargo Grovesvia email
There are no adequate words! but here goes anyway!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, with every fibre of my being, for the amazing person, musician, staff colleague, inspiration you have been for so long. I am in awe of your ongoing journey over the years, how you opened yourself to growth, often with great courage, and translated your growth into your music and shared that with hundreds and thousands of people.
Your work and music brought an aching joy, tenderness, delight, tears, laughter, quivers down my spine and raised the hairs on my neck, at different times in different ways.
I loved to watch you conduct and loved being on the chancel to hear and see you up close. I loved to go into church to listen to you practice and bring peace to my sometimes troubled soul …
Your spirituality engaged your whole being and flowed out into the choirs, music and fabric of All Saints. I am forever richer and enriched by all I experienced from you. May your next season be as amazingly gifted, inspired and growthful! I look forward to it!
Abundant blessings, much love, Wilma.Wilma Jacobsenvia letter
I love you James Walker!!!!
You have blessed my life and taught me things you will never know. Peace, love and sunshine in all your new endeavors,
Love, CathyCathy Keigvia email
After watching and reading that awesome homily I have only one thing to relate. That is, without fear of contradiction, there are 1000s of souls and saints who stood with each of those in your congregation and behind you in ministry who rejoice because you were there.
DavidDavid Dehnervia Facebook
Thanks for sharing this. I especially enjoyed reading your farewell
message. But I also wanted to tell you of something of which you might not
I am aware that ASC streams its services. This was brought to my attention
by a very dear friend, whom you may know. Bev has been suffering from
cancer for the past several years. So many of us have held her up in prayer
and she acknowledges how much those prayers have helped her in the dark
days of treatment.
But ASC streaming services have been her lifeline. She downloads the
worship bulletin each week and watches/worships with you in her home. Your
music has lifted her elevating her spirits from week to week. When you
announced your retirement, she was understandably shaken, because your
music has meant so much to her. I know she will continue to watch and be
moved by the music.
I know many have expressed their appreciation to you in these past few
months, but I wanted to thank you for what your work has meant to my dear
friend. Your music has touched people in ways you are not even aware.
God bless you with many more years and ways to serve.Peter Batesvia email
James, you’ve been such an important part of my life, I don’t want to lose you. However, I won’t cry because it’s over, but smile.Lu Wennekervia email
Dear, dear James,
And so here I am, all these years later, a more complete Elizabeth for having come to sing at All Saints. Your genuine care, support, encouragement, desire to make each note better and more musical than the last — all in an amazingly supportive and positive fashion has led me to places and performances I had never dreamed possible!
From the Gospel repertoire to the Renaissance pieces at Tenebrae, each has been so very special in its own wonderful way.
Tonight I am so thankful for the gift of music you have so generously shared with me, tearful that it has come to an end after all these years, and so very hopeful that our paths will continue to cross in so many ways… I do “get” it and know that you will take this next step knowing you have me, and I am certain the rest of us in Coventry at All Saints cheering, supporting and watching with great anticipation all you are going to do!
Dear friend, THANK YOU, both through music and conversation that you’ve shared with me over these 26 years. It has been a blessing in my life, and I am a better person because of it!
With love and appreciation,
ElizabethElizabeth Championvia letters
Words cannot express how incredibly grateful I am for this past year together. I am saddened to see you leave, but so extremely happy for you. This has been such an extraordinary year and so much of that is because of your wonderful leadership and faith in me. I have accomplished so much this year and attempted so many new things, and for that I will be forever thankful.
You will be deeply missed, but your presence clearly resonates with so many people at AS. I will do my all to help uphold the standard of excellence and specificity you demand.
Thank you again, and I look forward to when we can work together more in the future! Best of luck and best wishes.Kelci Hahnvia letters
We are saddened by your departure and can’t imagine Sunday mornings without your leadership. Your music has inspired us, comforted us and held us up for all the years we have attended. Many Sunday mornings, it was the music I didn’t want to miss. You are exceptional and I can’t imagine All Saints without you — it just won’t be the same.
Thank you for your many years of dedicated service, leadership and inspiration. I regret not showing my appreciation more often over the years.
We wish you all the best on the next step of your journey … please hold our gratitude with you always.
With every good wish,
Marianne, Daniel, Christopher and Carrie RyanMarianne Ryanvia letter
It’s been an honor to sing under you and learn from you. Thanks for sharing your talent. Best of luck on your next adventures!Gloria Beverst DeCostevia Facebook
Thank you for your soul-piercing, life-giving, grace-filled music ministry. You have been the only priest who has been at ASC since I have. I will miss your impact on my life!Deborah Lynne Ogden via Facebook
James, I can’t believe it’s been 26 years that I’ve had the privilege of working with you! I remember my audition as a very green bass-baritone singing a Vivaldi alto solo piece. I wasn’t the most able sight-reader at the time and brand new to California. You encouraged Ray Egan to hire me and my life was forever changed in so many ways. Your inspired leadership, loving guidance, impeccable musicianship, humor and friendship have made me the musician I am today. I’ve been so blessed to share in your ministry and learn by your example. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you and I know you’ll bring your grace, patience and boundless spirit to the road ahead. I love you.Jim Campbellvia Facebook
…The job you have done over the last 34 years years is nothing short of amazing. It seemed to me that you got better EVERY year. Not many people in a job for over 30 years could say that. In the last few years you have focused on trying always to get us to another level, one where all the singers perform “as one.” I thought that the concert this year was spectacular and deeply satisfying (even though the men’s part in the Bernstein was devilishly difficult!).
I have never been one of your star choristers and I had a hard time with memorization in recent years. But I have enjoyed my 39 years in the choir so much and it has been such an important part of my life…
So, James, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!! George used to say that life is a journey and not a destination. You have made my journey to this point so rich and fulfilling and contributed so much to making it that way, that saying “thank you” seems so insufficient and inadequate. Nothing I can say really will do the job, so all I can say is thanks.
I hope the rest of your musical career is as outstanding as I expect it to be, and I wish you great happiness and joy.
Much love from a thankful choir member,
RalphRalph Perryvia letter
When we think of All Saints and when we tell people about All Saints, we always say something about how great the music is. We know enough choir members so that we have another “read” on how much effort and preparation goes into what you and all the choirs undertake and the results achieved.
We have stayed behind to listen to the postlude, even though we might skip out if the forum is Kenny Turan. We have enjoyed dining with you at least twice at the fundraising galas. We are very sad to see you go, but can appreciate that it is a time for you to take on a new kind of control and freedom in your life in, of, and around music.
We hope that we will hear about opportunities to hear you play and/or direct in the future. We feel privileged to have gotten to know you a bit and to have had the blessings of your work for something like 18 years.
All our love and respect to you and Godspeed.
Hugh and MarleenHugh and Marleen Scheffyvia letter
I have been with you from the very beginning. I have watched you grow in all ways. Your music has always been superb.
I don’t know what I will tell people about All Saints. Before I would say you will find the holy spirit and music out of this world.
Our music is all kinds, but excellent musicianship. You will be sorely missed.
Yet, life is short and you do need to live your life to the fullest. We do need change.
Go forth with my love and blessings. Wishing you all the best on your new journey.
AlmaAlma Stokesvia letter
You have been such a blessing to us! I am grateful for your sharing your considerable musical talents, which have deeply enriched our worship these many years. I want to particularly thank you for continuing to bring new multicultural pieces to All Saints.
I wish you many blessings in this next path in your journey. Congratulations on your retirement.
Love and prayers,
KarenKaren Hayesvia letter
We wanted to leave you with a small note of gratitude for all the magnificent singing we have heard here over the past (almost) 30 years. You bring a joy to the congregants, and for many, the singing is the height of the service. To say that we will miss you is a sad understatement. To say that we wish you magic and joy as you leave is far truer.
The GouldingsThe Goulding familyvia letter
For 34 years you have spoken eloquently and from the heart with music and song. Today you spoke eloquently and from the heart with words, words as moving and as meaningful as anything we hear. Thank you.
For all those years you have given us or in some sense allowed us to hear the glory of God in so many ways: in solo and blended voices, in soft and gentle melody, in unexpected rhythm and language, and in soaring and joyous music. In music and song you have elevated worship, and in doing so elevated us.
You have a rare talent, a marvelous gift, something that like love can be shared freely without ever losing what you have. I am very grateful that you have chosen to share it with us for so long.
Now you are moving on. We will miss you; I will miss you. You have my fond regards, and best wishes for your new path. Thank you for everything — and you had better believe that yes, your are loved.Blaine Cavenavia letter
Wow! What incredible gifts you have given us with passion and love!
Thank you, James.
Thank you! Thank you!
Incredible to think of 34 years … I did not take it for granted.
Now you can go into the world … and they will LOVE you as we do!!Sandy Bieryvia letter
Thank you for years of joy! Your arrival was such a wonderful gift to all of us. Tracy and I have enjoyed and appreciated every offering — here in Pasadena and New Orleans.
May your retirement bring you wonderful adventures, passion and great joy … just as you’ve given us so generously.
With love and great respect,
Sally and TracySally Yingling and Tracy Webbvia letter
Well, I guess I can no longer remain in denial. You truly are leaving us, aren’t you? Here are a few of my thoughts as this reality sinks in.
Let me begin by saying that this year’s Spring Concert was even more glorious than usual. It presented a brilliant illustration of the gifts you have shared with us these past thirty-four years — your broad musical knowledge, your unfailing sense of what “fits” each situation, and your skill at bringing forth the best from your singers. Even Gloria’s remarks, although definitely hers, were a tribute to your marvelous sense of humor.
It is your pastoral heart, however, that has made a special place for you in my own heart. I will always remember your caring support for me after I lost Richard and was struggling with coming back to the Sunday morning service. (Richard, by the way, was one of your most enthusiastic admirers.)
So … thank you. Thank you for every well-chosen hymn and anthem, for all the evensongs and Lessons and Carols, for “Lux aeterna” and “A Ceremony of Carols,” and for everything you ever did by Bach. Thank you, too, for “Maple Leaf Rag.” Independence Day Sunday will not be the same without it. I will miss you more than these words can express.
With love and gratitude,
LindaLinda Shirbrounvia letter
Yesterday morning, when you shared the difference between pursuing perfection and pursuing excellence, is a beautiful example of what I tell many of my friends about my time in choir. Not only do we commune as a group, and make music, and become better musicians, but you also show me how to be a better teacher. This perfection/excellence lesson is one I continue to learn, and which I will try to teach my students as well as you teach us.
So grateful for YOU,
DavidDavid Plattvia email
There are truly no words to express the feeling I experienced this morning during the 9am offertory anthem [Dan Forrest, The Music of Living]. So I came back for more at the 11:15 service. The beauty of the music in the glorious voices and your embodied directing was stunning. I don’t want to say goodbye so I will just say farewell and thank you, thank you, thank you for blessing us with your gifts all of these years. I will cherish this always. Go and be well. With so much love and gratitude.Jen Hayesvia Facebook
I started to write a very long letter of how much singing in both choirs has meant to me, but the bottom line is that it has been Great! Such an important part of my life. I am so fortunate to have had this experience with you as our ASC choirmaster.
It’s been a great 20 years of growth for me both as a musician and equally in the spirituality you brought to the music we sing.
I love the people in both choirs and in some ways your leaving feels like it is bringing us all so close together in the loss of your leadership our hearts become entwined. I will miss you so deeply, but I will be looking at jameswalkermusic.com to keep up with your new life.
With so much love, thankfulness and joy!
TeresaTeresa Dvoracekvia email
Thank you, James, for a sublime concert under your masterful leadership and conducting. You are borne on a tidal wave of admiration and gratitude from All the Saints for your years of educating and transporting us through various kinds of music. You are a seal upon our hearts.Nancy Mackyvia email
You’re the best and I miss you and the magnificent music I always enjoyed at ASC. Happy trails and fond wishes.Jim Wattersonvia Facebook
It was indeed a wonderful feeling yesterday getting back in touch with James Walker. Congratulations on your awesome finale at All Saints! Thank you for being my organ instructor in college back thirty some years ago. To this day, I still remember and use those seven rhythm technique you taught me in my practice. Hope you knew that you had etched a permanent imprint in my life with your mellow intensity. Hollin Liu (Ying)Hollin Liuvia Facebook
OK, here is my review. What an amazing concert. How a church choir with only a sprinkling of professional voices (and they are damn fine) can make that sound is a miracle. And they actually watched James …
The Britten Rejoice in the Lamb is a tricky piece, but no problem for the forces of the All Saints Canterbury Choir, ably assisted by Organist Weicheng Zhao. Britten is, in my uninformed view, the Bach of the 20th century (taking the musical language of his time to final sublime heights) and the choir navigated the tricky meters and dynamic change with aplomb. The Bernstein Chichester Psalms is one of my favorite 20th century choral works, again devilishly difficult in meter, dynamics and Hebrew text (at least for non-High Holy Days choirs). But so rewarding; the Coventry Choir sang it with both power and delicacy and the arrangement for organ, harp and percussion worked beautifully.
The second half of the concert were more pieces especially important to James, leading off with Beethoven’s channeling of his hero, Handel, in the Hallelujah from Christ on the Mount of Olives (sung in English). Major vocal chops from the now combined choirs but also under intense control — more of that James Walker mystical orb power stuff. The next piece, Lass dich nur nichts nicht dauren by Brahms was maybe my personal favorite. Sung well in German, it was performed with amazing sensitivity and nearly reduced me to tears. Brahms does that, and James understood perfectly the calm beauty of the piece.
The last three pieces were very different but all amazingly effective. A Kenyan folk song, Wana Baraka, arranged by Southern California’s Shawn Kirchner, was a rousing crowd pleaser sung in the original language and which brought the crowd to its feet. Following a wonderful offbeat tribute by choir member Gloria Pitzer, the concert ended with two pieces sung together, Rene Clausen’s setting of Set Me As a Seal Upon Your Heart and Gwyneth Walker’s setting of Love Unfolding, to a text by Dame Julian of Norwich. The final line: “Love everlasting, without beginning, with out end. Amen!” Indeed.David Burhennvia Facebook
A love letter to you dear James. Yesterday was transcendent. A culmination of all the years of total commitment and love. Thank you for leaving a legacy of the spirit…now it’s time to take flight and share your gifts with the world. We love you and thank you.Joanne DiVitovia Facebook
I am taking a moment to let you know how very many times I heard the words of the sermons @ ASC, but it was the music that touched and opened my heart to inspiration … and I wept.
So many times I have said, “Wow! I sure wish I had a recording of what you have created with the choirs to hear over and over again during the week.”
Your music ministry has been such a gift! Thank you! God bless you on your future journey. With gratitude, CandaceCandace Elliottvia email
We guess it’s time to come to terms! You are leaving ASC, but not our hearts. It is hard to put into words our gratitude for all you have given not only to the church, but to our family. You were a significant influence in the formative years of our children’s lives.
Who knew a creative musician could also be sane?
Our children adore you and so do we! Please continue to keep them real through your Facebook replies on their posts!
We love you.Toni Boucher & Francois Polifronivia email
James, you are loved so much by so many people, you will never know how many people will miss you. Your music and love has lifted us up at our church & has filled us with hope in this challenging time. We love you.Britta & Hank Fosheevia Facebook
I am still working on processing what happened for me at the Spring Concert, honoring James. I can only speak for myself…the level of mixed emotions for me was and still is palpable. I feel very fortunate to be in this choir and thank my lucky stars seven years ago, that James allowed me to be part of an amazing group of people. The music, Britten, and the music we performed with Coventry goes beyond superlatives. Thank you to James for making me stretch and step up to the plate. I will miss you dearly.Rick Murphyvia Facebook
It never occurred to me that your elegant self wouldn’t be seated at the organ making beautiful music when it’s my turn to step beyond the veil into the next life. You have been present at so many of my celebratory “events” — my marriage to Joseph Roach, my daughter Mindy’s marriage to Paul Danna, the baptisms of each of my granddaughters, Claire and Lily, and Joe’s memorial service in 2004 — I assumed you would be there for the last one. I say this out of my own selfishness and sense of loss. But truly I would be one of the first to urge you to retire while you are still well and able to look forward to many more happy years with your partner.
Well beyond the personal impact you have had on my own life is the extraordinary legacy you are leaving behind you at All Saints. Your successor will find it a challenge to attempt to follow in your footsteps.
May you be showered with many blessings and graced with the knowledge of His love.Jeanne Roachvia email
Where to start? You are such a TREASURE that your departure will for sure leave a gaping hole in our community. The joy and the gifts you have brought to our worship are countless — and glorious.
Thank you so much for all you have taught me. Thanks to you, I can still carry a pretty decent tune. Sometimes that is all that keeps me sane.
Know that you are loved, and you will be SO missed.Lynda Obershawvia email
You deserve a standing ovation! Congratulations … and I’m sure you will get several in the coming weeks. Thank you for bringing so much beautiful music into my life. I wish you many years without alarm clocks and deadlines! You will be missed. Love and gratitude,
LizaLiza Billingtonvia email
James, you have become an institution at this church after your decades of dedicated service. You have done so much to expand the breadth, depth, and quality of the music at this church that it is nothing short of a miracle. It would not be the same place it is now had it not been for you.
I have so enjoyed, appreciated, and spiritually grown through all of your efforts and the music you have created that I would not be the person I am now if not for you. You have made a difference – a BIG difference. I am certain there are many here who feel the same as I do.
Your departure is a huge loss for all of us here at All Saints Church, and like many others I am very sad to see you go. But we realize you need to move on to the next chapter of your life. We wish you nothing but the very best. Take good care of yourself.John Grulavia email
I miss your after service mini concerts enough to drive to Pasadena from Brentwood! You are fantastic James Walker.Linda Carpentervia Facebook
What an artistic gift to ASC and what a pastoral gift to the music community. Jamez is the BEST!!Hope Hendricks-Baconvia Facebook
Canterbury Choir has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my adult life. I reconnected with a long-neglected part of my self — the musician — and found a spiritual path to call my own. Singing with you and my fellow choristers has given me a lifeline, a through line and a place for my spirit to call home.Zach Firstvia email
Congratulations on this new chapter in your life! You have built a legacy at All Saints and I have enjoyed every single time I have worked with you and your wonderful musicians at the church. I’m excited to see what is in store for you next.Alison Bjorkedal via email
During my tenure as Rector, you were one of my favorite staff associates! Your presence, and the gifts you brought to my life and ministry over the years, were enormous beacons of light for my own journey. I could not have had a successful, rich, and rewarding ministry at All Saints without your companionship on the journey. I will never forget you, dearest friend.George Regasvia email
You have always been MY PRIEST! I love you and will miss you terribly.Sharon Wulfensmithvia Facebook
George Regas hiring you as associate in 1983 was a wise choice. Hiring you as Director of Music in 1991 was one of, if not the wisest decisions George made during his tenure at All Saints. Having sung with you for 35 years out of the 56 years I’ve sung in Coventry Choir have been a joy in my life. I’m certainly one of the thousands who will miss you when you leave.Jack LeVanvia Facebook
So happy for you, James. But know you will be missed! I’m planning to be there for concert in June. All my best wishes.Kathie Heller via email
I am trying to be upbeat about your move to the next musical adventure in your life. I know you will have many opportunities, and new ways of being in the world of music, and that makes me happy for you. But, I will miss you terribly as the heartfelt and talented musician who brings so much to the life at All Saints.Gerry Puharavia email
James, I really want you to know how much you will be missed. Your music makes my heart sing. I love being at the services every Sunday because your choices African, and Spanish and even a Swedish song in English that I remember from my childhood.Britta Foshee via Facebook
Congrats on 34 years at All Saints! I hope the step to freelance work will be a fruitful and exciting one.Daniel Corralvia email
Wow, big news. I wish you all the best as you move ahead into the new chapter that the Lord has for you!!! Love.Kim Virginiavia Facebook
I am completely surprised by this news. All the best to you for the next journey. With lots of love.Donn Ehrlichvia Facebook
Wow!!! Really??? I’m happy for you. And sad for the rest of us. Maybe we can finally do freelance work together!!! Hope to see you soon.Marissa Benedictvia email
I think I understand part of the urgency why I was called to All Saints, to experience the remarkable James Walker. It has been an extraordinary experience singing with you. I wish you well. Congratulations and bon voyage for the next chapter of your beautiful life journey.Keiko Sakatanivia email
I am so excited for you and the new chapter in your life. All Saints Church has been the recipient of your extraordinary talent, gifts, and dedication to its ministry as a mover and shaker in the local community, the nation and the world. That spirit so present in the Music of All Saints on Sundays, Evensongs, or special celebrations has been, and will continue to be a bedrock of what All Saints Church has been, and will hopefully continue to be for generations to come. Thank you! Now go get ‘em!Leslie Thomasvia email
No one deserves a change of pace more than you! I’m sorry I didn’t have more time with you, this second time around, but I’m even more grateful to be part of Coventry Choir for this part of your exciting journey!
Bless you and all your future adventures!! Transformational change is the best!!!Mary Brownvia email
Very sad and very happy for you at the same time. I know the future holds MUCH greatness and happiness for you.Bill Cunliffevia email
I want you to know that some of the most spirit-filled moments at ASC for me have been sitting in the pew listening to some magnificent choral work from over the past 400 years. It’s time travel, to imagine being in a cathedral somewhere right after the piece was composed, sung as it is now, but humans loving God.
Thank you for the many opportunities you’ve given ME as a cellist and musician. I’ve especially enjoyed getting to perform with you on several recitals, as well. I hope that may continue.
We’ll miss you greatly at ASC. Blessings on you!Kyle Championvia email
What we in the pews will desperately miss is your musicianship and artistic impulse — in so many ways you make the worship experience come alive through your repertoire choices and the deep engagement of your choirs.Terry Knowlesvia email
It is hard to imagine All Saints Church without your musical and creative leadership and management of the music program, choir and many performances that you orchestrate. We extend a heartfull of thanks to you for your 34 years of dedication to your music ministry. Mainly as ASC “live-streamers” since our return to Denver in 1998, we are so grateful to you for the magnificent and spiritual ways you have touched our lives through music at ASC. Thank you for the many ways you have inspired and enriched our lives. Best wishes to you on your continued journey.Marsha and Pat Dawevia email
This wasn’t exactly a surprise but a terrible disappointment, to me, but also to the church. When I tell someone that ASC is a great church, the answer inevitably is: “Well, it’s the music, you know.” And it is the music. You are that music. I don’t know what we’ll do without you, but I guess you should be doing what you want to do and what will make you happy. You’ve given us 34 years of wonderful musical happiness — and a musical education for me — for which I applaud your patience. Much love, Jim.Lu Wennekervia email
I heartily congratulate you on the announcement of the departure from All Saints, and more importantly, the opening of a new chapter in your life. You’ve certainly earned it. You’ve developed the music program at All Saints into a one that any cathedral would envy. That’s a major accomplishment by any standard. My best wishes for the future!Robert Hovencampvia email
What a pleasure it has been having the chance to work with you over the past few years. I always look forward to subbing for Vince or Jim and getting to sing with one of your choirs. I kinda hope they need a couple more subs in the near future haha, as I’d like some more opportunities to sing with you! In any case, you will be greatly missed there, and I wish you many blessings on your journey and life after All Saints.Paul Soboskyvia email
I feel so honored to have been able to share this ministry of music under your leadership. I’m unsure that I will ever find someone with your superior musicianship that truly brings a spiritually committed and introspectively soulful interpretation to the works that we offer up to the All Saints community. You are an inspiration and will be with me in any group I sing with in the future.Ruth Bradenvia email
I’m deeply saddened by your announcement of retirement. But I’m also grateful for the spiritual nurture I’ve received because of your work, and because of you. You have made yourself a conduit for God’s Spirit.Pat Hoffmanvia email
It is hard to find the words to express my positive feelings about your impact on our lives and about the mixed feelings that I possess for your transition. Susan and I have lived in this same zip code and sung in this choir longer than anywhere in our lives and it is not even half as long as you have been at ASC. Your leadership has kept our attention and fed our souls. Thank you, thank you, thank you.Ed Johnsonvia email
Beautiful letter. I wish you luck and fulfillment in your next chapter.Jack LeVanvia email
I find it difficult to imagine music at All Saints without Jim Walker. The thought gives me a feeling best described as — empty. You will leave a huge void in the spirituality of this church. It’s impossible for me to imagine. My time working with you was one of the highlights of my life.
Susan and I wish you the very best. Whatever you do and wherever you go, you will enrich the lives of those around you.Tom Burnsvia email
Today I received the news about your imminent resignation — and my heart sank … Your virtuosic musicianship and generous spirit has infused that building from stem, to stern — and I (quite selfishly) hate to see you leave; Please allow me to thank you, for the great blessing of your friendship .. and know that I wish you the fullest life, and greatest fulfillment wherever you land next!Michal Connorvia email
You promised that you would stay at ASC until one Sunday you would hit the last chord of a hymn and just fall over on the organ. But I understand. Thanks for your beautiful music, leadership and cooperation. I am sorry you will be leaving and we will miss you very much. Love and blessings.Sarah Tatumvia email
You are totally amazing and I deeply appreciate and respect you so much. I am grateful beyond words for the years my heart and spirit has taken flight with the music you have directed or been comforted and strengthened by it for the journey. I also appreciate your gentleness and patience with me as a new priest and staff member! I will miss you very very much and I am very happy you are choosing an open and expansive path for yourself and your life and gifts. With love and prayers and blessings on your decision!Sally Howardvia email
Thank you, James. I know we still have you for a little while longer. We will cherish it. We will try desperately to watch you despite the bifocals. We will try not to take breaths all at the same time on held notes. We will try to cut off when you signal us to cut off on the half of the fourth beat. We will try not to sing the fifth up louder than the note from whence we came when the little pointy arrow says otherwise. And we will try not to sing “Gloria-EE.” It’s been a marvelous experience and we are so grateful!Susan Johnsonvia email
I’m so glad that we got to make music together all these years. Some of my most impactful musical moments have taken place under your leadership. To me, YOU ARE All Saints. You will be missed!Vincent Roblesvia email
You’re leaving! Say it ain’t so! With great appreciation.Joanie Depewvia email
I am filled with gratitude for having worked with you at All Saints and wish you nothing but the best in the future. Grateful to be here in your last yard line before touchdown.Daniel Ramonvia email
First and foremost, congratulations! You’ve been an astounding force for many of the things that I hold most dear in life (quality music, community, social justice, positive juju in the world) in your years at All Saints and I can honestly say that I hold you in the highest circles of esteem among the musicians that I’ve encountered.
You will be deeply missed at All Saints, as I’m sure you’ve heard from countless people today, but I’m happy to hear that you’re at peace with your decision so most of all I’m happy for you.
Best wishes, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything.Dan Colevia email
I have read that we are approaching the end of an era. I am considering myself very privileged that I have been allowed to sing in choir with you at the helm! With Deep Appreciation.Eve Ruizvia email
I will miss your work on the bench after July. Knowing and understanding some of what you do each week, I’m in awe each week at your energy, your skill as an organist and conductor and obvious love of the music and your respect of your choir, musicians and other parish staff. I wondered how long you could keep up that pace week after week. Blessings on the next chapter of your career.Beverly Hansenvia email
What a great marker for you. It’s also a marker for many of us who’ve known you this entire time as well; and a little scary!
Congratulations on this milestone and everything you’ve done for the church. Hard shoes to fill indeed!!John Westvia email
It is with sadness of heart that I read of your resignation as All Saints Director of Music, and yet deep within me, I understood.
During my tenure as Rector, you were one of my favorite staff associates! Your presence, and the gifts you brought to my life and ministry over the years, were enormous beacons of light for my own journey. I will never forget you, dearest friend.
In the future years, I hope you will stay in touch with me. I could not have had a successful, rich, and rewarding ministry at All Saints without your companionship on the journey.
Love and Gratitude,
GeorgeGeorge Regasvia email
Learned of your resignation letter a minute ago — I understand why you might be ready for it to be time. It has been a long, beautiful road together, and I am deeply appreciative of your leadership. Thank you for everything from the bottom of my heart. More on that to come.Melinda Taylorvia email
James, you will be missed!! Wishing you the best!!Frank Ashfordvia Facebook
So thankful to have four years with you.Polly Andersonvia Facebook
Wow…good luck in your new endeavors!!!Nancy Leclerc Grubbvia Facebook
I’m so proud to know you.Steve Acosta Albavia Facebook
Congratulations!! you will be missed!Onil Chibasvia Facebook
What shall we ever do without you?Devika Wijesinghevia Facebook
Blessings on the next chapter!Kathy Cooper Ledesmavia Facebook
Saw your letter of departure; all good things must come to an end. You will never be replaced and I know they won’t try but it will never be the same. You set a standard my friend that few could conceive of or achieve! Hope to see you around town, be well, take care and continue to thrive.John Catanzarovia email
What a heart-warming smile!! No one can replace you, considering the impact you evolved at All Saints!
You will NEVER be forgotten! I’ll be with you in spirit always!! Gillions of Happi hugs!Happi Hicksvia email
Say it isn’t so! How you shall be missed! Best, best wishes, hugs, kisses, prayers as you move forward.Gail Gunthervia email
Best wishes, James, for all the adventures that await you in this next phase of life. I so enjoyed our time working together.Barbara Hawley Jonesvia Facebook
Will hate to lose him. He’s introduced such an amazing range of music to a non-music person like me. A real education …Anita Davisvia Facebook
James Walker was (well, is) the last vestage of what was at All Saints when I first came (except the buildings). Truly the end of an era for me. Can’t imagine it without him.Jim Whitevia Facebook
I am SOOO sad for us — and so very grateful for the ministry that James has led — and specifically for the five years I had singing in Coventry Choir. My worship practice/experience shifted because of what I learned in choir through James’ intentionality with silence, space, time, and music choices. And I will NEVER forget the experience of singing Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem. Truly a God moment. Blessings on James many times over!Margaret Keanvia Facebook
I’m happy for James, that he is able to pursue a new chapter, but his talent will be very much missed!Richard von Ernstvia Facebook
If I could I would use both of FB emojis, crying and love. Sad to see you go, but inspired by your passion and commitment to growth and opportunity.Diana Carbajal Mejiavia Facebook
His ministry has been inspirational and amazing. Love being a member for over 20 years.Nel Chon D. Sevillavia Facebook
I would go to a lecture on music ministry by this man. Truly an accomplishment.Adan Alejandro Fernandezvia Facebook
Oh how I’ll miss you.Lorna Millervia Facebook
What an amazing 34 years it has been! This next step makes sense, with such a mix of grief and pending loss and gratitude for all of us who have been privileged to experience your music ministry!Wilma Terry Jakobsenvia Facebook
Bendiciones en tu nuevo camino!!! What a blessing to have worked with you.Norma Yanira Guerravia Facebook
Wait, weren’t we supposed to make sure you got a Grammy on Sunday? Or how about an upcoming Tony (only Cats has had a longer run, I see)? Well, meanwhile, congrats & applause always.Bob Williamsvia Facebook
James your music is part of what I experience as the Divine. You will be missed for many, many reasons.Gerry Puharavia Facebook
Oh. Dear. James. Thank you ever so much.Frances Fitzgeraldvia Facebook
You were there on the best day of my life and the worst. Thank you for your loving, brilliant ministry. God bless you in the next chapter of your life.Cathy McMullin Clementvia Facebook
Noooooooooooooooo!!!!!!… but I understand. You are so woven into the tapestry of All Saints.Eddie Kingvia Facebook
I am sad, James. With my sadness is mixed deep gratitude. Your gifts are incomparable.Susan Brownvia Facebook
Heartfelt thanks. You are amazingly talented and bring such great spirit & passion to our community. Thank you.Claudette L. Shulticevia Facebook
Right now, sadness is all I can feel … well maybe sadness mixed with deep gratitude. You are a gift to all who know you.Richard Feltonvia Facebook
What a gift you have been to all of us at ASC. The Hekman family wishes you God’s richest blessings in the next chapter of your life.Carol Hekmanvia Facebook
Thank you for all the beautiful music you brought to All Saints all of these years. It was the music that brought me to tears when I first walked into my first service and I thank you for sharing the beauty of music to our congregation. You will be missed!! Congratulations on your 34 years of service.Scott Lardizabalvia Facebook
All the best, James! You will be missed!Mary Moreno-Zermeno Richardsonvia Facebook
James, you have been my inspiration since your first rehearsal with us.Susan Houservia Facebook
Every song I sing from now until the day I die, will be in gratitude for you as well as for God.Sylvia Sheriffvia Facebook
I’m so very sad right now. And also so very, very grateful.Danny Banksvia Facebook
Hope you know how beloved you are.Gloria Beverst DeCostevia Facebook
James, I have written an appreciation to you on some other form, but wish to express my deep appreciation and thanks for your ministry at All Saints. I sang under your direction in one form or another for 25 years and experienced my most magical and deeply satisfying musical moments under your direction. You are responsible for greatly broadening my appreciation of music that I may not have been initially attracted to (“Under the Sun”) and gave me the courage to audition for a symphonic choir in Australia, which I never thought possible. You deserve the very best in this next phase of your life and I hope to be in Pasadena for your last service to give you a personal send-off. Thank you for being such an important part of my musical development.Cathy Hudnall Dicksonvia Facebook
You were my music teacher and friend for 20 seasons — I join the many who will miss you, but now, follow your bliss!David Kearsevia Facebook
End of an amazing era at ASC. I still apply the lessons I learned from you in my current choir. Thank you.Dan Sloanvia Facebook
Wonderful ministry!Bill Doulosvia Facebook
Thanks. For the joyful moments and the prayerful ones as well.Erica S. Tamblynvia Facebook
Congrats on your many years of dedication and music making!Jonathan Ryanvia Facebook
Dear James, there comes a time to move on while looking back at all that you have accomplished and the legacy you have built for the future of liturgical music at All Saints. Only you know when the right time has come and it is best to do so at an age when you can still have other professional adventures ahead. Bless you and all you have created and best wishes for the success of your next venture. There is lots of time to celebrate before your last Sunday and I look forward to doing so with you! Hugs!Manuel Rosalesvia Facebook
What a life you will create! You are an amazing man, James! What a pleasure it has been to be part of your flock.Phyllis Chambers-Emmonsvia Facebook
Congrats. It was a good run!Tim Diversvia Facebook
They were so blessed to have you!Shane Morris Wisevia Facebook
I have such mixed emotions reading your announcement. Four glorious years that went by in the blink of an eye. All the very best to you; I look forward to following your adventures on Facebook and your website!!Deborah Dennisvia Facebook
Wow, James! I have only spent a small amount of time at All Saints over the years, but I have always truly enjoyed working for you when I am there. You have built such a wonderful program. I know they will miss you terribly, but I trust that you have many exciting and fulfilling projects on the horizon. xoAmy Fogersonvia Facebook
So much gratitude and love for you, James Walker. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for 16 years of wonderful music-making at ASC with you and Coventry Choir, and for so willingly sharing your talents and heart with all of us. I am excited for you and your new journey ahead, but I may need to be sad for a little while longer if it’s all the same to you. You are well-loved, my friend!Sara Campvia Facebook
Your ministry at ASC has been a great gift to so many. Having the wisdom to know you are ready to explore a new chapter of life is a great gift to you. Thank you for all the programming ideas you have provided me all these years!William Wellsvia Facebook
I am happy for you, and can’t imagine how we’ll find another to fill your shoes. Thank you for sharing your talent and efforts with us at ASC.Chris Vanderhorstvia Facebook
James, I treasure the memories and musical growth I experienced at All Saints. I know you will be missed, but am excited to follow and hear your future endeavors!Tom Georgevia Facebook
I can’t imagine All Saints without you, James! What a wonderful tenure you have had and what glorious music you have provided for all of us. I wish you the very best in your musical future. You will be missed! Much love.Diane Thomasvia Facebook
End of an era. All good things must end. Congratulations on a successful and faithful ministry.Frank Altonvia Facebook
Well done, good and faithful servant!! Congratulations as you transition to new adventures. We’ll be looking forward to learning about your next chapter. And we’ve been grateful for *all* that you’ve brought to our collective worship, James. Your many gifts, both personal and professional, will be missed.Monica Hubbardvia Facebook
Not many people can sustain a 34 year ministry in one place. Congratulations, James, for a tremendous accomplishment and best wishes for the next pathway on which God leads you!Russ Litchfieldvia Facebook
I’m super-excited for you. Thank you for all the years of music-making and friendship. You cannot be replaced, but it is so good to let your wings expand. I’m proud of you.Leslie Inman Sobolvia Facebook
Congrats James, I am so happy for you! Can’t wait to see what you do next! It is such a privilege to work with you.Serena Eichhornvia email
No!!!!! I mean, of COURSE I am so happy for you and excited for your future endeavors but I am so sad that our working together is so brief!! You are truly magnificent and I am so grateful for the time we have had together. Please let me know if there is ANYTHING I can do to help you during this transition and I hope you know how lucky we all were to have worked with you.Kelci Hahnvia email
I am stunned, of course. You are awesome, James, and we are endlessly grateful for your ministry to the choristers and the church. We will cheer your next chapter with joy and love!!Cynthia Nickellvia Facebook
I’m so honored to have been a part of Coventry Choir for a short while (only five years!), and deeply grateful for your friendship, and the fact that you made me a better musician.Peter Carlsonvia Facebook
It has always been so comforting and EXCITING to know it was YOU who orchestrated my tears and joy with your MUSIC!Peter Riddallvia Facebook
What an incredible gift you have been for ASC! I feel so lucky to know you and have worked (and sung) with you! Many blessings, and I’m so happy for you.Leslie Dawevia Facebook
Congratulations on amazing years of musical leadership. Inspiring always!!Donald Brinegarvia Facebook
WOW, WOW, WOW.….I know you will be duly celebrated for a Career Well Done. I can’t wait to see this next chapter unfold. I loved singing with you and starting Canterbury Choir together. So many incredible memories. You were able to take us to musical heights that I think most of us did not know were possible. Some of my most profound memories of my life center around the music we created together. I have the greatest confidence that your next chapter will be marked with as much goodness, love and laughter as the last. It is truly an honor to call you friend.Valerie Van Horn Murphyvia Facebook
Congratulations on your many years of faithful service!!Don Bassevia Facebook
WOW! A thoughtful decision, and a difficult one, I am sure, but to hear that you are excited and energized about the next chapter, wherever it takes you and whatever unfolds, is wonderful! You are a treasure, and All Saints will forever be blessed by the love, devotion, music, humor, tenderness, and overall excellence that you have shared. Wishing you so much wonderment as you venture forth!Mary Brazellvia Facebook
Do you ever say after a long week, “oh boy, I can’t wait to sit for three hours (an hour past bedtime), in rehearsal”? You’d think I would but I don’t. I look forward to it because our Music Director not only creates marvelous music with wondrous texture and interpretation, but also shows us, by action and by example, how we as musicians are ministers to those in the pews and to those who watch the streamed services.
He helped Stephen and me put together music for our wedding that wasn’t just beautiful and personal, but also spiritually meaningful to us on that special occasion.
May James be blessed on his life pilgrimage, just as he shared his gifts with us in the pews and in the choir.Mel Sorianovia Facebook
I’ve had the honor and privilege of singing for James Walker in 24 of those 34 program years. As I’ve said before, no one has made me understand more about the choir’s role as a *ministry* in the church. (And also, I think you would find that my presentation style as an author borrows a bit from the way he leads rehearsals.)
We’ll miss him at All Saints, but it’s great that his career has reached the point where he can venture into this new realm. I’m happy for him — or I will be after I’ve had some time to process it all…Robert Blackvia Facebook
It’s with a heavy and grateful heart that today I accepted the resignation of All Saints Church Director of Music James Walker, effective the end of July, 2017. Heavy because for 34 years, James has been more than a music director but a spiritual and pastoral leader in this congregation, and his loss to us will be keenly felt. Grateful because, during his time here, James has shaped All Saints as a creative community and enriched the tapestry of our worship in countless ways, the benefits of which will be felt for generations to come.
As I mourn (and curse a little!) our own loss, I am excited that James has a chance to pursue new opportunities … and that is a gift we can give him.
In the coming months, we will have a chance to celebrate James’ incomparable ministry among us. The Transition Life Committee, which has served us so well in our previous transitions, will help lead us through this transition as well. I have already met with the wardens and we are putting together a team to devise and implement an interim plan to keep the music program at All Saints Church thriving while we consider where God is calling us and conduct a national search for leadership for the future.
There will be time for all of that, and I am excited about the future that James’ incredible work here has made possible. For today, though, I hope you will join me in giving thanks for this incredible minister and friend.
God bless you and keep you, James Walker. We will be saying farewell, but surely God is not done with you yet!
Con el amor de Cristo,
MikeMike Kinmanvia Facebook
Brilliant musician, brilliant man. It was a true honor to have sung under his direction with Canterbury Choir. He has built an amazing legacy of love, leadership and glorious music making. All best wishes to you dear James.Marshall Nalle Ayersvia Facebook
Oh James, you will be missed. Happy you are following your heart. xoAnina Minottovia Facebook
Although I worked alongside you for a relatively short time of two and a half years, I was always grateful for your amazing talents, your humor, your kindness, and the beautiful music that increased my access to God through music and my listening repertoire of sacred music. I pray that your next spiritual home be a place of rejuvenation, rest, and inspiration for you.Janine Schenonevia Facebook
love you, james. my heart is overflowing. gracias por todo. does this mean — dare i hope? — that you’ll finally have time to prepare your one-man performance of “amahl”??? your fans breathlessly await.Ruth Ballengervia Facebook
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
Donna and I have been deeply blessed to have experienced all 34 of your sacred and magnificent years with us at All Saints. You will be sorely missed.
Thank you for all you have given us and our whole community. May you find peace, joy and fulfillment in the years ahead. God bless you.Warry MacElroyvia Facebook
For the past 5 1/2 years, James Walker has been my supervisor. That is such a basic title for all that he is. I knew absolutely nothing about the Episcopal Church and the liturgy before I came to All Saints. James has been a teacher, a dear colleague, a guiding light, and a mentor to me. We share the same obsession with Amahl and the Night Visitors and deeply love The Carpenter’s Christmas album. I will always be grateful that he gave this public school music teacher a chance at spreading her wings in the church world and continuing the great work with the Children’s and Youth Choirs at All Saints. I will enjoy these next months working with him and continue to follow his journey after his time at All Saints. I am grateful to you, James. Thank you for the time and great work we have been able to do together. You are truly a gem and I love you.Jenny Tisivia Facebook
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
©2009 Cam Sanders