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  • Dear James,
    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
  • James,
    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 Tracy

    Sally Yingling and Tracy Webbvia letter
  • Dear James,
    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,

    Linda Shirbrounvia letter
  • Hi, James.
    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,

    David Plattvia email
  • Dearest James,
    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
  • Dear James,
    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 to keep up with your new life.
    With so much love, thankfulness and joy!

    Teresa 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