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Welcome to our New Organist, Celina Kobetitsch

Dear Friends of St. Philip the Deacon,

I am delighted to announce that, following a nationwide search, Celina Kobetitsch will join the St. Philip the Deacon family as our next organist. She will officially begin her role in mid-July, and will play for her first worship services in August.

A native of the Chicago area, Kobetitsch has been studying piano since she was three years old. She has received multiple prestigious honors, including awards from the U.S. Fulbright program and the DAAD postgraduate music program. In 2022, she was awarded first prize at the Fugato Organ Competition in Bad Homburg, as well as the Ruth and Paul Manz Organ Scholarship from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. A gifted teacher, she received the Carol Nott Prize for Excellence in Piano Pedagogy at age 21.

Kobetitsch is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where she studied piano and organ. She completed an artist diploma at the Conservatoire de Toulouse, and earned her master’s degree at the Hochschule für Musik Leipzig Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, where she studied organ performance and improvisation. In addition to organ and piano performance, Kobetitsch is a talented composer who writes her own hymn reharmonizations, introductions, and chorale preludes. You can hear one example of this on her YouTube channel, where you can also find many other recordings.

Most recently, Kobetitsch has served as the Associate Director of Music at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Little Rock, Arkansas. She has also served as organist for Bethany English Lutheran Church in Cleveland, Ohio and as interim organist at Bay Presbyterian Church.

“I am thrilled to be joining the SPD family,” said Celina. “This congregation has a well-deserved reputation for outstanding music, and I am delighted to be partnering with Sam Grace and all of the other musicians here to ensure that this strong tradition continues.”

In addition to announcing Celina Kobetitsch as our new organist, I am also delighted to announce that Steve Griffiths, our long-time substitute organist, will officially become our Associate Organist. A gifted and talented organist and pianist, Steve’s long and deep ties to St. Philip the Deacon have made him an important strategic thought partner as we continue to envision the future of music here at the church. We are thrilled to have him serve once again as a formal part of our music team.

“Music is an essential part of who we are,” said Sam Grace, our Director of Music. “That is true for us both as Lutherans in general, and more specifically as members of St. Philip the Deacon. We have been blessed with a long and lasting legacy of exceptional music here, and I have every confidence that Celina and Steve will not only continue this tradition, but will help us to expand and build on it. I am delighted to welcome both of them to our team of outstanding musicians.”

I join in Sam’s excitement, and look forward to welcoming Celina to the St. Philip the Deacon family. Stay tuned for more news about when you can hear her for the first time, and please join us in giving her a warm welcome when you do meet her.

Blessings,

Tim Westermeyer
Senior Pastor

 

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— CHRISTIAN WISDOM —

“So long as we love we serve; so long as we are loved by others, I would almost say that we are indispensable; and no one is useless while they have a friend.”

Robert Louis Stevenson