James Bedell

Jim, a cradle Episcopalian, was baptized at birth and became an acolyte when 9 years old. The church has always been a major part of his life, and he’s served in many different ways in many different places. At St. Martin’s, he has served as an usher, greeter, chalice bearer. He most recently served as our interim organist.

Jim’s education and work experience bring a lot to our church leadership. He has Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and minors in Psychology and Music. He’s worked in retail shopping center and mall management, so managing budgets and expenses, managing maintenance, facilities and construction are skills he has.

Jim shares this with us about music in his life:

Growing up in a Morning Prayer parish, I always enjoyed the small pipe organ that St. Stephens had. While other kids were humming “Harlem Nocturne” and “Summertime,” I was humming the Anglican Chants associated with the “Venite” the “Jubilate Deo” and the “Benedictus es, Domine.”

Prior to going to college, one of my grandmothers passed away, and I inherited her piano. I learned how to improvise fairly well. During my last three years at college I made my spending money playing weddings and receptions, and I even played for the college president’s reception for the governor of Missouri. I created music for a few of the drama department’s productions. I was touring manager for the college’s concert choir and a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Kappa Mu chapter – a national music honorary. Most of my music courses were in music history with emphasis on hymnody.

In Kansas City, Missouri I became friends with the canon musician at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral. In Denver, Colorado I became friends with the organist/choirmaster at St. John’s in the Wilderness Cathedral. Both of these gentlemen were outstanding at hymn improvisation, an art unto itself. I attended rehearsal after rehearsal learning great ways to sing and make hymns come alive to emphasize the readings or theme of the day.

In the late 1970’s, I was part of the proofreading for the text of The Hymnal 1982, and later helped introduce some of the new hymns to Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral. At St. John’s Cathedral, I participated on the Episcopal Church’s subcommittee to the liturgical commission working on pairing hymn texts to the Lectionary.

I’ve always loved hymns, and I have a collection of around 50 hymnals that I use to cross reference both text and tune.

At St. Martin’s, I invite you to listen to each hymn’s music and to the words we sing. They are alive with meaning and movement! Hymns are poetry to be enjoyed and enlighten us to God’s majesty.