Music Director Liz Braden Ends Tenure at Wallingford Pres
Music Director Liz Braden may have chosen to end her 20-year association with Wallingford Presbyterian Church, but not before she was feted in style at the June 23 service.
The worship included her favorite hymns, the sermon highlighted her devotion to the position, and the Chancel Choir serenaded her with its tailored version of Rogers and Hammerstein’s “So Long, Farewell.” The service was followed by a reception attended by more than 150 members and friends.
“You were called by God to this ministry and you were kept here by God for this ministry,” said Pastor François LaCroix. “On a personal note, part of the call for me to come to this place was you.”
During her two-decade tenure, Braden led Messiah sings and stagings of Amahl and the Night Visitors and Godspell; joined with Swarthmore Presbyterian Church Director of Music Ministries Meghan Meloy Ness to present Sunday afternoon concerts featuring the combined choirs; commissioned pieces to encourage young composers, and introduced the bell choir and Taizé services.
Braden will continue as Chorus Master and Music Administrator of Opera Philadelphia. In a letter to the congregation, she noted she was not leaving to take another church job, but after conversations with family and friends and her own “thoughtful consideration,” was confident in her decision to “move on.”
“I am leaving with the faith that this is the right decision for me as I open myself up to the possibility of being called to be somewhere else and do something new,” she wrote.
Braden was presented with a basket filled with notes, photo album and framed resolution noting her accomplishments, creativity, sense of humor and praise for the choir as “not bad, not bad.”
“She knew when to push us and she knew when to hold back a little bit,” said Chancel Choir member Lisé Meloy. “Every once in a while, we even got ‘that was pretty good.’”
Braden submitted her resignation in January, noting: “after 20 years, it will take some time to say goodbye to everyone.” The six-month period has also allowed the church to begin the search for her replacement, and it hopes to have the individual in place later this summer.