A letter from Jeff Barz-Snell:
This week I must announce that a major and beloved chapter is coming to a close here at First Parish Church: Bill Sano has announced he will be stepping down as Music Director in June. As I write this, I am feeling a profound mix of sadness, admiration, and respect. He may very well be the longest running staff member (including ministers) in the history of this now 324 year old church. What a tenure and legacy.
Bill started here in the fall of 1968 at the ripe old age of 24. Over the years and decades he has built an outstanding music program with his talent, high standards and genuine charm. He doesn’t just develop singers, he makes friends and fosters community.
Over the decades he grew the size of our choir and introduced two “All-Music Sundays” each year. He recruited professional section leaders and set a very high but attainable bar in terms of quality for all who sang. If you have ever attended a Thursday night rehearsal, you experienced first-hand the brisk clip at which he runs his rehearsals, and the high level he maintains in terms of musicianship. He had – and has- a warmth and humor that he combines with high expectations that inspires all who gather to want to be better singers and choir members. This explains why First Parish has had so many longtime, devoted members of our choir. Indeed at least two folks have been singing with us for 50 years or more, joining the choir shortly after Bill starting directing it.
These last few years of COVID have proven to be a real challenge for churches and choirs everywhere, and our experience here in Weston was no exception. Even so, I was so very proud to see Bill find new ways to lead our music program, including working with younger members of the church to develop new ways to record and perform music while being physically distant. He inspired me and many others to “up our game” and try new approaches to “having church” during this difficult and challenging time. Because of him and the committed work of our Music Committee, our program continues to be as robust as ever.
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From the end of April into early May there will be announcements about our plans for interim leadership of our music program. In addition, we have already begun plans for a celebration of Bill’s long tenure at this year’s Church Picnic, scheduled for June 5. Bill plans to remain a member of First Parish and be an occasional attendee on Sunday mornings going forward. In the meantime, I hope all of us will take the opportunity to thank Bill for his years of service, leadership and friendship.
— Thank you, Bill! —