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Nov 01, 2017 | EDOT Staff

EHS Faculty Member Named Fellow of The Royal School of Church Music

Garmon Ashby, faculty at Episcopal High School and director of music at St. Thomas the Apostle, Nassau Bay, was given the honorary title Fellow of the Royal School of Church Music for his contributions to church music at a ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral in October.

"I love creating inspiring music that helps people deepen their connections with God via the human voice," Ashby told EHS Director of Communications Claire C. Fletcher.

(From L to R) RSCM Chairman Rt. Hon. Lord Gill, Ashby and RSCM Director Andrew Reid

Ashby was one of six new international Fellows and is recognized for his three decades of "outstanding contributions to church music and/or liturgy at an international level.” The title is the highest bestowed by the RCSM.

Ashby grew up in South Africa, where his father was an Anglican priest. He recalls that some of his earliest memories include feeling "completely enthralled" by the music at Evensong. In his middle school years at St. Andrew's Prep School in East Cape, he met teacher and mentor, Jill Westcott, who motivated him to join the choir. Besides singing, Ashby learned to play the organ, and with Westcott's encouragement, he decided to pursue music as a career.

While serving compulsory duty in the South African Army, Ashby directed music for daily ceremonies such as flag raising and chapel. He also worked with underprivileged students and choirs, and during Apartheid he witnessed the power that music provides to help change communities and heal differences. After completing his required military service, Ashby worked with Anglican churches, schools, and summer programs. In the United States, he has directed music for the Yale University Chapel, Episcopal churches in Arizona and Texas, and has served at Episcopal High School for the past six years.

"My passion is bringing others to a love for church music," Ashby explained to Fletcher. "This is my life's work--this is my vocation.”

Founded in 1927 in the United Kingdom, the RSCM is an educational charity “committed to promoting the study, practice and improvement of music in Christian worship.”

A full list of honorees from RSCM Celebration Day can be found here.

Read more about Ashby in the December 2014 issue of Diolog here.


Parts of this article written by Claire C. Fletcher, Director of Communications at Episcopal High School, used with permission.