“I knew I’d be connected to music all my life because music is my life,” proclaimed Richard Evans, St. Edmund’s director of music and organist (See: Music Ministry). His lifelong commitment to music includes 30 years at St. Edmund’s which was celebrated June 2023.
Richard’s love of music was nurtured by his parents, sister Wilma Newchurch, and Ebenezer Baptist Church. The music ministry at Ebenezer introduced the then children to the organ. After high school Richard received a scholarship from the church to study organ at the American Conservatory of Music in downtown Chicago. While in college he studied the history and design of the organ, improvisation, composition, and sacred music skills. “I recognized he had a gift. I knew he would go far,” said his sister Wilma.
“I love the organ,’’ exclaimed Richard. “I love St. Edmunds church but most of all I love St. Dunstan’s Choir and the wonderful organ I get to play every Sunday. Our choir is great to work with. “I like to change the music because people have different musical interests.’’ Longtime St. Dunstan's Choir member Earnestine Holloway says, “Richard is a dedicated musician and a perfectionist. He works very hard and keeps his great sense of humor.’’
In addition to sharing his enormous talents with the church, he was drawn to music education. Armed with his ACM degree and a master’s in education from Governors State University, Richard embarked on a 49-year career with the Park Forest school district. He was a music and classroom teacher then after retirement he returned to assist the choir, orchestra and jazz band. He believes every young person should know how to play an instrument. “Music education helps kids become more well-rounded.’’ Regrettably he acknowledged “when budget cuts loom, music and art are the first to go.’’
Under Richard Evans’ leadership the music ministry at St. Edmunds continues to grow in depth and breath. With God’s blessings he will continue to make heavenly music for years to come.