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IU Jacobs School of Music professor one of first Americans to receive Englandís highest Guild of Church Musicians award


Feb. 2, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Jeffrey Smith, adjunct professor of organ at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, is one of the first two Americans to receive the highest award bestowed by England's Fellowship of the Guild of Church Musicians.

Smith, who now lives in England and has served on the organ faculty of the Jacobs School of Music since 2009, received the award of Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians, honoris causa, in a presentation by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams on Jan. 16 at St. James Palace in London.

Smith was joined by Darryl Roland, music director at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Morristown, N.J., and several British church musicians.

"The faculty and students of the Jacobs School of Music Organ Department send their hearty congratulations to Dr. Smith for this great recognition," said Janette Fishell, professor of organ and chair of the department. "As the Archbishop of Canterbury points out, Jeffrey has made significant contributions to the musical and liturgical life of this nation, not only as a practicing church musician but as a member of the Indiana University faculty. We continue to reap benefits from his contributions to our department during his two years in residence at the Jacobs School and look forward to continued collaborations."

Smith was honored for his work in strengthening the men and boys' program at St. Paul's Parish in Washington, D.C., and for his work at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco as well as at Indiana University.

Before joining the Jacobs faculty, Smith was canon director of music at Grace Cathedral, where he conducted its Choir of Men and Boys, conducted tours and recordings and oversaw a weekly concert series. From 1992 to 2004, he was music director at St. Paul's Parish, K Street.

Smith served as organist and choirmaster at Christ Church Cathedral in Lexington, Ky., from 1988 to 1992. There, he established the tradition of a Baroque performance of Handel's Messiah by the cathedral choirs accompanied by an ensemble, which continues still. He also established the current standard of excellence for the girls choir by insisting the girls and boys choirs rehearsed an equal amount of time. The award given to the outstanding girl chorister each year is named for Smith.

Founded in 1888, the Guild of Church Musicians is an interdenominational organization based in Great Britain that is similar to the American Guild of Organists.