Music director Anne Wilson’s 25th anniversary celebration
On Friday, May 9, the public is invited to celebrate Cleveland Heights composer/musician Anne Wilson’s 25th anniversary as music director and organist at Forest Hill Church. A concert entirely of Wilson’s own music, featuring four of the church choirs she directs, will begin at 7:30 p.m., followed by a reception in her honor. Guest instrumentalists will include Derek Snyder, cellist; Paul Ferguson and a trombone quartet from Case Western Reserve University; and Tom Trenney, organist.
Wilson has been a fixture not only in Cleveland Heights but also in the wider music community. A graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and holder of the American Guild of Organists’ prestigious fellowship and choirmaster certificates, her musical influence stretches far beyond Forest Hill Church. She has served for almost 15 years as rehearsal pianist for Apollo's Fire, and also serves as staff accompanist at Case Western Reserve University. She is an occasional organist for the Cleveland Orchestra and toured with the group on its 2012 West Coast and Carnegie Hall tours. She also is a docent at the Cleveland Museum of Art and particularly enjoys giving tours which include recorded music related to the art.
Also important for Wilson and the Heights is the role she has played as pianist and chorus coach for the Cleveland Heights High School vocal music department. Working closely with director Craig McGaughey, Wilson has mentored many young musicians and began a choral scholars program at Forest Hill Church for high school musicians planning a professional career in music. These students participate in church musical ensembles and have opportunities to conduct, sing solos, receive free piano lessons and play in the handbell and steel drum groups.
Wilson has placed first or second in seven national and international organ competitions, and has presented many recitals and workshops at conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the Organ Historical Society and the Presbyterian Association of Musicians. She has been featured on National Public Radio’s “Pipedreams” program and WCLV’s “Not the Dead, White, Male Composers Hour.” She also enjoys playing jazz piano at places such as the Tavern Company in Cleveland Heights, Raintree in Chagrin Falls and Hospice of the Western Reserve in Cleveland.
Wilson is a well-respected composer whose music has been performed at such venues as the Aspen Music Festival, the Julliard School, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Amsterdam Cello Biennale and the Cincinnati Classical Guitar Workshop.
In 2002, Wilson founded and served as president of the Greater Cleveland Classical Guitar Society. Her love of travel and art finds her traveling the world as often as her schedule allows.
Because of the significance of, and widespread community interest in, this event, the concert and reception will be free and open to the public. Forest Hill Church member Barb Hansen, chair of the celebration, predicts, “It will be a night to be remembered, sure to delight everyone.”
The concert will be professionally recorded and filmed, with copies of a commemorative CD, DVD and photograph package available for $25. All proceeds will help keep Wilson’s music playing through the Friends of Forest Hill Music fund.
Peg Weissbrod is a freelance writer and content manager for Forest Hill Church in Cleveland Heights.