A Focus on Music: Spotlight on Gabe Shuford

How did you get involved with FUMC and how long have you been in a leadership role?

 I’ve been Director of Music Ministries at FUMC since 2013, so that’s ten years!

What differentiates our music program from those of other churches?

FUMC’s music program is unique in its diversity. We embrace many styles of music, from contemporary and gospel music, to traditional, classical and sacred music.

What is your approach to the ministry?

Our music program is a welcoming and supportive community that meets weekly — the only thing required is a passion for music and an openness to grow and be part of a group of disciples that support and lift each other up.

Why is music important for Christian worship and personal growth?

Music is vital to our growth as Christians because it..
  1. Brings us together
  2. Moves us, gives us strength, and renews our spirit
  3. Challenges us to see others and the world through another’s lens
  4. Connects us to a common history: people have sung praises to God since the Psalms of the Old Testament
  5. Challenges us to be better Christians at home and in the world.

What do you do outside of your role at FUMC?
What are your other professional endeavors, hobbies, interests, etc.
Where were you trained?

Outside of FUMC I am a freelance musician based in NYC. I completed my Doctorate in Harpsichord Performance at Stony Brook University and specialize in the performance of Baroque Music (although I have experience playing in many styles, such as jazz, blues, and pop). I also perform often with my wife Erin Hall, a cellist, singer and songwriter. 

Is there anything else you’d like to add about leadership?

The challenge of being a good leader is to encourage but not dictate, to foster an atmosphere of mutual respect and curiosity, and to challenge people to take risks and grow.