As a B.M. in sacred music student you will complete the liberal arts and music core courses and also take courses in theology, liturgy, hymnology, organ literature and pedagogy (the teaching of music), service playing and improvisation. You will also study voice, piano and organ, participate in various ensembles (including a handbell component) and complete a sacred music practicum, while serving as a musician in an area church. A yearly series of workshops, recitals and master classes is designed to augment the course offerings.
Sacred Music Program Director Chaz Bowers
Classical organist and improvisational artist Chaz Bowers has delighted audiences from his native Western Pennsylvania to the shores of Bermuda with masterful performances of pieces from the canon of great organ literature. Drawing on his own experience as church organist and the rich traditions of church music, Mr. Bowers presents programs that are designed to inspire.
In addition to his many recitals, including St. Paul Cathedral in Pittsburgh and Wesley United Methodist Church in Hamilton, Bermuda, Mr. Bowers has dedicated numerous organs in the region, such as those at Elm Grove United Methodist Church in Elm Grove, WV and Christ United Methodist Church in Scottdale, PA.
He also frequently appears as guest organist with some of the area’s premier choral ensembles, most recently performing Rejoice in the Lamb (Benjamin Britten) with Voces Solis, an all-professional choir, and Requiem, Opus 9 (Maurice Duruflé) with the St. Vincent Camerata and Academy Chamber Orchestra.
Mr. Bowers is also a respected composer of sacred music; recently his setting of “O Breathe on Me, O Breath of God” was published by GIA Publications.
Since 2014, Mr. Bowers has served as Director of Music and Principal Organist at St. Bernard Parish in Mt. Lebanon, PA. He is also Coordinator of Sacred Music and University Organist at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA. Prior to his appointment to St. Bernard’s, he served for five years as Director of Music at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Irwin and Assistant Organist at Greensburg’s Blessed Sacrament Cathedral.
Mr. Bowers holds his Master’s Degree from Duquesne University, studying organ and improvisation with Dr. Ann Labounsky. His undergraduate studies were completed at Seton Hill University, where he studied organ and service playing with Edgar Highberger and organ improvisation with J. Christopher Pardini. As part of a 2013 mini study-abroad trip with the organ studio at Duquesne University, he had the opportunity to perform on many of the great organs of Paris, at Notre-Dame Cathedral, Basilica of Saint Clotilde, the Church of Saint Sulpice, The Madeline Church and others.
Seton Hill also offers a certificate in sacred music.