HomeWorld NewsAces of Trades: Everingham shares his passion for music at First Presbyterian in Granville – The Newark Advocate
Aces of Trades: Everingham shares his passion for music at First Presbyterian in Granville – The Newark Advocate
September 11, 2023
GRANVILLE – He’s been musical since he was a child. Now, after all these years, he still is fulfilling a dream.
“Growing up I was a bookish, quiet kid,” Philip Everingham said. “I’ve been told that as a kid of 2 and 3, I would go to the piano at our house and reach up to play the keys. I think it became clear to my parents and siblings that music is what fed my soul.
“I always had the desire to play music and always dreamed of going to college and studying music,” he said. “My big dream was to be a pianist who worked with opera companies and/or teach singers in the world of academia. But I never thought as a kid I would be doing what I’m doing as a church musician. In the ’70s and ’80s, there weren’t a lot of professional musicians around me to show me how to do the music thing, so I worked to figure it out on my own.”
Today, Everingham is director of music at First Presbyterian Church in Granville.
“I play the organ and piano and direct the Chancel Choir, which consists of about 25 adults and conduct two handbell choirs and a bell quartet,” he said. “I also currently oversee the Angel Choir, which is a youth choir of kids from middle school through high school, and I supervise the series Music for Sacred Spaces, which promotes classical music in Licking County.”
Everingham grew up in Springfield and graduated from South High School in 1985. He stayed local and graduated from Wittenberg University in 1989 with a degree in piano performance before earning a Master of Music from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1993 and a doctorate in collaborative piano from the University of Minnesota in 2007.
“My degrees are not in church music,” Everingham said. “But church music has always been a part of my life. I started playing at my own church as a teenager, and when I went to grad school, I took on jobs playing for church choirs. When I went to Minnesota, I had a position as organist at a small Catholic church and midway through my doctorate took a position at a local Presbyterian church.
“It was during these church positions that it really hit home (that) church music was where I truly lived,” he said. “Both spiritually and musically, working with volunteer musicians, who make music for the love of music and not to just get the next gig, has always been deeply meaningful to me. It’s always felt as if church music is a great way to share all I had learned, and I get to make great music with people dedicated to wanting to do the same.”
Everingham left the Twin Cities and came to Granville in 2008.
“Philip is an amazing choir director,” said Kathy Craig, a member of the Chancel Choir and Festivo Bell Choir at First Presbyterian Church. “He’s very patient, an outstanding teacher, and he’s able to extract excellence from each of us. I suspect that stems from his excellence as a musician. He’s able to take what he’s learned as a solo performer and convey it to us in ways that make sense and enable us to excel.”
“Philip is a wonderful musician,” said Susan Larson, executive director of the Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra as well as director of the Newark-Granville Youth Symphony. “He brings amazing music to the church and community.”
“I think I do this job because it feeds my soul,” Everingham said. “Church music and I seem to go well together. I can’t imagine my life without church music.”
Aces of Trades is a weekly series focusing on people and their jobs — whether they’re unusual jobs, fun jobs or people who take ordinary jobs and make them extraordinary. If you have a suggestion for a future profile, let us know at email@example.com or 740-328-8821.