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The mission of the Music Committee is to consistently provide a variety of high quality music for Sunday Celebrations and to encourage and facilitate musical participation from the church community.
Music for Sunday Services
The Adult Choir sings monthly. Special music for other Sundays is provided by members of the congregation (many FUSIT members have considerable musical expertise) and the general Ithaca community. Our church benefits from the large talent pool that's drawn to the Ithaca area by the excellent music programs at Ithaca College and Cornell University. Our church sanctuary serves as a popular recital space for professional, amateur, and student musicians, and we ask these musicians to provide the special music for one Sunday, in return for free use of the space for recitals which are free and open to the public.
JENNIFER BIRNBAUM is our Choir Director
Jennifer is a life-long Ithacan who escaped to NYC for 6 years and returned 11 years ago. She attended FUSIT as a 6th grader and later worked in a Tibetan publishing company, Little Red School House in Manhattan, and conducted the choir at First Baptist Church in Ithaca for 6 yrs. She currently teaches at Namaste Montessori School, CSMA, and works at Ceremonies and Event Planning of the Finger Lakes and now....FUSIT!
She has a degree in Music Education from Ithaca College, a Masters in Ethnomusicology from Columbia University, and sings with the Cayuga Vocal Ensemble and the Brooklyn World Music Chorus. She lives downtown with her husband, tenor Mark Lawrence and their 12 yr old Zeke.
STEPHANIE ORTOLANO is our Music Director
Stephanie Ortolano became certified in organ performance through the Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese in her teens while she was the organist for St. Joseph's Church in Lee Center, NY, studying with Bruce Smith and Stephen Best. Since then, she has played for a variety of churches in the Ithaca and Boston areas as she was attending college and graduate school. She was also the accompanist for the Cornell University Chorus for several years during her undergraduate days, when she also studied with University Organist Annette Richards. Most recently, she was the organist for the Episcopal Church at Cornell. Professionally, in 2015 Stephanie completed her doctoral dissertation in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition, with a focus on iron nutrition in young children in Senegal. Occasionally she is able to put her passions for great organ music and international development together into concert formats, such as "Bach in a Boubou", which helped raise funds for the Ousmane Sembene Library in Yoff, Senegal.
In addition to its role in facilitating music for Sunday celebrations, the Music Committee sponsors special community building music events for the church community throughout the year.
If you have ideas for musical events, or would like to join in the planning of musical events, your participation would be welcome! Please contact the Committee Chair [email]firstname.lastname@example.org>[/email] for more information.