More About the Author
At the age of twelve he began playing and singing daily High Mass at his home parish. He studied Gregorian Chant at a Benedictine monastery at summer sessions.
As a 17 year old, he was accompanist for the United Nations Singers and organist at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City. As music director for a Catholic church on the Lower East Side, he directed the Boys Choir and then led three choirs at a Brooklyn Catholic church.
He sang with the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church choir which had as its core 8 singers from the Metropolitan Opera Studio and also coached singers in musical roles in the NYC area. As a student he played for morning prayer services at Madison Avenue Presbyterian as well as chapel weddings.
While in the US Army he accompanied the US Army Chorus at Fort Knox, KY and was organist in chapels there and at Fort Gordon, GA. In Frankfurt, Germany he served with an army band as well as being choir director at the Commanding General's church, St. Christopher's Anglican/Episcopal Church which shared the building with the Old Catholic Church of St. Willibrod, and he served as organist for that congregation and its German Language Masses. Prior to leaving the Army he conducted a musical for Frankfurt Special Services.
He was organist for English Language Masses at the DOM Cathedral in Frankfurt.
Remaining in Europe following his military service, he was musical director for German musicals, including the premier performance of one that was a benefit for UNICEF. He appeared in Hamburg, Bremen where he was on staff at the Bremen Stadttheatre, and Munich and conducted the original cast recording in German and in English. He also appeared on the English Cast album with a speaking role of the show.
During time spent in Berlin he was organist at a chapel on a military base that was originally the home of Hitler's personal troops. He appeared as an accompanist and coached singers as well during this time. He appeared in recital in Berlin with an American mezzo soprano from the touring cast of Porgy and Bess who had appeared in the premier of the work in Moscow during the Cold War, an event featured in Life Magazine.
Life Magazine also figured in his meeting Marcel Marceau as a cast member of a chow he was directing was a friend of Marceau's son. As a young child this cast member was shown on the cover of life Magazine, receiving communion, the Catholic son of the president of an African country.
He was accompanist and student of San Francisco Symphony Choral Director Vance George when George was at Kent State in Ohio. At the Cleveland Institute of Music he coached singers and accompanied for Eleanor Steber of the Metropolitan Opera and Lorenzo Malfatti.
As director of music at Calvary Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, Ohio he led a choir that included 6 singers that went on to sing at the Metropolitan Opera and La Scala, Italy.His chamber opera productions were part of Young Audiences.
As a conductor at Opera Barga in Italy, he coached singers in roles in Italian and French and set the Italian translation of Walton's opera, The Bear, to the score and conducted rehearsals with Sir William Walton in residence at the Festival. He conducted the Saint's Day Festival Concert Choir and Soloists in Barga, and played for Masses at Il Duomo.
Returning to the United States, Jones began performing organ recitals and designed organs for churches for many years, associated with the Allen Organ Company, then Tellers Pipe Organ Company and the Moller Pipe Organ Company. He then began a long relationship with Rodgers Organs representatives, designing and voicing organs with and without pipework. One instrument he designed was an organ played by youngster Cameron Carpenter at his home church before reached his current superstar status in the organ world.
Jones was invited to perform at the dedication of the chapel at Alex Haley Farm in Tennessee, now owned by the Childrens Defense Fund, a chapel designed by architect Maya Ling Yin. He was the designer and voicer of the organ for the chapel, and accompanied Soprano Bridget Hooks, famed for her Mahler performances, during the ceremony. Coincidentally, Bridget Hooks, upon her graduation from music conservatory, got her first big break when called to substitute as soloist with the San Francisco Symphony by Vance George.
Jones participated as a student at a conference on energizing music in African-American Methodist churches and was invited to play at the closing worship service.
Jones returned to choral directing at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Farragut, Tennessee, over three years building the choir from 16 to 46 and also creating a string ensemble (Jones plays the cello as a hobby) and brass ensemble. He has described the choir as possibly being the hardest working Catholic choir in the United States. Among the comments about the choir he prizes this one the most: "You have this nack for taking average singers and making a beautiful choir out of them."
His small book, A Beginner's Guide To Reading Gregorian Chant Notation, is available at Amazon.com. A second chant book is in the works and he is currently collaborating with the Church Music Association of America in the creation of the first Open Source - Public Domain Catholic Hymnal.