Music and liturgy shape prayer and worship at Church of the Holy Communion. This blog is an exploration of those elements in our weekly services by Dr. David Perry Ouzts.
As Minister of Music and Liturgy, David Ouzts serves as director of music and organist for the parish and conducts the Parish Choir, Motet Choir, Holy Communion Ringers and Taizé Schola. As the parish liturgist he works closely with the clergy in planning all parish worship. He also serves as Chapel Organist for St. Mary’s Episcopal School.
A native of Woodruff, South Carolina, Dr. Ouzts began his organ study as a high school student at Converse College and holds organ performance degrees from Furman and Yale universities; he also holds diplomas in sacred music and Anglican studies from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, respectively. At Yale he studied organ with Robert S. Baker and organ improvisation with Gerre Hancock. As a post-graduate student at the Jacobs School of Music of Indiana University, he studied organ and church music with Marilyn Keiser and choral conducting with Michael Schwarzkopf; there he also served as a graduate assistant to organ department chair Larry Smith. In 2008 he earned his Doctor of Sacred Music degree at the Graduate Theological Foundation in South Bend, Indiana, where in 2009 he was named an Oxford Foundation Fellow and studied systematic theology at the University of Oxford (U.K.).
Dr. Ouzts is involved in numerous professional organizations: he is a Past Dean of the Huntington and Memphis chapters of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) and immediate past chair of the Professional Concerns and Development Committee for the Association of Anglican Musicians (AAM). He is a longtime member of the American Choral Directors Association and the Organ Historical Society. Active in the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) in America, he has served in various leadership capacities for the St. Louis RSCM Summer Course. He also served on the executive committees for the Houston chapters of Choristers Guild and the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers. In the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee, he serves on the diocesan LGBT Task Force and is a coordinator for the Leadership Program for Musicians (LPM) in West Tennessee and Arkansas.
Listed in the International Who’s Who in Music, Dr. Ouzts was also honored by the Order of Kentucky Colonels for his contributions to the arts in the tri-state region of West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio. He was honored by the Mayor’s Council on Diversity by the City of Topeka, Kansas, and is a life-member of the VoiceCare Network through which he completed studies in vocal pedagogy. He has served as a clinician for liturgy, organ, and organ improvisation workshops and has performed organ recitals throughout the United States, including the St. Thomas Church in New York City, Washington National Cathedral, and the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina.