John C. Black, Director of Music and Choirs, Organist
Office Telephone: (401) 737-1230
John Black leads our dynamic ministry of music, conducting our ensembles and serving as principal organist. Mr. Black is in demand as organist, pianist, conductor, and collaborative artist, with recent recitals spanning from Boston to Florida. He is earning a Doctorate of Musical Arts in conducting from Boston University, where he is Assistant Conductor of the Symphonic Chorus and Teaching Assistant with the BU Singers. He was an organ student of Peter Sykes at BU, graduating summa cum laude with a master’s degree in sacred music.
Mr. Black is Assistant Conductor of the Providence Singers, a symphonic chorus which regularly collaborates with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra. He recently assisted in preparation for performances of Handel’s Messiah and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the RI Philharmonic, and prepared the chorus for a performance of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban at the Providence Performing Arts Center. In addition to his conducting responsibilities, Mr. Black has presented workshops in music theory and sight-singing, and was commissioned to create several carol arrangements for a collection entitled Merry Christmas to Altos. He is also the Staff Conductor of the Carillon Women’s Chorus, an auditioned, four-part women’s chorus based in northern Rhode Island, with which he will assume full conducting responsibilities for the 2022-23 season of the chorus.
Mr. Black performs extensively as collaborative artist with premiere ensembles in southern New England, recently appearing with the Providence Singers, Ensemble Altera, and the RI Civic Chorale & Orchestra. He has performed in the Newport Music Festival, where he was awarded a full scholarship for the inaugural season of the festival’s Young Professional Artist Program. He is principal pianist and organist of the Providence Singers and Rhode Island Children’s Chorus, with which he has performed at the Rhode Island Convention Center, the Ballroom of the Providence Biltmore, the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul, and on the famed “Worcester Organ” at Mechanics Hall. For ten consecutive seasons, Mr. Black served as resident pianist at the Newport Mansions during the Christmas season, performing as soloist and conducting choral performances at The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House for nearly a thousand attendees each evening.
Enjoying over ten years of service in liturgical music, Mr. Black previously served as Director of Music at Barrington Presbyterian Church and as Organist at the historic Holy Ghost Church on Federal Hill. He is passionate about teaching music, and particularly enjoys introducing young people to historic keyboard instruments. He holds a master’s degree in music education from Rhode Island College, where he also earned a bachelor’s degree in music as a piano major. He retains the position of Organist at Saint Mark’s Church on the island of Jamestown, where he is responsible for the Saturday mass. Besides performing as organist, pianist, and conductor, Mr. Black has a passion for creating inspirational worship through sacred music, and enjoys crafting choral compositions and arrangements. John’s ministry is in close partnership with his wife, Olivia, a music educator, frequent soprano soloist and member of our Chancel Choir. John and Olivia were united in marriage at Greenwood in January, 2020 and reside nearby in Warwick.