The VanDelinder Fellowships

My name is Joshua Ehlebracht and I am very much looking forward to working in the Christ Church Parish as one of the VanDelinder Fellows for the 2017/18 year! I am 18 years old, a Canadian Citizen and have come to Rochester from a city in Ontario just outside of Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo. I am part of a family of five. I have a younger brother and a younger sister, my father is a Lutheran Minister pursuing a PhD, and my mother is a Registered Nurse, currently working at MEC. My first musical experience was with the piano when I was seven years old however even at the age of seven I knew my true passion was organ music. Fortunately enough, when I turned 11, my piano teacher, Dr. Peter Nikiforuk, who was the music director at the church where my father was the pastor, took me under his wing and began giving me organ lessons. Since then I have been hooked on the pipe organ and knew right away that I wanted to make the instrument into my career, which is what led me to my studies at the Eastman School of Music for my undergraduate year! Over the years I have delivered many recitals in Canada at various churches in Kitchener, as well as Toronto. I am an active member of the Royal Canadian College of Organists and I have been involved heavily with church music since I was 13 years old. Outside of organ music, I play a few other instruments such as the Clarinet, the Accordion, and a little bit of Ukelele. I very much enjoy playing and listening to all different and new styles of music on different instruments during my spare time, and am very excited to be a part of a school which allows me to experience this every day! 


My name is Henry Webb, and I am excited to be serving as a VanDelinder fellow and participating in the parish life at Christ Church! As a native of Dallas, Texas, I am always eager to experience true winter here in the North! I am a freshman at the Eastman School of Music studying Organ Performance with Professor Nathan Laube. Before coming to Rochester, I worked as organ scholar at the Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, Texas where I was exposed to and fell in love with the beauty and excitement of choral music and service playing. Since the age of 12, I have been enamored by the versatility, complexity, and power of pipe organs. I am so grateful to Stephen Kennedy for the privilege of assisting worship with such magnificent organs in an amazing setting, and look forward to a great year.

I am Alden Wright and I am pleased to be beginning my second year serving as a VanDelinder Fellow at Christ Church.  I am a rising sophomore at the Eastman School of Music, where I study organ with Professor Nathan Laube.  I am a native of Salisbury, North Carolina.  Prior to Christ Church, I served as organist at Milford Hills United Methodist Church in Salisbury from 2015-2016.  I am honored to have the opportunity to continue to serve at Christ Church while furthering my skills in sacred music.  Christ Church is truly a place of nourishment and inspiration and a treasure to the Rochester community.  I am looking forward to working with Professor Stephen Kennedy, as well as my colleagues, Henry and Joshua, and the many friendly and supportive members of the Christ Church Choir and the Schola Cantorum.  I look forward to being among this parish once again in service to God and I thank you all for the support that you showed my colleagues and I last year.


More about the Roy E. VanDelinder, Jr. Fellowship Program at Christ Church Rochester.

Through the combined resources of Christ Church’s Liturgical Music Program and the Eastman School of Music’s Organ Department, this exciting program offers vocational training and practical application in liturgical music skills for Eastman organ students who are pursuing a career in liturgical music. Fellows will receive a scholarship for participating in this program, and a large cash prize is awarded each year to the Fellow who demonstrates the greatest diligence and achievement. Under the leadership of Music Director Stephen Kennedy, Fellows will receive training and experience in improvising, composing, arranging, hymn playing, anthem and motet accompaniment, chanting, conducting, and rehearsing choirs and instrumentalists as well as other components within a church music program. This program is made possible by a generous gift from the Roy E. VanDelinder, Jr. Fund of Rochester Area Community Foundation.

Fellowship in Liturgical Organ Studies

Fellows will be selected by the VanDelinder Committee.  This committee will base their decision on the student’s résumé, playing skills, and two letters of recommendation. Fellows will receive a scholarship of around $4,700 for the academic year.  This amount will be re-figured this year, so it may be slightly more than this amount.  Fellows may participate in this program for up to three years but the VanDelinder Committee makes the selection of Fellows each year. 


Prize in Liturgical Organ Skills

Each year, the VanDelinder Committee will select one acting Fellow to receive the Roy E. VanDelinder, Jr. Prize in Liturgical Organ Skills that includes a cash prize of $8,000 above the scholarship. This prize will be awarded to the VanDelinder Fellow that demonstrates the greatest diligence and achievement. The prizewinner will be expected to remain in active duty as Fellow for a negotiated number of Sundays beyond the school term.  Fellows who do not win the prize will be excused at the end of the school term. 

Past Winners of the Roy E. VanDelinder, Jr. Fund of Rochester Area Community Foundation Prize in Liturgical Organ Skills

Käthe Wright Kaufman: Winner in 2014 

Käthe Wright Kaufman: Winner in 2015 

Jeremy Jelinek: Winner in 2016

Madeleine Woodworth in 2017