Welcoming Jordan Markwood

September 1, 2016

Every year, there is a glorious sound in Galilee’s sanctuary as the choir returns from its summer hiatus. This year, we are happy to see it return with a brand new face—Jordan Markwood, Galilee’s new Director of Music Ministry. You’re going to love the sounds that Jordan brings to our worship and we want you to join us in warmly welcoming him to Galilee.

One of the reasons that we welcome Jordan is that our mission is already his mission.

This is not Jordan’s first appearance at our church. He served a very brief stint as interim music director earlier this year, before leaving for a very good reason—to travel to Sierra Leone, to work at the very hospital and rescue center that Galilee supports!

Jordan Markwood with some of the kids Galilee sponsors at the Child Rescue Center in Sierra Leone

“I don’t think I can adequately express the impact of Mercy Hospital and the Child Rescue Center,” says Jordan. “These programs touch the lives of so many people in Sierra Leone.”

“I have traveled on Voices of Youth trips to various locations in and out of the country. I traveled with church missions to Tennessee, West Virginia, and Kentucky. From 2011-2015, I traveled to the Dominican Republic every summer to work with Renewed Hope Missions. All of that being said, there is something unique about going on mission to the CRC. The children there are so loving and passionate about God and learning. They challenged me to be a better teacher and worship leader. The orphanage is structured so as to create families for each of the children. They sing with such joy and encourage one another in love. My goal this year is to show my students and the musicians that I work with the same love and encouragement that I was shown while I was visiting the CRC.”

 

How Jordan Got to Galilee

“I was introduced to Galilee by my friend Ashleigh Spiegel, the daughter of SPRC member Ginny Herring. I had moved from Winchester and mentioned, at her birthday party as it happens, that I had not found a church I could call home. Ashleigh spoke highly of Galilee, so I decided to give it a shot.”

“It seems that God was at work before I knew anything about it, because when I filled out the Connection Card that comes in the bulletin, I mentioned that I was interested in the music ministry. Soon, departing Music Director Jack Walton and Pastor Jason contacted me to let me know that Jack was leaving, and we discussed my experience and the position. Frankly, I was hesitant. I have always told myself I would never “just work” at a church, that isn’t first “my church.” Because I never want leading worship to be just another job.”

“I let Jason know that I would be interested in getting to know more and so we went out to lunch to talk about the church and the music ministry. I agreed to serve as an interim director after Ruth Becker’s interim term was finished. That would give me, and Galilee, time to see if we were a good fit for each other.”

“I must say that the choir is filled with a variety of spirited and loving individuals, so we bonded. Then while attending both services, I started going to the Today’s Group grow hour class. That gave me the time and opportunity to get to know some Galilee members on a deeper level. In the mean time, I was offered a job at another church. I communicated this to Pastor Jason and let him know that my strongest desire was to come to Galilee. Then I left for my mission trip.”

“I left for Africa not knowing what the end result would be, but I knew that if God wanted me to work at Galilee, I would come back to good news. When I returned, Jason texted me asking me to get in touch with him. Luckily he had good news to share and the rest is history!”

 

Jordan Didn’t Have Far to Come—He’s a Local

Jordan was born in Winchester, VA  as the youngest of five children. His father’s parents were missionaries in Cuba for 19 years and Haiti for 28, so the missionary impulse runs in his blood. He attended Houghton College in New York for music education and earned a Masters degree at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, NJ. After school, he returned to Winchester and began working for Loudoun County Public Schools. He taught chorus at Stone Hill Middle School for seven years before moving to Rock Ridge High School in 2014, where he currently serves as Fine Arts Department Chair and teaches choir and musical theater.

He was the Worship Arts Coordinator at Round Hill UMC for seven years and directed the women’s barbershop group within the Shenandoah Valley Chorus for six years.

Markwood Headshot

Director of Music Ministry, Jordan Markwood

“I’ve always loved music. The director of the children’s choir at my church warned my parents that I was singing a bit too strongly for anyone’s good. (Yet it was the director’s husband who hired me at LCPS years later). I sang in different choirs and in musicals growing up. I led a traveling music ministry at college and loved that experience. Music has a power to touch people on the most important occasions in our lives. As far as favorite kind of music? It depends on my mood. I like all kinds.”

“I believe that the role of a music ministry is to reinforce the message of the service, while providing a vehicle for the congregation to engage in excellent worship together. When the music, scripture, and message align, it has a powerful impact on those in attendance. The effect can linger throughout the week when a song lyric comes to mind that reminds someone about the message. The Holy Spirit can use that! If that happens, I feel great because I have used the gifts I have been given and have done my job well.”

Jordan lives off of Algonkian Parkway, a recent transplant from Winchester–where his parents and two brothers still live. Be sure to welcome him personally, the next time you see him. That’s if you can catch him. When he’s not in church or school, Jordan’s got a third job working part-time at Zephaniah Farm Vineyard. For hobbies, Jordan tells us that he likes tennis, volleyball, bowling, frisbee golf, soccer, and checking out local scenic trails (“when I have free time”).