The Organ and Choir
Music Ministry is an active part of St. Eugene’s parish. An English Adult Choir, a Children’s Choir, and a Handbell Choir comprise the core of the music program, with periodic guest instrumentalists joining in liturgical and sacred music at Sunday morning mass @ 9:30 a.m.
The Adult English Choir rehearses from 7-8 pm on Wednesday evenings in the church, music from traditional Classical anthems to ethnic and contemporary repertoire. There is no audition to sing in this choir; if you love singing and wish to add your voice to our group, we welcome you!
Adult English Choir Director, Jeanmarie A. Nielsen, joined the St. Eugene’s music staff in July 2014. A native Nebraskan, Jeanmarie was a longtime professor of voice and music history at a private liberal arts college, where she also directed the chapel music program and a women’s choir. A professional singer and teacher, educated at the Universities of Michigan and Nebraska, Jeanmarie taught voice, music history, and graduate review courses at Oklahoma City University. From 2007-2020, she directed all Middle & Upper School Choirs, taught music theory, and served as Chair of the Performing Arts at Casady School.
Ms. Nielsen is a professional quilter, avid reader, freelance copy editor, and she fosters Labrador Retrievers for a local rescue organization. She is married, has two adult children, a son-in-law, and an infant grandson.
Organist and pianist Benjamin Clark joined the music staff at St. Eugene in summer 2016. Currently a Doctor of Musical Arts student in Organ Performance at the University of Oklahoma, Mr. Clark holds master’s degrees in Organ Performance (Oklahoma City University) and Collaborative Piano (Univ. of Northern Colorado), as well as dual bachelor’s degrees in Music and Chemistry (Michigan State University). He also currently works as a collaborative pianist in the voice department at OCU.
Raised in Longmont, CO, where he began studying the piano at the age of four, Mr. Clark began actively pursuing and performing in recitals and competitions by middle school. Throughout his education he has continued to maintain an active performing schedule.
Profoundly inspired by music as one of the most powerful artistic media, capable of eliciting strong emotions in audiences and congregations, Mr. Clark plans a three-pronged career as a sacred musician, university professor, and concert performer, with additional part-time work as a freelance collaborative pianist. He believes that traditional hymns and chants of the faith coupled with sacred choral works serve to bring parishioners together, and that this tradition of music unites us in singing, a shared experience of Catholic heritage, and a connection to the historical Christian faith. As the pipe organ has been the primary musical instrument of
Christianity since the 8th century, he hopes to bring his extensive study of the organ’s historical repertoire into the liturgy in a way that is uplifting and inspiring each week.
Mr. Clark also enjoys nature walks, running, cycling, and PC gaming. He recently restored a 1922 Austin pipe organ (4 ranks, 316 pipes) to playing condition, which now resides in his apartment.